Haiti, the first Caribbean state to achieve independence, occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola. Mountainous with a tropical climate, it is the poorest country in the Americas due to decades of violence and instability. There is a huge income gap between the Creole-speaking black majority and the French-speaking mulattos (mixed African and European descent). Mulattos, only 5 percent of the population, control most of the wealth. Haiti became the first black republic in 1804 after a successful slave revolt against the French. As Haiti celebrated 200 years of independence, a rebellion toppled the government in February 2004.