Haiti, officially the Republic of Haiti, is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic.
Haiti officially the Republic of Haiti is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti ("land of high mountains") was the indigenous Taíno name for the island. In French, the country is called "La Perle des Antilles" (The Pearl of the Antilles), because of its natural beauty. The country's highest point is Pic la Selle, at 2,680 metres (8,793 ft). Both by area and population, Haiti is the third largest Caribbean nation (after Cuba and the Dominican Republic), with 27,750 square kilometres (10,714 sq mi) and an estimated 9 million people, with just under a million of which live in the capital city, Port-au-Prince. French and Haitian Creole are the official language.
Haiti's regional, historical, and ethno-linguistic position is unique for several reasons. When it gained independence in 1804, it was the first independent nation of Latin America and the Caribbean, the only nation in the world established as a result of a successful slave revolt, and the second republic in the Americas. Its successful revolution by slaves and free people of color lasted nearly a decade; all the first leaders of government were former slaves. Haiti is the only predominantly Francophone independent nation in the Americas. It is one of only two independent nations in the Americas (along with Canada) to designate French as an official language; the other French-speaking areas are all overseas départements, or collectivités, of France.
With 9.7 million people, Haiti is the most populous full member-state of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). The country is also a member of the Latin Union. In 2012, Haiti announced its intention to seek associate membership status in the African Union. It is the poorest country in the Americas as measured by the Human Development Index. Political violence has occurred regularly throughout its history, leading to government instability. Most recently, in February 2004, a coup d'état originating in the north of the country forced the resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. A provisional government took control with security provided by the United NationsStabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Michel Martelly, the current president, was elected in the 2011 general election.