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The Haiti Portal

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Haiti (Haïti in French; Ayiti in Haitian Creole; Hayti in nineteenth century English), officially the Republic of Haiti, occupies one-third of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. The country also includes many smaller islands such as La Gonâve, La Tortue (Tortuga), Les Cayemites, Île de Anacaona, and La Grande Caye. The uninhabited island of Navasse is claimed by both Haiti and the United States. 'Ayiti' (Haiti) being the indigenous Taíno name for the island. Its highest point is Chaine de la Selle, which has a height of 2,680 meters. Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. The total area of Haiti is 27,750 km² (10,714 sq mi) and its capital is Port-au-Prince.

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The Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) was the most successful of the many African slave rebellions in the Western Hemisphere and established Haiti as a free, black republic, the first of its kind. At the time of the revolution, Haiti was a colony of France known as Saint-Domingue. By means of this revolution, Africans and people of African ancestry freed themselves from French colonization and from slavery.

Haiti is the first black republic in modern history. It went directly from being a French colony to self-governance through a process that has had lasting effect on the nation. The system established by slaveholders demonstrated the effectiveness of violence and force in controlling the majority. This system survived the revolution and continued under the nascent black republic. A light-skinned elite took control of political and economic power.

Did you know...

  • ...that Cross International has been aiding the poorest of the poor in Haiti since its inception in 2001. Cross' outreach efforts provide food for hungry families, literacy for underprivileged women, medicines and supplies to hospitals, care and education for orphans and other vulnerable children, water supplies, housing for the homeless, and emergency relief from natural disasters.
  • ...that in 2004, Hurricane Jeanne hit the coastal city of Gonaïves, where it affected about 80,000 of the city's 100,000 residents? And that official reports counted 3,006 people dead, with 2,826 of those in Gonaïves alone?
  • ...that Gens de couleur were Free people of color in French colonial Haiti? And that the Gens de couleur could own plantations, and often owned large numbers of slaves themselves?
  • ...that former President of Haiti Jean-Claude Duvalier, also known as "Baby Doc" was exiled to France after his disposition in 1986? And that he lost most of his wealth due to his divorce from his wife Michèle, and now reportedly lives in very modest circumstances?
  • ...that Restavec refers to a social system in Haiti whereby parents unable to care for their children send them to relatives or strangers, where they receive food and housing (and sometimes an education) in exchange for light housework?
  • ...that in 2007, the Haitian national football team beat recent FIFA World cup finalists Trinidad and Tobago 2-1, to win the Caribbean Cup for the first time?
  • ...that La Visite National Park is one of the two national parks in Haiti? And that it is located in the southeast of the country and contains the country's highest mountain, Pic de la Selle?



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Vodou ceremony in Jacmel.

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