Travel Tips by: Lifestyle Traveler
Haiti and the Dominican Republic couldn’t be more different even though they are located so close together. These significant differences can be traced back to a number of reasons.
Most of the differences between Haiti and the Dominican Republic come from the colonial past that both these countries had to endure.
Christopher Columbus arrived in the area in 1492 and named the island that Haiti and the Dominican Republic share Hispaniola.
By 1791 there had been a rebellion on Hispaniola, and slavery was abolished after a terrible war that lasted until 1804 when Haiti was formally given its independence from the French.
The Dominican Republic stayed under colonial rule for a while longer and wasn’t officially established until 1844. However, even back then, this part of the island had only about a tenth of the slaves that Haiti had, despite it being twice as large.
Haiti is much smaller than the Dominican Republic but their populations are nearly the same, both lying close to 10 million people.
After it declared independence Haiti was forced to pay its former colonizers, the French, a large sum of money while simultaneously fighting a war with the comparably wealthy Dominican Republic. This debt drove the country into financial ruin.
Even today, Haiti is unable to produce enough food for its people and its GDP is only 18.8$. The Dominican Republic in comparison has a GDP of 142$ which truly puts this number into perspective.
While the Dominican Republic is by no means one of the world’s wealthiest places, it does well, which is primarily due to its lucrative tourism industry.
Haiti, in comparison, cannot attract the millions of luxury tourists that visit its neighbour causing the country to slip further and further into poverty.