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Port-au-Prince is the capital and largest city of the Caribbean nation of Haiti. The city's official population was 704,776 as of the 2003 census.
The city of Port-au-Prince faces the Gulf of Mexico. The bay on which the city lies, which acts as a natural harbor, has sustained economic activity since the civilizations of the Arawaks. It was first incorporated under the colonial rule of the French, in 1749, and has been Haiti's largest metropolis since then. The city's layout is similar to that of an amphitheatre; commercial districts are near the water, while residential neighborhoods are located on the hills above. Its population is difficult to ascertain due to the rapid growth of slums in the hillsides above the city; however, recent estimates place the metropolitan area's population at between 2.5 and 3 million people.
Port-au-Prince was catastrophically affected by the 12 January 2010 earthquake, with large numbers of structures damaged or destroyed. Haitian officials estimate that thousands have been killed – estimates go up to 200,000 deaths; with a confirmed death toll of 150,000.