Population. – The prosperity known by Haiti under French rule was possible thanks to the black labor force introduced in large masses to enhance, with irrigation and plantations, territories in which the natives had been almost exterminated. At the beginning of the century XIX the population of this part of the island was just over half a million; the proportion of the Whites, small since then, was reduced, following the revolutions that determined their massacre or their removal. Today, compared to 90% of Negroes and 10% of mulattos, the descendants of the European colonizers represent an insignificant figure (3000); however their contribution to the life of the republic, even apart from the North American protectorate, is decisive. The French and Syrians trade there in large numbers; nor are other colonies missing (Germans, Chinese), including the Italian, albeit small (250 people). The conditions between which the republic found itself growing were difficult; also its population increased and increased with a constant rhythm from the liberation onwards: 960 thousand residents. in 1887, 1,210,625 in 1894, 2 million in 1909, 21 / 2 in 1929. The density, which on the whole of the republic 82 touches the surf. per sq. km. (according to a calculation that dates back to 1927), it exceeds 100 and 150 in the two provinces of the NO. and N., the first to be colonized by the Europeans.
Center inhabited. – Of the inhabited centers, the capital, Port-au-Prince, is the most populous (79,797 in 1929): the outlet of the plain called Cul-deSac, it is one of the most beautiful natural ports in America. 57% of imports and 27% of exports of the whole republic pass through Port-au-Prince. Of the other towns Cap – Haïtien (20,000 residents; 10% of exports, 13% of imports), Port-de-Paix (7,500 residents), capital of Haiti until 1685, Gonaïves (12,000 residents), Saint- Marc (10,000 residents) and Fort-Liberté (12,000 residents) rise to the north, Les Cayes (15,000 residents), and Jacmel (10,000 residents) to the south; of these ports the first five are mainly dedicated to the timber trade; in the others, the coffee trade is mainly active.
Trade. – Imports consist mainly of food products (20% of the total; only flour 14%), textiles (15%), mineral oils, metals and metal articles (5%), soaps, vehicles, chemicals, cars, etc.; their relationship in value with exports is clarified by the following table:
As for the countries that participate in exchanges with Haiti, the first place is held by the United States, which appears with 70% of imports (1929-30; 77.5% in 1925-6) and with 9.2%. (1929-30; 12%, in 1924-5) of exports.
According to Programingplease, France alone absorbs a good half of exports (55.3% in 1928-29; 49.7% in 1929-30); followed by England, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Belgium and Italy: in 1929-30 Italian imports (cottons, hats, olive oil) represented 0.8% of the Haitian total, and the quantity of exported goods (coffee, wood) assumed almost the same value.
Finances. – Budgets and public debt. – The financial administration of Haiti is, as a result of the treaty concluded in 1915 with the United States of America and then extended until 1937, under the control of an American general councilor. About 90% of the budget revenue comes from customs duties; among the expenses, the one for the service of the public debt is above all noteworthy; maintaining US financial control is another important spending item in Haiti’s budget.
As of May 31, 1931, the external public debt amounted to 13.2 million dollars and the internal debt to 13 million gourdes.
Coin. – The monetary unit is the gourde, equal to 20 US cents (5 gourdes = 1 $). The US dollar also circulates widely, especially in coastal cities. The monopoly of the issue is reserved to the National Bank of the Republic of Haiti, established in 1910 and placed since 1916 under the control of the National City Bank of New York. As of December 31, 1930, the circulation amounted to 4.9 million dollars, of which 1.2 in US state notes and 3.7 in National Bank notes. Reserves amounted to $ 1.9 million at the same date.