EtymologyThe name Haiti (or ''Hayti'') comes from the indigenous language which was the native name given to the entire island of to mean, "land of high mountains." The ''h'' is silent in French and the '' ï'' in ''Haïti'' has a used to show that the second vowel is pronounced separately, as in the word ''naïve''. In English, this rule for the pronunciation is often disregarded, thus the spelling ''Haiti'' is used. There are different anglicizations for its pronunciation such as ''HIGH-ti'', ''high-EE-ti'' and ''haa-EE-ti'', which are still in use, but ''HAY-ti'' is the most widespread and best-established. The name was restored by Haitian revolutionary Jean-Jacques Dessalines as the official name of independent Saint-Domingue, as a tribute to the Amerindian predecessors. In French, Haiti's nickname is the "Pearl of the Antilles" (''La Perle des Antilles'') because of both its natural beauty, and the amount of wealth it accumulated for the ; during the 18th century the colony was the world's leading producer of sugar and coffee.
Pre-Columbian historyThe island of , of which Haiti occupies the western three-eighths, has been inhabited since about 5000 BC by groups of Native Americans thought to have arrived from Central or South America. Genetic studies show that some of these groups were related to the of the . Amongst these early settlers were the peoples, followed by the , speakers of an , elements of which have been preserved in . The Taíno name for the entire island was ''Haiti'', or alternatively ''Quisqeya''.Clammer, Paul, (2016) ''Bradt Travel Guide – Haiti'', p. 9 In Taíno society the largest unit of political organization was led by a '' ,'' or chief, as the Europeans understood them. The island of Hipaniola was divided among five 'caciquedoms': the Magua in the north east, the Marien in the north west, the Jaragua in the south west, the Maguana in the central regions of Cibao, and the Higüey in the south east. Taíno cultural artifacts include in several locations in the country. These have become national symbols of Haiti and tourist attractions. Modern-day Léogâne, started as a French colonial town in the southwest, is beside the former capital of the caciquedom of ''Xaragua.''
Spanish rule (1492–1625)Navigator landed in Haiti on 6 December 1492, in an area that he named '' Môle-Saint-Nicolas,'' and claimed the island for the . Nineteen days later, his ship the '' Santa María'' ran aground near the present site of . Columbus left 39 men on the island, who founded the settlement of on 25 December 1492. Relations with the native peoples, initially good, broke down and the settlers were later killed by the Taíno.Clammer, Paul, (2016) ''Bradt Travel Guide – Haiti'', p.10 The sailors carried endemic Eurasian s to which the native peoples lacked , causing them to die in great numbers in s. The first recorded epidemic in the Americas erupted on Hispaniola in 1507. Their numbers were further reduced by the harshness of the ' system, in which the Spanish forced natives to work in gold mines and plantations. The Spanish passed the Laws of Burgos, 1512–13, which forbade the maltreatment of natives, endorsed their to Catholicism, and gave legal framework to ''.'' The natives were brought to these sites to work in specific plantations or industries. As the Spanish re-focused their colonization efforts on the greater riches of mainland Central and South America, Hispaniola became reduced largely to a trading and refueling post. As a result became widespread, encouraged by European powers hostile to Spain such as France (based on Île de la Tortue) and England. The Spanish largely abandoned the western third of the island, focusing their colonization effort on the eastern two-thirds. The western part of the island was thus gradually settled by French s; among them was Bertrand d'Ogeron, who succeeded in growing and recruited many French colonial families from and . In 1697 and settled their hostilities on the island by way of the of 1697, which divided Hispaniola between them.Clammer, Paul, (2016) ''Bradt Travel Guide – Haiti'', p.11
French rule (1625–1804)France received the western third and subsequently named it , the French equivalent of '' '', the Spanish colony on . The French set about creating sugar and coffee plantations, worked by vast numbers of slaves imported from , and Saint-Domingue grew to become their richest colonial possession. The French settlers were outnumbered by slaves by almost 10 to 1. According to the 1788 Census, Haiti's population consisted of nearly 25,000 Europeans, 22,000 free coloreds and 700,000 African slaves. In contrast, by 1763 the white population of , a far larger territory, had numbered only 65,000. In the north of the island, slaves were able to retain many ties to African cultures, religion and language; these ties were continually being renewed by newly imported Africans. Some West African slaves held on to their traditional Vodou beliefs by secretly syncretizing it with Catholicism. The French enacted the '' '' ("Black Code"), prepared by and ratified by , which established rules on slave treatment and permissible freedoms.Clammer, Paul, (2016) ''Bradt Travel Guide – Haiti'', p.12 Saint-Domingue has been described as one of the most brutally efficient slave colonies; one-third of newly imported Africans died within a few years. Many slaves died from diseases such as and . They had low s, and there is evidence that some women fetuses rather than give birth to children within the bonds of slavery. The colony's environment also suffered, as forests were cleared to make way for plantations and the land was overworked so as to extract maximum profit for French plantation owners. As in its Louisiana colony, the government allowed some rights to (''gens de couleur''), the descendants of European male colonists and African female slaves (and later, mixed-race women). Over time, many were released from slavery and they established a separate . White French Creole fathers frequently sent their mixed-race sons to for their education. Some men of color were admitted into the military. More of the free people of color lived in the south of the island, near , and many intermarried within their community. They frequently worked as artisans and tradesmen, and began to own some property, including slaves of their own. The free people of color petitioned the government to expand their rights. The brutality of slave life led many slaves to escape to mountainous regions, where they set up their own autonomous communities and became known as . One Maroon leader, , led a rebellion in the 1750s, however he was later captured and executed by the French.
