name = Hispaniola
image caption = Topographic map of Hispaniola
map_custom = no
native name = "La Española"
native name link = Spanish language
Greater Antilles| total islands =
major islands = Île de la Gonâve,
Tortuga, Île à Vache, Isla Saona
area = convert|76480|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on
rank = 22nd
coastline = convert|3059|km|mi|abbr=on
highest mount =
elevation = 3,098 m (10,164 ft)
country = Haiti
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country 1 = Dominican Republic
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population = 18,466,497
population as of = 2005 est.
density = 241.5
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Hispaniola (from Spanish, "La Española") is the second-largest and most populous
islandof the Antilles, lying between the islands of Cubato the west, and Puerto Ricoto the east. It is located directly within the hurricane belt. The Republic of Haiti occupies the western third and the Dominican Republicthe eastern two-thirds of the island. Christopher Columbusfirst arrived on the island in western Hispaniola (present day Haiti), on December 5, 1492, and on his second voyage in 1493 to eastern Hispaniola, founded the first Spanish colony(present day Dominican Republic) in the New Worldon it.
Names of the island
The island bears many
Amerindiannames that supposedly originated from the Taínothat once populated the island. Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo and Bartolomé de las Casasdocumented that the island was called "Haití" ("Mountainous Land") by the Taínoinhabitants. Peter Martyr d'Anghieraadded another name, "Quizqueia" (supposedly "Mother of all Lands") however later research shows that the word doesn't seem to have derived from the original Arawaklanguage.cite book
last = Anglería
first = Pedro Mártir de
title = Décadas del Nuevo Mundo, Tercera Década, Libro VII
publisher = Editorial Bajel
year = 1949
location = Buenos Aires
language = Spanish ]
Although Haití was the Taíno name verified to be used by the Amerindians on the island and was subsequently used by all three historians, evidence suggests that it probably was not the Taíno name of the whole island. Haití was the Taíno name of a region in what is now the northeastern section of present day Dominican Republic (now known as "Los Haitises"). In the oldest documented map of the island, created by Andrés de Morales, that region is named "Montes de Haití" ("Haiti Mountains"). Las Casas apparently named the whole island Haití on the basis of that particular region;cite book
last = Las Casas
first = Fray Bartolomé de
title = Apologética Histórica Sumaria
publisher = UNAM
year = 1966
location = Mexico
language = Spanish ] d'Anghiera said that the name of one part was given to the whole island..
In the present day both terms are used to refer to their respective countries. The name "Haïti" was adopted as the official name of the republic of the same name by
Haitianrevolutionary Jean-Jacques Dessalinesas an ode of tribute to the Amerindian predecessors. The word Quisqueya(from Quizqueia) is used to refer to the Dominican Republic.
When Columbus took possession of the island, he named it "La Española", meaning "The Spanish (Island)". When d'Anghiera detailed his account of the island in
Latin, he translated the name as "Hispaniola". Because Anghiera's literary work was translated into English and French in a short period of time, the name "Hispaniola" is the most frequently used term in English-speaking countries regarding the island in scientific and cartographic works.
The colonial terms "Saint-Domingue" and "Santo Domingo" are sometimes still applied when referring to the whole island when both names factually refer to their respective countries.
Christopher Columbusarrived on the island during his first voyage to America in 1492. During his arrival he founded the settlement of La Navidadon the north coast of present day Haiti. On his return the subsequent year, following the disbandment of La Navidad, Columbus quickly founded a second settlement farther east in present day Dominican Republic, La Isabela, which became the first permanent European settlement in the Americas.
The island was inhabited by the
Tainos, one of the indigenous Arawakpeoples. The Taino were at first tolerant of Columbus and his crew, and helped him to construct La Navidadon what is now Môle Saint-Nicolas, Haiti, in December 1492. European colonization of the island began earnestly the following year, when 1,300 men arrived from Spainunder the watch of Bartolomeo Columbus. In 1496 the town of "Nueva Isabela" was founded. After being destroyed by a hurricane, it was rebuilt on the opposite side of the Ozama River and called Santo Domingo. It is the oldest permanent European settlement in the Americas. The Tainopopulation of the island was rapidly decimated, owing to a combination of disease and harsh treatment by Spanish overlords. In 1501, the colony began to import African slaves, believing them more capable of performing physical labor. From an estimated initial population of 250,000 in 1492, the Arawaks had dropped by 1517 to 14,000. [cite book | author = |title = A Conqueror More Lethal Than the Sword | publisher = US News and World Report | year = February 5, 2007]
As Spain conquered new regions on the mainland of the Americas, its interest in Hispaniola waned, and the colony's population grew slowly. By the early 17th century, the island and its smaller neighbors (notably
Tortuga) became regular stopping points for Caribbean pirates. In 1606, the kingof Spain ordered all inhabitants of Hispaniola to move close to Santo Domingo, to avoid interaction with pirates. Rather than secure the island, however, this resulted in French, English and Dutch pirates establishing bases on the now-abandoned north and west coasts of the island.
