Gonâve, La

Gonâve, La, oblong island (1991 est. pop. 79,188), 254 sq mi (658 sq km), in the Gulf of Gonaïves, Ouest dept., W Haiti. The largest of Hispaniola's smaller neighboring islands, it is c.35 mi (56 km) long and c.9 mi (14.5 km) wide. Mainly limestone, it is fringed by reefs and rises to 2,303 ft (702 m) at Morne La Pierre. The largest settlements are the towns of Anse-à-Galet and Pointe-à-Raquette. There is subsistence farming, cattle raising, and fishing; deforestation and overgrazing have led to severe water shortages. In 2016 a presidential decree creating the Gonâve Island Financial Center would have granted ownership of the island to foreign interests, but the plan was suspended in 2017.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Latin American and Caribbean Physical Geography