Extension and boundaries. – According to Militarynous.com, Haiti embraces the western part of the island, over an extension of 27,844 sq km, including the portion of the disputed border area (852 sq km) with the neighboring republic of Santo Domingo (agreement of 21 January 1929). Beyond the two peninsulas of NO. and Tiburon (the latter about 250 km long), almost all the Artibonite basin, one half of the southern depression with two thirds of the Fondo Lagoon, the Western Cordillera (except the Sierra de Neiba) , and a good part of the island’s median anticline. The territory, mainly mountainous or hilly, is well articulated towards the West, where the deep Gulf of la Gonave penetrates almost to the border line; except for the upper area of Guayamuco (Artibonite), no inland point is more than fifty kilometers away. from the coast.
Economic Conditions. – By far the predominant occupation of the residents is agriculture. The urban population as soon as 1 / 5 of the total. And the main source of wealth in agriculture is coffee, introduced in 1738 by the Jesuits and easily acclimatized almost everywhere. Its cultivation today occupies about 150 thousand hectares, and, although carried out with primitive methods, it allows a remarkable production no less for abundance than for quality. The fluctuations in annual quantities, depending on the demands of the outlet markets (France alone absorbed 60% of the 1929-30 harvest), tend to decrease: in the post-war period the average production was about 350 thousand quintals per year, entering among exports for a figure that represents in value from 70 to 80% of the total of the Republic (1929-30: 73%; 1925-26: 80.6%).
The second place, in the Haitian economy, was once held by forest products: the richness of the woods in cabinet-making woods (pine, baitoa, mahogany, cedar, etc.) and even more by dyeing (camping, blackberry) is such, that in some periods (third quarter of the nineteenth century) the value of this export could equal and even exceed that of all the other items. But with the development of industrial chemistry and the widening of the purchasing markets for timber, given the value that this retains in Haiti’s foreign trade (3.1% of exports in 1927-28) other products became increasingly important.. Thus, p. eg cotton, indigenous to the Antilles, is now widespread here in the flat areas (Arbre, Artibonite, Cul-de-Sac); of superior quality, it is also in great demand on the North American market. The plant occupies,
Sugar cane, introduced by the Spaniards after the conquest, had a flowering period under French domination (at the end of the 18th century Haiti owned 792 factories, which gave 72 thousand tons of sugar a year); from the decline in which it had plunged in the last century, it recovered after 1918-19: today the raw sugar produced in Haiti exceeds 12 thousand tons per year and gives life to the (North American) sugar refineries of Port-au-Prince, where they are manipulated with the by-products (rum) also happened.
Of the other crops, tobacco and cocoa deserve to be remembered: the former, however, is not enough today even for internal consumption; the second, widespread above all in the western extremity of the Tiburon peninsula, makes it possible to contribute to exports (14,000 quintals in 1929; 23,000 in 1930). Of the other useful plants (including cereals) which would find excellent conditions of development, and which are also used in the diet of farmers (corn, wheat, yam, yucca, mango), none emerges for economic importance, although there is a large quantity of them., mostly in the spontaneous state.
From the agricultural point of view, the northern regions are the most developed; the southern plain, on the other hand, given the arid climate and the need for irrigation works for the crops, is still in an incomplete stage of evolution; large internal areas, where limestones emerge or dominate the savannah, are better suited for breeding. However, even this form of activity awaits its hour, and the same is to be said of the mineral resources, which are not lacking (copper, lead, zinc, silver, manganese are certainly found in the NW peninsula), but they have not animated any company industrial account.