Port-au-Prince is the capital and largest city of the Caribbean country of Haiti. The city's population was 897,859 as of the 2009 census, and was officially estimated to have reached 942,194 in 2012.The city of Port-au-Prince is on the Gulf of Gonâve: 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 city 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 around 3.7 million, nearly half of the country's national population.Port-au-Prince was catastrophically affected by an earthquake on January 12, 2010, with large numbers of structures damaged or destroyed. Haiti's government has estimated the death toll at 230,000 and says more bodies remain uncounted.