Hispaniola is an island located in the Caribbean in the group of islands known as the Greater Antilles. The island has an area of about 29,418 square miles comprised of two sovereign nations namely the Dominican Republic (18,705 square miles) and Haiti (10,710 square miles). The Dominican Republic, which speaks Spanish, is on the east while Haiti, which speaks French Creole, is on the west. History shows that Hispaniola was the first place in the Americas that Europeans made a permanent settlement after its discovery by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and 1493.
Countries Sharing Hispaniola Island
The Dominican Republic is the bigger of the two countries occupying the island of Hispaniola. Occupying the eastern part, this country covers about five-eighths of the entire land. In terms of the size of the countries in the Caribbean, the Dominican is second only to Cuba while it is the third most populous country with a population of about 10 million people. About 30% of this population lives in Santo Domingo, which is the capital city. Most of the population speaks a variant of Spanish although French and English are also popular.
Looking at the economy of the countries in Latin America, the economy of the Dominican Republic is the ninth-largest with a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of $81.653 billion. In addition, the country has one of the fastest growing economies, especially over the past two decades. The rate between 1992 and 2014 was 5.4% while 2014 had an increased rate of 7.0%. The drivers of the economy include manufacturing, mining, construction, and tourism. Tourism is a major contributor since the country is the most popular destination in the Caribbean.
Officially known as the Republic of Haiti, Haiti is on the western side of Hispaniola. Previously known as Hayti, Haiti occupies the remaining three-eighths of Hispaniola. Haiti is the third-most populous country in the Caribbean with a population of about 10.8 million people. The capital city of Haiti is Port-au-Prince, which also doubles as the largest city. The official languages in the country are Haitian Creole and French. Despite being the official language, less than half of the population speak it compared to Haitian Creole, which is spoken by almost everyone.
In 2017, the nominal GDP of the country stood at only $7.897 billion. This low GDP means that Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world despite a relatively strong tourism industry. Some of the problems plaguing the nation include things like corruption, illiteracy, poverty, and poor infrastructure. In addition, the country is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes. An example of a massive earthquake happened in 2010 when a 7.0-magnitude earthquake killed between 100,000 and 160,000 people and caused significant property damage.
Hispaniola island is the second largest island in the Caribbean after the island of Cuba. In addition, it is the most populous island in the Caribbean. The only other Caribbean island that is shared by two countries is Saint Martin, split between the French (Saint-Martin) and the Dutch (Sint Maarten).