Haiti Is Covered with Trees May 19, Andrew Tarter Haiti has been the unfortunate recipient of many an exaggerated moniker, including the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, the Republic of NGOs, and the most deforested country in the Americas—to name just a few. Photo by James P. Blair, in Cobb Photo by James P. How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.
Tweet Why did the political, economic and ecological histories of these two countries — the Dominican Republic and Haiti — sharing the same island unfold so differently?
Part of the answer involves environmental differences. Hence the Dominican eastern part of the island receives more rain and thus supports higher rates of plant growth.
The Dominican side has broad valleys, plains and plateaus and much thicker soils. In particular, the Cibao Valley in the north is one of the richest agricultural areas in the world. Environmental differences In contrast, the Haitian side is drier because of that barrier of high mountains blocking rains from the east.
There is more limestone terrain, and the soils are thinner and less fertile and have a lower capacity for recovery. Social and political differences Note the paradox: The Haitian side of the island was less well endowed environmentally but developed a rich agricultural economy before the Dominican side.
This lesson is, in effect, that an impressive-looking bank account may conceal a negative cash flow. While those environmental differences did contribute to the different economic trajectories of the two countries, a larger part of the explanation involved social and political differences — of which there were many that eventually penalized the Haitian economy relative to the Dominican economy.
In that sense, the differing developments of the two countries were over-determined. Numerous separate factors coincided in tipping the result in the same direction.
The Dominican Republic was a colony of Spain, which by the late s was neglecting Hispaniola and was in economic and political decline itself. Hence, France was able to invest in developing intensive slave-based plantation agriculture in Haiti, which the Spanish could not or chose not to develop in their side of the island.
France imported far more slaves into its colony than did Spain. A difference in population As a result, Haiti had a population seven times higher than its neighbor during colonial times — and it still has a somewhat larger population today, about ten million versus 8. The combination of that higher population density and lower rainfall was the main factor behind the more rapid deforestation and loss of soil fertility on the Haitian side.
Long-term investing A second social and political factor is that the Dominican Republic — with its Spanish-speaking population of predominantly European ancestry — was both more receptive and more attractive to European immigrants and investors than was Haiti, with its Creole-speaking population composed overwhelmingly of black former slaves.
Hence, European immigration and investment were negligible and restricted by the constitution in Haiti after but eventually became important in the Dominican Republic.
The people of the Dominican Republic even chose to resume their status as a Spanish colony from toand its president chose to make his country a protectorate of Spain from to The Dominican Republic, however, eventually did develop an export economy and overseas trade.
Because the Dominican Republic retained much forest cover and began to industrialize, the Trujillo regime initially planned, and the regimes of Balaguer and subsequent presidents constructed, dams to generate hydroelectric power.Haiti – Country Profile, Key Facts and News.
Haiti is the poorest country in the west. The map on the left shows Haiti’s proximity to the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Jamaica. Haiti-U.S. Relationship. US leaders also feared foreign occupation of the island at a time when European powers were trying to expand their sphere of influence.
In , President Andrew Johnson suggested the annexation of the whole island of Hispaniola - present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic - to secure a US presence in the Caribbean.
Although both the Dominican Republic and the Republic of Haiti share one island, Hispaniola, the political, social, and cultural tensions that exist between the two countries have been made visible nearly every day of my past nine weeks here in Santo Domingo.
About Santo Domingo Satellite view is showing Santo Domingo, chief port, largest city and capital of the Dominican Republic, a Caribbean country located on the island of Hispaniola.
Santo Domingo is situated on the south coast of the island at the estuary of the Ozama River. Though the extension of the African Diasporas is clearly present in the Dominican Republic through culture, race, food, and other variants, it is important to note that semblances of Taino heritage are still present, which add .
Political and Economic History of Haiti Haiti It is the first republic of people of African descent and the second oldest nation in the Americas, the first being the United States of .