As the first permanent European settlement in the Americas, Hispaniola holds many historic claims, including the first cathedral and castle in the Americas.
312 years after Christopher Columbus arrived, The Haitian Revolution gave the island independence, and was the second successful attempt in history (after the American Revolution) to attain independence from European powers.
One of its lofty goals was the elimination of slavery, and while the revolution technically achieved that aim, the island remained immersed in cultural stigmas left behind by social norms established by French colonial rule.
In 1804 the island gained independence from European powers, but was torn in two politically during a war in 1844 which resulted in the creation of the Dominican Republic.
Recent estimates of average incomes on the island are drastically poor for both nations, and oppressively poor on the Haitian side at $1,300 compared to the Dominican side at six times the Haitian average.