Port-au-Prince, capital of Haiti and the country's chief seaport, is located on a bay of the Gulf of Gonaïves. It was founded in 1749 by French sugar planters.
The city is laid out like an amphitheatre: within a short distance of the port, the topography climbs rapidly toward a mountain range with peaks in the 2,000-2,500 meter range. Extensive and densely developed urban environments have been carved into the hillsides. The urban growth of Port-au-Prince has led to the proliferation of shantytowns and deterioration of people's living conditions.