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The socio-ecological conditions in present day Haiti are deeply conditioned by its past. During the colonial period, France developed Haiti into one of the most productive and profitable Caribbean islands. The emphasis on forestry and sugar exports led to the importation of slaves on a huge scale, massive environmental degradation, and eventually to a slave revolt. In 1804, Haiti declared independence, making it the only successful slave revolution in history. The legacy of underdevelopment, slavery, and the commodity economy has been persistent, however. Violence has continued to plague Haiti, which is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with a per capita income of only $1,600. The abject poverty rate of 80 percent and the fertility rate of 5.8 children per female are in ...

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