Haitian Revolution (1791–1804)Inspired by the of 1789 and principles of the , the French settlers and free people of color pressed for greater political freedom and more . Tensions between these two groups led to conflict, as a militia of free-coloreds was set up in 1790 by Vincent Ogé, resulting in his capture, torture and execution. Sensing an opportunity, in August 1791 the first slave armies were established in northern Haiti under the leadership of inspired by the Vodou ''houngan'' (priest) Boukman, and backed by the Spanish in Santo Domingo – soon a full-blown slave rebellion had broken out across the entire colony. In 1792, the French government sent three commissioners with troops to re-establish control; to build an alliance with the '' '' and slaves commissioners and Étienne Polverel abolished slavery in the colony. Six months later, the , led by and the , endorsed abolition and extended it to all the French colonies. The , which was a new republic itself, oscillated between supporting or not supporting and the emerging country of Haiti, depending on who was President of the US. Washington, who was a slave holder and isolationist, kept the United States neutral, although private US citizens at times provided aid to French trying to put down the revolt. John Adams, a vocal opponent of slavery, fully supported the slave revolt by providing diplomatic recognition, financial support, munitions and warships (including the ) beginning in 1798. This support ended in 1801 when Jefferson, another slave holding President, took office and recalled the US Navy. With slavery abolished, Toussaint Louverture pledged allegiance to France, and he fought off the British and Spanish forces who had taken advantage of the situation and invaded Saint-Domingue. The Spanish were later forced to cede their part of the island to France under the terms of the in 1795, uniting the island under one government. However an insurgency against French rule broke out in the east, and in the west there was fighting between Louverture's forces and the free people of color led by in the War of the Knives (1799–1800). Many surviving free people of color left the island as refugees. After Louverture created a separatist constitution and proclaimed himself governor-general for life, Napoléon Bonaparte in 1802 sent an expedition of 20,000 soldiers and as many sailors under the command of his brother-in-law, Charles Leclerc (general, born 1772), Charles Leclerc, to reassert French control. The French achieved some victories, but within a few months most of their French Army, army had died from yellow fever. Ultimately more than 50,000 French troops died in an attempt to retake the colony, including 18 generals. The French managed to capture Louverture, transporting him to France for trial. He was imprisoned at Fort de Joux, where he died in 1803 of exposure and possibly tuberculosis.Clammer, Paul, (2016) ''Bradt Travel Guide – Haiti'', p.13 The slaves, along with free ''gens de couleur'' and allies, continued their fight for independence, led by generals , Alexandre Pétion and Henry Christophe. The rebels finally managed to decisively defeat the French troops at the Battle of Vertières on 18 November 1803, establishing the first nation ever to successfully gain independence through a slave revolt. Under the overall command of Dessalines, the Haitian armies avoided open battle, and instead conducted a successful guerrilla campaign against the Napoleonic forces, working with diseases such as yellow fever to reduce the numbers of French soldiers. Later that year France withdrew its remaining 7,000 troops from the island and Napoleon gave up his idea of re-establishing a North American empire, selling Louisiana (New France) to the , in the Louisiana Purchase. It has been estimated that between 24,000 and 100,000 Europeans, and between 100,000 and 350,000 Haitian ex-slaves, died in the revolution. In the process, Dessalines became arguably the most successful military commander in the struggle against Napoleonic France.
First Empire (1804–1806)The independence of Saint-Domingue was proclaimed under the native name 'Haiti' by on 1 January 1804 in GonaïvesClammer, Paul, (2016) ''Bradt Travel Guide – Haiti'', p. 209 and he was proclaimed "Emperor for Life" as Emperor Jacques I by his troops. Dessalines at first offered protection to the white planters and others. However, once in power, he ordered the 1804 Haiti Massacre, massacre of nearly all the remaining white men, women, children; between January and April 1804, 3,000 to 5,000 whites were killed, including those who had been friendly and sympathetic to the black population. Only 1804 Haiti massacre#Aftermath, three categories of white people were selected out as exceptions and spared: Polish Haitian, Polish soldiers, the majority of whom had deserted from the French army and fought alongside the Haitian rebels; the small group of German Haitian, German colonists invited to the Nord-Ouest (department), north-west region; and a group of Doctor of Medicine, medical doctors and professionals. Reportedly, people with connections to officers in the Haitian army were also spared, as well as the women who agreed to marry non-white men. Fearful of the potential impact the slave rebellion could have in the slave states, U.S. President Thomas Jefferson refused to recognize the new republic. The Southern politicians who were a powerful voting bloc in the American Congress prevented U.S. recognition for decades until they withdrew in 1861 to form the Confederate States of America, Confederacy. The revolution led to a wave of emigration. In 1809, 9,000 refugees from Saint-Domingue, both white planters and people of color, settled ''en masse'' in New Orleans, doubling the city's population, having been expelled from their initial refuge in Cuba by Spanish authorities. In addition, the newly arrived slaves added to the city's African population. The plantation system was reestablished in Haiti, albeit for wages, however many Haitians were marginalized and resented the heavy-handed manner in which this was enforced in the new nation's politics. The rebel movement splintered, and Dessalines was assassinated by rivals on 17 October 1806.
