The nation of Haiti is located in the Caribbean Sea, within the Greater Antilles chain of islands. It occupies the western portion of a land mass shared with with Dominican Republic, however the two nations are distinct in language, culture and history.
The Haitian side of the island was colonized by the French, who cultivated vast sugarcane plantations. Consequently, the island became a hub for the trans-Atlantic slave trade, as plantation owners bought and sold people abducted from West Africa to work their fields.
Haiti became a sovereign nation in 1804 after rebelling against the French occupation. It is distinguished as being the only successful slave revolt in history, resulting in independent nationhood and the abolition of slavery.
Since 1804, Haiti has suffered under a series of dictatorships. Political corruption, both moral and financial, has left the nation severely underdeveloped and depleted of natural resources. In addition, it's location in the Caribbean makes it a frequent target of tropical storms and hurricanes. These factors, coupled with the devastating 2010 earthquake, have made Haiti the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. The World Bank estimates that 59% of Haitians live on less than $3 a day, as of 2017.