Haiti And Dominican Republic, Geographical And Historical Differences

While Haiti suffers, Dominican Republic is well off and occupies Caribbean Island of Hispaniola up to around 30,000 sq m. It is filled with resorts, is prosperous and healthy while Haiti continues to be poverty stricken. The Dominican Republic is ranked 90th on the human development index out of the 182 countries while Haiti comes 149th.


In Haiti the life expectancy is 61 years while in the Dominican Republic it is 74 years. In case a person lives on 2/3rds of eastern Hispaniola then he is more likely to write and read and live on less than 1.25 dollars a day.

Geographical And Historical Difference

It is the geography that makes much of the difference. Rainfall in Haiti gets cut off due to the mountains located across the island while the rains come in favor of the Dominican Republic. Cultivation is a challenge in Haiti due to the semi arid climate. Another major issue in Haiti is deforestation.

The violent and long history of Hispaniola has resulted in other differences too. On the western side of Hispaniola, French is spoken largely while on the eastern part it is Spanish. This division has resulted for centuries due to many power struggles and the colonization by Europeans. The land was called as La Isla Espanola in 1492, when Christopher Columbus arrived. It served as a colony for the Spanish and a base for further conquests in the empire. However it never seemed profitable.

Effects Of The Revolution

In the 1790s a revolution took place in France and Hispaniola's colonial slaves revolted. They declared independence in 1804. Till 1844, the Dominican Republic was not established. Strife continued with the neighbors and it was rooted in cultural, racial and class differences. It was a norm for foreign powers, to keep interfering. In the early 1860s, the Dominican Republic was taken back by the Spanish. Both nations were occupied by US in the 20th century for order restoration and for asserting its influence in the west.

Multiple coups, dictatorship and revolts characterized internal politics. Both the nations kept struggling with democracy and began diverging economically. Haiti's own rulers, neighbors and foreign powers exploited Haiti. Haitians having darker skin were looked down upon by the Dominicans with lighter skin. Haiti continues to be a poor country in the western hemisphere.

The comment made by Pat Robertson, Christian televangelist on The 700 Club after the earthquake in Haiti created an outrage. He stated that the catastrophes took place due to the pact made with the devil two centuries ago by residents.

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