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NASA/Expedition 20 crew

Hispaniola is a Caribbean island that was explored and claimed by Columbus on his first voyage in 1492 and became a springboard for Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and the American mainland. Initially claimed by the Spanish Empire in its entirety, the Western third soon became a haven of piracy and ultimately gravitated towards the French orbit becoming one of the most lucrative and most brutal slavery based cash-crop colony as "Saint Domingue" while the eastern two thirds remained Spanish and relatively unimportant. In the course of the Haitian Revolution, the new state of Haiti laid claim to the Spanish parts of the island and briefly conquered them but lost and ultimately gave up all claims to it during the 19th century. Today the island encompasses two separate countries: