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Hispaniola

Hispaniola (hĭsˌpănyōˈlə) [key], Span. Española ĕspänyōˈlä, second largest island of the West Indies, 29,530 sq mi (76,483 sq km), between Cuba and Puerto Rico. Haiti occupies the western third of the island and the Dominican Republic the remainder. Visited by Columbus in 1492, the island was called Española. The later French colony was called Saint-Domingue, after Santo Domingo, the Spanish colony in the eastern part of the island. The terrain, dominated by the Cordillera Central, is high and rugged; Pico Duarte (10,417 ft/3,175 m high) is the tallest peak. Extending far westward, like the claws of a crab, two mountain ranges form the scenic Gulf of Gonaïves. The island's climate is subtropical, and agriculture (coffee, cocoa, sugarcane, and tobacco) flourishes in the abundant rainfall. In some areas of the island (in Haiti especially), increased population has caused significant deforestation for cultivation. Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, are the largest cities.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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  • Dominican Republic - Information on Dominican Republic—geography, history, politics, government, economy, population statistics, culture, religion, languages, largest cities, as well as a map and the national flag.
  • Haiti - Information on Haiti — geography, history, politics, government, economy, population statistics, culture, religion, languages, largest cities, as well as a map and the national flag.
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See more Encyclopedia articles on: Latin American and Caribbean Physical Geography

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