- OFFICIAL NAME = REPUBLIC OF HAITI
- LOCATION = CARIBBEAN SEA
- CAPITAL = PORT-AU-PRINCE
- CONTINENT = NORTH AMERICA
- OFFICIAL LANGUAGE = FRENCH (CREOLE)
- POPULATION = 11,112,945 MILLION
- CURRENCY = GOURDES
- AREA = 27,750 SQ KM (10,714 SQ MILES)
- HIGHEST POINT = PIC LA SELLE MOUNTAIN (8,793 FT)(2,680 MT)
- MAJOR MOUNTAINS = BOIS PIN, MACAYA AND PIC LA SELLE
- MAJOR RIVER = RIVER ARTIBONITE
- CLIMATE = TROPICAL CLIMATE
- CALLING CODE = DIAL 011+509+PHONE NUMBER
- RELIGION = MAINLY ROMAN CATHOLICISM (VOODOO)
- INDEPENDENCE = JANUARY 1, 1804 (FROM FRANCE)
- NATIONAL HOLIDAY = INDEPENDENCE DAY: JANUARY 1
- GOVERNMENT = UNITARY SEMI-PRESIDENTIAL REPUBLIC
- NATIONAL SPORT = FOOTBALL (SOCCER)
- MAJOR INDUSTRIES = AGRICULTURE, CEMENT, FORESTRY, TEXTILES AND TOURISM
- MAJOR RESOURCES = BAUXITE, COPPER, CALCIUM, CARBONATE, GOLD AND MARBLE
- AGRICULTURE = CASSAVA, BANANAS, CORN, YAMS, POTATOES, RICE AND COFFEE.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF HAITI
When Christopher Columbus and the Spanish forces landed on the island of Hispaniola in 1492, the only people living on the island were a tribe of Arawak Indians.
Within 25 years after arriving, the Spanish had killed off most of the natives, and Haiti become a Spanish colony. At the same time, the Spanish imported thousands of slaves over from Africa to work in the colony.
In the early 17th century, Spain sold off Haiti to the French and they took over the colony. The French wanted to increase the production in forestry, as well of many crops such as cotton, sugarcane and coffee, and in doing so, they brought in thousands of more slaves from Africa.
Over time, Haiti became one of the wealthiest islands in the Caribbean. By the late 18th century, and with nearly half a million slaves in Haiti, they revolted against French rule. After a long bloody struggle they eventually won and they gained their independence from France in January of 1804. They became the first black independent republic in the world.
Francois “papa doc” Duvalier ruled Haiti in 1957. He had total power over his country which was in deep poverty at the time. Anyone who didn’t agree with his governing methods was killed. This led to many Haitians leaving their country for safety, until Duvalier’s government was ousted in 1986. After his rule ended, Duvalier spent 25 years in lavish exile in France.
SHORT FACTS ABOUT HAITI
In 1492, Christopher Columbus landed on the island and named it Hispaniola. He initially taught that he had found India or Asia.
Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic.
Haiti is a Country in the Caribbean Sea. It is bordered by the Dominican Republic in the east and it shares maritime borders with Colombia, Cuba, Jamaica and the Bahamas.
Haiti is a rugged, mountainous land, dominated by three mountain ranges, the Chaine de la selle in the south, the Massif de la Selle in the east, and the Massif de la Hotte in the west, which is home to the highest mountain in Haiti, the Pic La Selle. It measures 2,680 meters (8,793 feet), which is the highest point in Haiti.”
Haiti has more mountains than any other Caribbean nation.
“Hayti” is the Indian name for the country, and means “land of the mountains”.
The longest river in Haiti is the Artibonite river. It stretches 321 km in length, although 68 km of that is in the Dominican Republic, leaving 253 km in Haiti.
Way up high in the Macaya National Park, stands the last remaining cloud forest in Haiti.
Perched up high in the mountains in Haiti is a fort called the Citadelle La Ferriere. It was built to keep the French out after Haiti gained its independence.
A massive Earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010, killing more than 200,000 people and destroying its capital, Port-au-Prince. It completely destroyed the presidential palace. The extent of the damage was so massive it will take years to rebuild its infrastructure.
Haiti’s tropical climate makes it a nice home for its jungle dwelling animals, such as its many types of bats, snakes, frogs, birds and insects. The water surrounding Haiti are home to many different types of fish, and a wide variety of dolphins.
Haiti’s rhinoceros iguana is one of world’s largest iguana. It can grow up to 1.2 m (4 ft), eating mainly fruit and vegetables.
The Island is home to over 300 different types of orchids and 600 fern species growing on its forest floors and land.
Haiti still follow lots of traditions that originally came from Africa. One of these is vodou (voodoo). During a vodou service, dead spirits act and speak through living people.
During a vodou celebration called the “Fete Gede”, the locals go to the cemeteries to honour the dead with food, rum, and flowers.
Some Haitians also believe in zombies.
Haiti is often called the most African of all the Caribbean countries, because it was the world’s first black republic.
Haiti was ruled by seventy different dictators between 1804 and 1915.
Off the coast of Haiti, is the island of Tortuga, which was know to be the headquarters for the pirates of the Caribbean, in the middle of the 17th century.
Haiti is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the Americas. The majority of the people are unemployed, but for those who do work, they do so in harsh conditions.
A outbreak of cholera in 2010, killed more than 9000 people in Haiti and affected 730,000 more.
Corruption, illegal drug trading and human trafficking, especially of children is well know in Haiti. It is ranked at 159th spot out of 176 countries listed, as the most corrupt country in the world.
Despite it been a poor country, Haiti is a popular tourist destination (many from cruise ships) and over the years it has seen the development of several four and five star hotels and resorts.
The Haitian carnival is now one of the most popular carnivals in the Caribbean for tourists. Its beaches easily figure among the most beautiful beaches in the world, with its golden sands and turquoise blue waters.
Only 53 percent of adults can read in Haiti, and they can expect to live 51 years.
The Haitian diet is made of local fruits and vegetables, along with spicy meat dishes.
Haiti’s national sport is football. They qualified and played in the world cup of 1974, in West Germany.
Cock fighting is a popular game in Haiti.