Let's learn about this country:
President: René Préval (2006)
Prime Minister: Jean-Max Bellerive (2009)
Land area: 10,641 sq mi (27,560 sq km); total area: 10,714 sq mi (27,750 sq km)
Population (2010 est.): 9,203,083 (growth rate: 1.8%); birth rate: 28.7/1000; infant mortality rate: 58.0/1000; life expectancy: 61.3; density per sq km: 323
Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Port-au-Prince, 1,764,000 (metro. area), 1,119,000 (city proper)
Monetary unit: Gourde
Haiti is situated on the western part of Hispaniola, the second largest island in the Greater Antilles. Haiti is the third largest country in the Caribbean behind Cuba and the Dominican Republic (the latter shares a 360-kilometre (224 mi) border with Haiti). Haiti at its closest point is only about 45 nautical miles (83 km; 52 mi) away from Cuba and has the second longest coastline (1,771 km/1,100 mi) in the Greater Antilles, Cuba having the longest. The country lies mostly between latitudes 18° and 20°N (Tortuga island lies just north of 20°), and longitudes 71° and 75°W. Haiti's terrain consists mainly of rugged mountains interspersed with small coastal plains and river valleys.
The northern region consists of the Massif du Nord (Northern Massif) and the Plaine du Nord (Northern Plain). The Massif du Nord is an extension of the Cordillera Central in the Dominican Republic. It begins at Haiti's eastern border, north of the Guayamouc River, and extends to the northwest through the northern peninsula. The lowlands of the Plaine du Nord lie along the northern border with the Dominican Republic, between the Massif du Nord and the North Atlantic Ocean. The central region consists of two plains and two sets of mountain ranges. The Plateau Central (Central Plateau) extends along both sides of the Guayamouc River, south of the Massif du Nord. It runs from the southeast to the northwest. To the southwest of the Plateau Central are the Montagnes Noires, whose most northwestern part merges with the Massif du Nord. Its westernmost point is known as Cap Carcasse.
The southern region consists of the Plaine du Cul-de-Sac (the southeast) and the mountainous southern peninsula (also known as the Tiburon Peninsula). The Plaine du Cul-de-Sac is a natural depression that harbors the country's saline lakes, such as Trou Caïman and Haiti's largest lake, Lac Azuei. The Chaîne de la Selle mountain range – an extension of the southern mountain chain of the Dominican Republic (the Sierra de Baoruco) – extends from the Massif de la Selle in the east to the Massif de la Hotte in the west. This mountain range harbors Pic la Selle, the highest point in Haiti at 2,680 metres (8,793 ft) *
The country's most important valley in terms of crops is the Plaine de l'Artibonite, which is oriented south of the Montagnes Noires. This region supports the country's (also Hispaniola's) longest river, the Riviere l'Artibonite, which begins in the western region of the Dominican Republic and continues most of its length through central Haiti and onward where it empties into the Golfe de la Gonâve. The eastern and central region of the island is a large elevated plateau. Haiti also includes various offshore islands. The historically famous island of Tortuga (Île de la Tortue) is located off the coast of northern Haiti. The arrondissement of La Gonâve is located on the island of the same name, in the Golfe de la Gonâve. Gonâve Island is moderately populated by rural villagers. Île à Vache (Cow Island), a lush island with many beautiful sights, is located off the tip of southwestern Haiti. Also part of Haiti are the Cayemites and Île d' Anacaona.
One of Haiti's two official languages is French, which is the principal written and administratively authorized language. It is spoken by all educated Haitians, is spoken in schools, and is used in the business sector. It is also used in ceremonious events such as weddings, graduations and church masses. The second is the recently standardized Haitian Creole, which is spoken by virtually the entire population of Haiti. Haitian creole is one of the French-based creole languages, it is strongly related to French and Spanish, with influence from west African languages, Taíno and almost every European language. Haitian creole is closely related to Louisiana Creole and all the other French creoles.
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