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The native Taino Amerindians - who inhabited the island of Hispaniola when it was discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1492 - were virtually annihilated by Spanish settlers within 25 years. In the early 17th century, the French established a presence on Hispaniola. In 1697, Spain ceded to the French the western third of the island, which later became Haiti. The French colony, based on forestry and sugar-related industries, became one of the wealthiest in the Caribbean but only through the heavy importation of African slaves and considerable environmental degradation. In the late 18th century, Haiti's nearly half million slaves revolted under Toussaint L'OUVERTURE. After a prolonged struggle, Haiti became the first black republic to declare independence in 1804. The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history. After an armed rebellion led to the forced resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE in February 2004, an interim government took office to organize new elections under the auspices of the United Nations. Continued violence and technical delays prompted repeated postponements, but Haiti finally did inaugurate a democratically elected president and parliament in May of 2006. A massive magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010 with an epicenter about 25 km (15 mi) west of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Over 300,000 people were killed and some 1 milllion left homeless. The earthquake was assessed as the worst in this region over the last 200 years.


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Military

Military branches
No regular military forces - small Coast Guard; a Ministry of National Defense established May 2012; the regular Haitian Armed Forces (FAdH) - Army, Navy, and Air Force - have been demobilized but still exist on paper until or unless they are constitutionally abolished (2011)

Manpower available for military service
Males age 16-49 2,398,804
Females age 16-49 2,415,039 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service
Males age 16-49 1,666,324
Females age 16-49 1,704,364 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually
Male 115,246
Female 115,282 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures World Ranking: 164
0.4% of GDP (2006)


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  Haiti (Port-au-prince):


  GPS points from Haiti (Port-au-prince)

Gandou Departement Du Sud

Cap Dammarie Departement De La Grand'anse

Inginac Shoals Departement De L'ouest

Conseiller Departement De L'artibonite

Espanol Bay Departement De La Grand'anse

Place Negre Departement Du Nord-ouest

Joulien Departement De La Grand'anse

Nan Roseau Departement Du Centre




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