Haiti before the earthquake
Haiti became the world's first black;led
republic and the first independent Caribbean state when it obtained its
independence from France in the early 19th century. However, decades of
poverty, environmental degradation, violence, instability and dictatorship
have left the country as the poorest nation in the Americas.
A mostly mountainous country with a tropical
climate, Haiti's location, history and culture once made it a potential
tourist spot, but instability and violence, especially since the 1980s,
have severely dented that prospect.