In 1665, French colonization of the island was officially recognized by King Louis XIV. The French colony was given the name
Saint-Domingue. In the 1697 Treaty of Ryswick, Spain formally ceded the western third of the island to France. Saint-Domingue quickly came to overshadow the east in both wealthand population. Nicknamed the "Pearl of the Antilles," it became the richest and most prosperous colony in the West Indies and one of the wealthiest in the world, cementing its status as the most important port in the Americas for goods and products flowing to and from Europe.
Hispaniola is the second-largest island in the
Caribbean(after Cuba), with an area of 76,480 km². The island of Cuba lies 80 km to the northwest across the Windward Passage; to the southwest lies Jamaica, separated by the Jamaica Channel. Puerto Ricolies east of Hispaniola across the Mona Passage. The Bahamasand Turks and Caicos Islandslie to the north.
Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico are collectively known as the
Greater Antilles. The Greater Antilles are made up of continental rock, as distinct from the Lesser Antilles, which are mostly young volcanic or coral islands.
The island has five major mountain ranges: The Central Range, known in the Dominican Republic as the "Cordillera Central", spans the central part of the island, extending from the south coast of the Dominican Republic into northwestern Haiti, where it is known as the "Massif du Nord". This mountain range boasts the highest peak in the Antilles,
Pico Duarteat 3,087 meters (10,128 ft) above sea level. The "Cordillera Septentrional" runs parallel to the Central Range across the northern end of the Dominican Republic, extending into the Atlantic Oceanas the SamanáPeninsula. The "Cordillera Central" and "Cordillera Septentrional" are separated by the lowlands of the Cibao Valleyand the Atlantic coastal plains, which extend westward into Haiti as the "Plaine du Nord" (Northern Plain). The lowest of the ranges is the "Cordillera Oriental", in the eastern part of the country.
The "Sierra de Neiba" rises in the southwest of the Dominican Republic, and continues northwest into Haiti, parallel to the "Cordillera Central", as the "Montagnes Noires", "Chaîne des Matheux" and the "Montagnes du Trou d'Eau". "The Plateau Central" lies between the "Massif du Nord" and the "Montagnes Noires", and the "Plaine de l'Artibonite" lies between the "Montagnes Noires" and the "Chaîne des Matheux", opening westward toward the
Gulf of Gonâve.
The southern range begins in the southwestern most Dominican Republic as the Sierra de Bahoruco, and extends west into Haiti as the Massif de la Selle and the Massif de la Hotte, which form the mountainous spine of Haiti's southern peninsula.
Pic de la Selleis the highest peak in the southern range and the second highest peak in the Antilles and consequently the highest point in Haiti, at 2,680 meters (8,793 ft) above sea level. A depression runs parallel to the southern range, between the southern range and the "Chaîne des Matheux"-"Sierra de Neiba". It is known as the " Plaine du Cul-de-Sac" in Haiti, and Haiti's capital Port-au-Princelies at its western end. The depression is home to a chain of salty lakes, including Lake Azuei in Haiti and Lake Enriquilloin the Dominican Republic.
The climate of Hispaniola is generally
humidand tropical. The island has four distinct ecoregions. The Hispaniolan moist forestsecoregion covers approximately 50% of the island, especially the northern and eastern portions, predominantly in the lowlands but extending up to 2100 meters elevation. The Hispaniolan dry forestsecoregion occupies approximately 20% of the island, lying in the rain shadowof the mountains in the southern and western portion of the island and in the Cibaovalley in the center-north of the island. The Hispaniolan pine forestsoccupy the mountainous 15% of the island, above 850 meters elevation. The Enriquillo wetlandsare a flooded grasslands and savannasecoregion that surround a chain of lakes and lagoons that includes Lake Enriquillo, Rincón Lagoon, and Lake Caballeroin the Dominican Republic and Lake Azuei and Trou Caïmanin Haiti.
Geography of Haiti
Geography of the Dominican Republic
* [http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=18.907471,-71.191406&spn=5.218506,8.107910&t=k&hl=en Google maps]
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