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Haiti officially Republic Of Haiti, Haitian Creole Repiblik Dayti, French République D'haïti, island country of the West Indies, the only independent French-speaking republic in the Americas, occupying the western third of the island of Hispaniola and several nearby small islands. It is situated about 600 miles (970 km) southeast of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean and has a total land area of 10,579 square miles (27,400 square km). The capital is Port-au-Prince. The country comprises two peninsulas separated by the Gulf of Gonaïves. Haiti is bordered on the north by the Atlantic Ocean, on the east by the Dominican Republic, and on the south and west by the Caribbean Sea. The population in 1990 was estimated to be 5,590,000. The land. Haiti is a mountainous country; about two-fifths of the total land area is above 1,600 feet (490 m) in elevation. The principal mountain system, the Massif du Nord (average elevation 4,000 feet [1,200 m]), extends eastward into the Dominican Republic, where it is called the Cordillera Central. Mount La Selle in the southeast is Haiti's highest point (8,773 feet [2,674 m]). The mountain ranges alternate with fertile but heavily overpopulated lowlands, the largest (150 square miles [390 square km]) being the coastal Plaine du Nord ("Northern Plain"). The Artibonite River, with a length of 174 miles (280 km) and a drainage basin of 2,600 square miles (6,700 square km), is the principal river. The alluvial plain of the Artibonite joins Haiti's northwestern and southern peninsulas. Haiti's mountainous terrain and proximity to the sea modify its humid tropical climate. Daily maximum temperatures at Port-au-Prince range between averages of 94 F (34 C) in July and 87 F (31 C) in January. The country lies in the rain shadow of the mountains of the Dominican Republic, which block the westward movement of moisture-laden trade winds into Haiti. The annual rainfall varies from 20 inches (500 mm) in the northwest to ...

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