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Haiti, Land and Resources

Haiti consists of two peninsulas, which are separated by the Gonave Gulf. Much of Haitiís land is mountainous. In all, five mountain ranges cross the country. The Chaine du Haut Piton, which runs along the northern peninsula, reaches a height of 1,183 m (3,881 ft). The Massif de la Selle, which begins just southeast of Port-au-Prince, reaches a height of 2,680 m (8,793 ft) at Pic la Selle, the highest point in Haiti. The Massif de la Hotte reaches a height of 2,347 m (7,700 ft) at the extreme western end of the southern peninsula. The other chains, which include the Massif des Montagnes Noires and Chaine des Cahos, and the solitary peak of Montagne Terrible, range between 1,128 and 1,580 m (3,701 and 5,184 ft) high.

The Gonave Gulf contains the largest of Haitiís offshore islands, the island of Gonave. The other islands include Ile de la Tortue (Tortuga) and Grande Cayemite. Haitiís shoreline is irregular and there are many natural harbors. The numerous riversómost of which are short, swift, and unnavigableóhave their sources in the mountains. Only the Artibonite River, the countryís largest, is navigable for any length. Haitiís inland areas include three productive agricultural regions, the Plaine du Nord, the Artibonite River valley and the Cul-de-Sac Plain. Saumatre Lake, a saltwater lake in the Cul-de-Sac, is the nationís largest lake, while Peligre Lake, formed by a dam on the upper Artibonite River, is the largest freshwater lake.

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