State of Haiti, Kingdom of Haiti and the Republic (1806–1820)After Dessalines' death Haiti became split into two, with the Kingdom of Haiti in the north directed by Henri Christophe, later declaring himself Henri Christophe, Henri I, and a republic in the south centered on Port-au-Prince, directed by Alexandre Pétion, an ''homme de couleur''. Christophe established a semi-feudal corvée system, with a rigid education and economic code. Pétion's republic was less absolutist, and he initiated a series of land reforms which benefited the peasant class. President Pétion also gave military and financial assistance to the revolutionary leader Simón Bolívar, which were critical in enabling him to liberate the Viceroyalty of New Granada. Meanwhile, the French, who had managed to maintain a precarious control of eastern Hispaniola, were Spanish reconquest of Santo Domingo, defeated by insurgents led by Juan Sánchez Ramírez, with the area returning to Spanish rule in 1809 following the Battle of Palo Hincado.
Unification of Hispaniola (1821–1844)Beginning in 1821, President , also an ''homme de couleur'' and successor to Pétion, reunified the island following the suicide of Henry Christophe. After Republic of Spanish Haiti, Santo Domingo declared its independence from Spain on 30 November 1821, Boyer invaded, seeking to Unification of Hispaniola, unite the entire island by force and ending slavery in Santo Domingo. Struggling to revive the agricultural economy to produce commodity crops, Boyer passed the Code Rural, which denied peasant laborers the right to leave the land, enter the towns, or start farms or shops of their own, causing much resentment as most peasants wished to have their own farms rather than work on plantations. Starting in September 1824, more than 6,000 African Americans migrated to Haiti, with transportation paid by an American philanthropic group similar in function to the American Colonization Society and its efforts in Liberia. Many found the conditions too harsh and returned to the United States. In July 1825, Charles X, King Charles X of , during a period of restoration of the French monarchy, sent a French Navy, fleet to reconquer Haiti. Under pressure, President Boyer agreed to a treaty by which France formally recognized the independence of the nation in exchange for Haiti indemnity controversy, a payment of 150 million francs. By an order of 17 April 1826, the King of France renounced his rights of sovereignty and formally recognized the independence of Haiti. The enforced payments to France hampered Haiti's economic growth for years, exacerbated by the fact that many Western nations continued to refuse formal Diplomacy, diplomatic recognition to Haiti; Britain recognized Haitian independence in 1833, and the United States not until 1862. Haiti borrowed heavily from Western banks at extremely high interest rates to repay the debt. Although the amount of the reparations was reduced to 90 million in 1838, by 1900 80% of Haiti's government spending was debt repayment and the country did not finish repaying it until 1947.
Loss of the Spanish portion of the islandAfter losing the support of Haiti's elite, Boyer was ousted in 1843, with Charles Rivière-Hérard replacing him as president. Nationalist Dominican forces in eastern Hispaniola led by Juan Pablo Duarte seized control of Santo Domingo on 27 February 1844. The Haitian forces, unprepared for a significant uprising, capitulated to the rebels, effectively ending Haitian rule of eastern Hispaniola. In March Rivière-Hérard attempted to reimpose his authority, but the Dominican Republic, Dominicans put up stiff opposition and inflicted heavy losses. Rivière-Hérard was removed from office by the mulatto hierarchy and replaced with the aged general Philippe Guerrier, who assumed the presidency on 3 May 1844. Guerrier died in April 1845, and was succeeded by General Jean-Louis Pierrot. Pierrot's most pressing duty as the new president was to check the incursions of the Dominicans, who were harassing the Haitian troops. Dominican gunboats were also making depredations on Haiti's coasts. President Pierrot decided to open a campaign against the Dominicans, whom he considered merely as insurgents, however the Haitian offensive of 1845 was stopped on the frontier. On 1 January 1846 Pierrot announced a fresh campaign to reimpose Haitian suzerainty over eastern Hispaniola, but his officers and men greeted this fresh summons with contempt. Thus, a month later – February 1846 – when Pierrot ordered his troops to march against the Dominicans, the Haitian army mutinied, and its soldiers proclaimed his overthrow as president of the republic. With the war against the Dominicans having become very unpopular in Haiti, it was beyond the power of the new president, General Jean-Baptiste Riché, to stage another invasion.
