Coordinates: 19°00′N 72°25′W / 19.000°N 72.417°W
Haiti (i; French: Haïti [a.iti]; Haitian Creole: Ayiti [ajiti]), officially the Republic of Haiti (French: République d'Haïti; Haitian Creole: Repiblik Ayiti), is a country in the western hemisphere, and is located on the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Haiti is 27,750 square kilometres (10,714 sq mi) in size and has an estimated 10.6 million people, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the third-most populous country in the Caribbean as a whole.
Originally inhabited by the indigenous Taíno people, Europeans first became aware of the island on December 5, 1492 during the first voyage of Christopher Columbus across the Atlantic. When Columbus first landed in Haiti, he had thought he had found India or Asia. Deciding to establish the first settlement in the area, a contingent of men were left at an outpost christened La Navidad because of the wreck to their sunken flagship, the Santa Maria, that occurred at Christmas, north of what is now Limonade. The island was named Hispaniola and claimed by Spain, which ruled until the early 17th century. Competing claims and settlements by the French led to the western portion of the island being ceded to France, which named it Saint-Domingue. The development of sugarcane plantations, worked by slaves brought from Africa, led to the colony being among the most lucrative in the world.