Second Empire (1849–1859)On 27 February 1847, President Riché died after only a year in power and was replaced by an obscure officer, General Faustin Soulouque. During the first two years of Soulouque's administration the conspiracies and opposition he faced in retaining power were so manifold that the Dominicans were given a further breathing space in which to consolidate their independence. But, when in 1848 France finally recognized the Dominican Republic as a free and independent state and provisionally signed a treaty of peace, friendship, commerce and navigation, Haiti immediately protested, claiming the treaty was an attack upon their own security. Soulouque decided to invade the new Republic before the French Government could ratify the treaty. On 21 March 1849, Haitian soldiers attacked the Dominican garrison at Las Matas de Farfán, Las Matas. The demoralized defenders offered almost no resistance before abandoning their weapons. Soulouque pressed on, capturing San Juan Province (Dominican Republic), San Juan. This left only the town of Azua, Dominican Republic, Azua as the remaining Dominican stronghold between the Haitian army and the capital. On 6 April, Azua fell to the 18,000-strong Haitian army, with a 5,000-man Dominican counterattack failing to oust them. The way to Santo Domingo was now clear. But the news of discontent existing at Port-au-Prince, which reached Soulouque, arrested his further progress and caused him to return with the army to his capital. Emboldened by the sudden retreat of the Haitian army, the Dominicans counter-attacked. Their flotilla went as far as Dame-Marie, Grand'Anse, Dame-Marie, which they plundered and set on fire. Soulouque, now self-proclaimed as Emperor Faustin I, decided to start a new campaign against them. In 1855, he again invaded the territory of the Dominican Republic. But owing to insufficient preparation, the army was soon in want of victuals and ammunition. In spite of the bravery of the soldiers, the Emperor had once more to give up the idea of a unified island under Haitian control. After this campaign, Britain and France intervened and obtained an armistice on behalf of the Dominicans, who declared independence as the Dominican Republic. The sufferings endured by the soldiers during the campaign of 1855, and the losses and sacrifices inflicted on the country without yielding any compensation or any practical results provoked great discontent. In 1858 a revolution began, led by General Fabre Geffrard, Duke of Tabara. In December of that year, Geffrard defeated the Imperial Army and seized control of most of the country. As a result, the Emperor abdicated his throne on 15 January 1859. Refused aid by the French Legation, Faustin was taken into exile aboard a British warship on 22 January 1859, and General Geffrard succeeded him as President.
Late 19th century–early 20th centuryThe period following Soulouque's overthrow down to the turn of the century was a turbulent one for Haiti, with repeated bouts of political instability. President Geffrard was overthrown in a coup in 1867, as was his successor, Sylvain Salnave, in 1869. Under the Presidency of Michel Domingue (1874–76) relations with the Dominican Republic were dramatically improved by the signing of a treaty, in which both parties acknowledged the independence of the other, bringing an end to Haitian dreams of bringing the entirety of Hispaniola under their control. Some modernisation of the economy and infrastructure also occurred in this period, especially under the Presidencies of Lysius Salomon (1879–88) and Florvil Hyppolite (1889–96). Haiti's relations with outside powers were often strained. In 1889 the United States attempted to Môle Saint-Nicolas affair, force Haiti to permit the building of a naval base at Môle Saint-Nicolas, which was firmly resisted by President Hyppolite. In 1892 the German Empire, German government supported suppression of the reform movement of Anténor Firmin, and in 1897, the Germans used gunboat diplomacy to intimidate and then humiliate the Haitian government of President Tirésias Simon Sam (1896–1902) during the Lüders Affair. In the first decades of the 20th century, Haiti experienced great political instability and was heavily in debt to France, Germany and the United States. A series of short lived presidencies came and went: President Pierre Nord Alexis was forced from power in 1908, as was his successor François C. Antoine Simon in 1911; President Cincinnatus Leconte (1911–12) was killed in a (possibly deliberate) explosion at the National Palace; Michel Oreste (1913–14) was ousted in a coup, as was his successor Oreste Zamor in 1914.
United States occupation (1915–1934)Germany increased its influence in Haiti in this period, with a small community of German settlers wielding disproportionate influence in Haiti's economy.Occupation of Haiti, 1915–34
Post-occupation era (1934–1957)After US forces left in 1934, Dominican Republic, Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo used Antihaitianismo, anti-Haitian sentiment as a nationalist tool. In an event that became known as the Parsley massacre, Parsley Massacre, he ordered his army to kill Haitians living on the Dominican side of the border. Few bullets were used – instead, 20,000–30,000 Haitians were bludgeoned and bayoneted, then herded into the sea, where sharks finished what Trujillo had begun. Congressman Hamilton Fish III, Hamilton Fish, ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the Parsley Massacre "the most outrageous atrocity that has ever been perpetrated on the American continent." President Vincent became increasingly dictatorial, and resigned under US pressure in 1941, being replaced by Élie Lescot (1941–46). In 1941, during the Second World War, Lescot declared war on Empire of Japan, Japan (8 December), Nazi Germany, Germany (12 December), Kingdom of Italy, Italy (12 December), Kingdom of Bulgaria, Bulgaria (24 December), Kingdom of Hungary (1920-46), Hungary (24 December) and Kingdom of Romania, Romania (24 December). Out of these six Axis Powers, Axis countries, only Romania reciprocated, declaring war on Haiti on the same day (24 December 1941). On 27 September 1945, Haiti became a member states of the United Nations, founding member of the (the successor to the Member states of the League of Nations, League of Nations, of which Haiti was also a founding member). In 1946 Lescot was overthrown by the military, with Dumarsais Estimé later becoming the new president (1946–50). He sought to improve the economy and education, and to boost the role of black Haitians, however as he sought to consolidate his rule he too was overthrown in a coup led by Paul Magloire, who replaced him as president (1950–56). Firmly anti-Communist, he was supported by the United States; with greater political stability tourists started to visit Haiti. The waterfront area of was redeveloped to allow cruise ship passengers to walk from the docks to cultural attractions. Celebrities such as Truman Capote and Noël Coward visited Haiti; the era is captured in Graham Greene's 1966 novel ''The Comedians (novel), The Comedians''.
Duvalier dynasty (1957–1986)In 1956–57 Haiti underwent severe political turmoil; Magloire was forced to resign and leave the country in 1956 and he was followed by four short-lived presidencies. In the Haitian presidential election, 1957, September 1957 election Dr. François Duvalier was elected President of Haiti. Known as 'Papa Doc' and initially popular, Duvalier remained President until his death in 1971.Clammer, Paul, (2016) ''Bradt Travel Guide – Haiti'', p. 17 He advanced black interests in the public sector, where over time, people of color had predominated as the educated urban elite. Not trusting the army, despite his frequent purges of officers deemed disloyal, Duvalier created a private militia known as ''Tonton Macoute, Tontons Macoutes'' ("Bogeymen"), which maintained order by terrorizing the populace and political opponents. In 1964 Duvalier proclaimed himself 'President for Life'; Jérémie Vespers, an uprising against his rule that year in Jérémie was violently suppressed, with the ringleaders publicly executed and hundreds of mixed-raced citizens in the town killed. The bulk of the educated and professional class began leaving the country, and corruption became widespread. Duvalier sought to create a personality cult, identifying himself with Baron Samedi, one of the loa (or ''lwa''), or spirits, of Haitian Vodou. Despite the well-publicized abuses under his rule, Duvalier's firm anti-Communism earned him the support of the Americans, who furnished the country with aid. In 1971 Duvalier died, and he was succeeded by his son Jean-Claude Duvalier, nicknamed 'Baby Doc', who ruled until 1986. He largely continued his father's policies, though curbed some of the worst excesses in order to court international respectability. Tourism, which had nosedived in Papa Doc's time, again became a growing industry. However as the economy continued to decline Baby Doc's grip on power began to weaken. Haiti's pig population was slaughtered following an outbreak of swine fever in the late 1970s, causing hardship to rural communities who used them as an investment. The opposition became more vocal, bolstered by a visit to the country by Pope John Paul II in 1983, who publicly lambasted the president. Demonstrations occurred in Gonaïves in 1985 which then spread across the country; under pressure from the United States, Duvalier left the country for France in February 1986. In total, roughly 40,000 to 60,000 Haitians are estimated to have been killed during the reign of the Duvaliers. Through the use of his intimidation tactics and executions, many intellectual Haitians had fled, leaving the country with a massive brain-drain that it has yet to recover from.
Post-Duvalier era (1986–2004)Following Duvalier's departure, army leader General Henri Namphy headed a new National Council of Government (Haiti), National Governing Council. Haitian presidential election, 1987, Elections scheduled for November 1987 were aborted after dozens of inhabitants were shot in the capital by soldiers and ''Tontons Macoutes''.Whitney, Kathleen Marie (1996), "Sin, Fraph, and the CIA: U.S. Covert Action in Haiti", ''Southwestern Journal of Law and Trade in the Americas'', Vol. 3, Issue 2 (1996), pp. 303–32, esp. p. 319. Fraudulent Haitian presidential election, 1988, elections followed in 1988, in which only 4% of the citizenry voted.Haiti's Election Needs Help
Post-Aristide era (2004–present)Amidst the continuing political chaos, a series of natural disasters hit Haiti. In 2004 Hurricane Jeanne#Haiti, Tropical Storm Jeanne skimmed the north coast, leaving 3,006 people dead in flooding and mudslides, mostly in the city of Gonaïves. In 2008 Haiti was again struck by tropical storms; Tropical Storm Fay (2008), Tropical Storm Fay, Hurricane Gustav, Hurricane Hanna and Hurricane Ike all produced heavy winds and rain, resulting in 331 deaths and about 800,000 in need of humanitarian aid. The state of affairs produced by these storms was intensified by already high food and fuel prices that had caused a food crisis and political unrest in April 2008. On 12 January 2010, at 4:53pm local time, Haiti was struck by a moment magnitude scale, magnitude-7.0 2010 Haiti earthquake, earthquake. This was the country's most severe earthquake in over 200 years. The earthquake was reported to have left between 220,000 and 300,000 people dead and up to 1.6 million homeless. The situation was exacerbated by a subsequent massive Haiti cholera outbreak, cholera outbreak that was triggered when cholera-infected waste from a peacekeeping station contaminated the country's main river, the Artibonite River, Artibonite. In 2017, it was reported that roughly 10,000 Haitians had died and nearly a million had been made ill. After years of denial the United Nations apologized in 2016, but , they have refused to acknowledge fault, thus avoiding financial responsibility. General elections had been planned for January 2010 but were postponed due to the earthquake. Haitian general election, 2010–11, Elections were held on 28 November 2010 for the senate, the parliament and the first round of the presidential elections. The run-off between Michel Martelly and Mirlande Manigat took place on 20 March 2011, and preliminary results, released on 4 April, named Michel Martelly the winner.Clammer, Paul, (2016) ''Bradt Travel Guide – Haiti'', p. 21 In 2011 both former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier and Jean-Bertrand Aristide returned to Haiti; attempts to try Duvalier for crimes committed under his rule were shelved following his death in 2014. In 2013, Haiti called for European nations to pay reparations for slavery and establish an official commission for the settlement of past wrongdoings. Meanwhile, after continuing political wrangling with the opposition and allegations of electoral fraud, Martelly agreed to step down in 2016 without a successor in place. An interim president, Jocelerme Privert, then took office. After numerous postponements, partly owing to the effects of devastating Hurricane Matthew, November 2016 Haitian presidential election, elections were eventually held in November 2016. The victor, Jovenel Moïse of the Haitian Tèt Kale Party, was subsequently sworn in as president in 2017. The 2018–2021 Haitian protests are demonstrations in cities throughout Haiti that began on 7 July 2018, in response to increased fuel prices. Over time these protests evolved into demands for the resignation of president Moïse. On 7 July 2021, President Moïse was Assassination of Jovenel Moïse, assassinated in an attack on his private residence, and First Lady Martine Moïse was hospitalized following the overnight attack. The United Nations special envoy for Haiti, Helen La Lime, said on 8 July 2021 that interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, as Acting President, will lead Haiti until an election is held later in the year, urging all parties to set aside differences. Claude Joseph's presidency is disputed with Senate Leader Joseph Lambert (Haitian politician), Joseph Lambert. The recognized Claude Joseph as the legitimate Acting President. Haitian officials have asked the United States to send troops to help stabilize the country and protect vital infrastructure. On 19 July 2021, Claude Joseph stepped down as Acting President, transferring the power to rival Ariel Henry. In August 2021, 2021 Haiti earthquake, Haiti suffered a huge earthquake; with many casualties.
GeographyHaiti forms the western three-eighths of , the second largest island in the . At 27,750 sq km Haiti is the third largest country in the Caribbean behind and the , the latter sharing a Dominican Republic–Haiti border, border with Haiti. The country has a roughly horseshoe shape and because of this it has a disproportionately long coastline, second in length () behind Cuba in the Greater Antilles. Haiti is the most mountainous nation in the Caribbean, its terrain consists of mountains interspersed with small coastal plains and river valleys. The climate is tropical, with some variation depending on altitude. The highest point is Pic la Selle, at . The northern region consists of the ''Massif du Nord'' (Northern Massif) and the ''Plaine du Nord'' (Northern Plain). The ''Massif du Nord'' is an extension of the ''Cordillera Central'' in the Dominican Republic. It begins at Haiti's eastern border, north of the Guayamouc River, and extends to the northwest through the northern peninsula. The lowlands of the ''Plaine du Nord'' lie along the northern border with the Dominican Republic, between the ''Massif du Nord'' and the North Atlantic Ocean. The central region consists of two plains and two sets of mountain ranges. The ''Plateau Central'' (Central Plateau) extends along both sides of the Guayamouc River, south of the ''Massif du Nord''. It runs from the southeast to the northwest. To the southwest of the ''Plateau Central'' are the ''Montagnes Noires, Haiti, Montagnes Noires'', whose most northwestern part merges with the ''Massif du Nord''. Haiti's most important valley in terms of crops is the Plaine de l'Artibonite, which lies between the Montagnes Noires and the Chaîne des Matheux. This region supports the country's (also Hispaniola's) longest river, the Artibonite River, Riviere l'Artibonite, which begins in the western region of the Dominican Republic and continues for most of its length through central Haiti, where it then empties into the Gulf of Gonâve, Golfe de la Gonâve. Also in this valley lies Haiti's second largest lake, Lac de Péligre, formed as a result of the construction of the Péligre Dam in the mid-1950s.Jennifer Wells
ClimateHaiti's climate is tropical with some variation depending on altitude. Port-au-Prince ranges in January from an average minimum of to an average maximum of ; in July, from . The rainfall pattern is varied, with rain heavier in some of the lowlands and the northern and eastern slopes of the mountains. Haiti's dry season occurs from November to January. Port-au-Prince receives an average annual rainfall of . There are two rainy seasons, April–June and October–November. Haiti is subject to periodic droughts and floods, made more severe by deforestation. Hurricanes are a menace, and the country is also prone to flooding and earthquakes.
GeologyThere are Thrust fault#Blind thrust faults, blind thrust faults associated with the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone, Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault system over which Haiti lies. After the earthquake of 2010, there was no evidence of surface rupture and geologists' findings were based on seismological, geological and ground deformation data. The northern boundary of the fault is where the Caribbean plate, Caribbean tectonic plate shifts eastwards by about per year in relation to the North American plate. The strike-slip fault system in the region has two branches in Haiti, the Septentrional-Oriente fault zone, Septentrional-Oriente fault in the north and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault in the south. A 2007 earthquake hazard study, noted that the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone could be at the end of its seismic cycle and concluded that a worst-case forecast would involve a 7.2 Mw earthquake, similar in size to the 1692 Jamaica earthquake. A study team presented a hazard assessment of the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault system to the 18th Caribbean Geologic Conference in March 2008, noting the large strain. The team recommended "high priority" historical geologic rupture studies, as the fault was fully locked and had recorded few earthquakes in the preceding 40 years. An article published in Haiti's ''Le Matin (Haiti), Le Matin'' newspaper in September 2008 cited comments by geologist Patrick Charles to the effect that there was a high risk of major seismic activity in Port-au-Prince; and duly the magnitude 7.0 2010 Haiti earthquake happened on this fault zone on 12 January 2010. Haiti also has rare elements such as gold, which can be found at The Mont Organisé gold mining, gold mine.
EnvironmentThe Erosion, soil erosion released from the upper catchments and deforestation have caused periodic and severe flooding in Haiti, as experienced, for example, on 17 September 2004. Earlier in May that year, floods had killed over 3,000 people on Haiti's southern border with the Dominican Republic. Haiti's forests covered 60% of the country as recently as 50 years ago, but that has been halved to a current estimate of 30% tree cover, according to more recent environmental analysis. This estimate poses a stark difference from the erroneous figure of 2% which has been oft-cited in discourse concerning the country's environmental condition. Haiti had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 4.01/10, ranking it 137th globally out of 172 countries. Scientists at the The Earth Institute#Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN)Earth Institute, Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) and the United Nations Environment Programme are working on the Haiti Regenerative Initiative an initiative aiming to reduce poverty and natural disaster vulnerability in Haiti through ecosystem restoration and sustainable resource management.
BiodiversityHaiti is home to four ecoregions: Hispaniolan moist forests, Hispaniolan dry forests, Hispaniolan pine forests, and Greater Antilles mangroves. Despite its small size, Haiti's mountainous terrain and resultant multiple climatic zones has resulted in a wide variety of plant life.Clammer, Paul, (2016) ''Bradt Travel Guide – Haiti'', p 6. Notable tree species include the breadfruit tree, mango tree, acacia, mahogany, coconut palm, royal palm and Cedrela odorata, West Indian cedar. The forests were formerly much more extensive, but have been subject to severe deforestation. Most mammal species are not native, having been brought to the island since colonial times. However there are various native bat species, as well as the endemic Hispaniolan hutia and Hispaniolan solenodon. Various whale and dolphin species can also be found off Haiti's coast. There are over 260 species of bird, 31 of these being endemic to Hispaniola.Clammer, Paul, (2016) ''Bradt Travel Guide – Haiti'', p 4. Notable endemic species include the Hispaniolan trogon, Hispaniolan parakeet, grey-crowned tanager and the Hispaniolan Amazon. There are also several Raptor (bird), raptor species, as well as pelicans, ibis, hummingbirds and ducks. Reptiles are common, with species such as the rhinoceros iguana, Chilabothrus fordii, Haitian boa, American crocodile and gecko.Clammer, Paul, (2016) ''Bradt Travel Guide – Haiti'', p 5
Government and politicsThe government of Haiti is a semi-presidential system, semi-presidential republic, a multiparty system wherein the president of Haiti is head of state elected directly by popular elections in Haiti, elections held every five years. The prime minister of Haiti acts as head of government and is appointed by the president, chosen from the majority party in the National Assembly. Executive power is exercised by the president and prime minister who together constitute the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of the National Assembly of Haiti, the Senate (Haiti), Senate (Sénat) and the Chamber of Deputies (Haiti), Chamber of Deputies (Chambre des Députés). The government is organized unitary state, unitarily, thus the central government ''delegates'' powers to the departments without a constitutional need for consent. The current structure of Haiti's political system was set forth in the Constitution of Haiti on 29 March 1987. Haitian politics have been contentious: since independence, Haiti has suffered 32 List of revolutions and coups d'état in Haiti, coups. Haiti is the only country in the Western Hemisphere to undergo a successful Haitian Revolution, slave revolution; however, a long history of oppression by dictators such as François Duvalier and his son Jean-Claude Duvalier has markedly affected the nation. Since the end of the Duvalier era Haiti has been transitioning to a democratic system.
Administrative divisionsAdministratively, Haiti is divided into ten Departments of Haiti, departments. The departments are listed below, with the departmental capital cities in parentheses. # Nord-Ouest (department), Nord-Ouest (Port-de-Paix) # Nord (Haitian department), Nord ( ) # Nord-Est (department), Nord-Est (Fort-Liberté) # Artibonite (department), Artibonite (Gonaïves) # Centre (department), Centre (Hinche) # Ouest (department), Ouest ( ) # Grand'Anse (department), Grand'Anse (Jérémie) # Nippes (Miragoâne) # Sud (department), Sud (Les Cayes) # Sud-Est (department), Sud-Est (Jacmel) The departments are further divided into 42 Arrondissements of Haiti, arrondissements, 145 Communes of Haiti, communes and 571 communal sections. These serve as, respectively, second- and third-level administrative divisions.
Foreign relationsHaiti is a member of a wide range of international and regional organizations, such as the United Nations, CARICOM, , , Organisation of American States, Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, OPANAL and the . In February 2012, Haiti signaled it would seek to upgrade its observer status to full associate member status of the African Union (AU). The AU was reported to be planning to upgrade Haiti's status from observer to associate at its June 2013 summit but the application had still not been ratified by May 2016.
MilitaryHaiti's Ministry of Defense is the main body of the armed forces. The former Armed Forces of Haiti, Haitian Armed Forces were demobilized in 1995, however Defence Force of Haiti, efforts to reconstitute it are currently underway. The current defense force for Haiti is the Haitian National Police, which has a highly trained SWAT team, and works alongside the Haitian Coast Guard. In 2010, the Haitian National Police force numbered 7,000.
Law enforcement and crimeThe legal system is based on a modified version of the Napoleonic Code. Haiti has consistently ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world on the Corruption Perceptions Index. According to a 2006 report by the Corruption Perceptions Index, there is a strong correlation between corruption and poverty in Haiti. The nation ranked first of all countries surveyed for levels of perceived domestic corruption. It is estimated that President Jean-Claude Duvalier, "Baby Doc" Duvalier, his wife Michèle Bennett, Michelle, and their agents stole US $504 million from the country's treasury between 1971 and 1986. Similarly, after the Haitian Army folded in 1995, the Haitian National Police (HNP) gained sole power of authority on the Haitian citizens. Many Haitians as well as observers of the Haitian society believe that this monopolized power could have given way to a corrupt police force. Similarly, some media outlets alleged that millions were stolen by former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In March 2004, at the time of Aristide's kidnapping, a BBC article wrote that the Bush administration State Department stated that Aristide had been involved in drug trafficking. The BBC also described pyramid schemes, in which Haitians lost hundreds of millions in 2002, as the "only real economic initiative" of the Aristide years. Conversely, according to the 2013 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report, murder rates in Haiti (10.2 per 100,000) are far ''below'' the regional average (26 per 100,000); less than that of Jamaica (39.3 per 100,000) and nearly that of the Dominican Republic (22.1 per 100,000), making it among the safer countries in the region. In large part, this is due to the country's ability to fulfil a pledge by increasing its national police yearly by 50%, a four-year initiative that was started in 2012. In addition to the yearly recruits, the Haitian National Police (HNP) has been using innovative technologies to crack down on crime. A notable bust in recent years led to the dismantlement of the largest kidnapping ring in the country with the use of an advanced software program developed by a United States Military Academy, West Point-trained Haitian official that proved to be so effective that it has led to its foreign advisers to make inquiries. In 2010, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) sent a team of veteran officers to Haiti to assist in the rebuilding of its police force with special training in investigative techniques, strategies to improve the anti-kidnapping personnel and community outreach to build stronger relationships with the public especially among the youth. It has also helped the HNP set up a police unit in the center of Delmas, Ouest, Delmas, a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. In 2012 and 2013, 150 HNP officers received specialized training funded by the US government, which also contributed to the infrastructure and communications support by upgrading radio capacity and constructing new police stations from the most violent-prone neighborhoods of Cité Soleil and Grande Ravine in Port-au-Prince to the new northern industrial park at Caracol, Nord-Est, Caracol.
Haitian penitentiary systemPrison, penitentiary is home to half of Haiti's prisoners. The prison has a capacity of 1,200 Detention (imprisonment), detainees but the penitentiary was obliged to keep 4,359 detainees, a 454% occupancy level. This leads to severe consequences for the inmates. One cell could hold up to 60 inmates which was originally designed for only 18, therefore creating tight and uncomfortable living conditions. The inmates are forced to create makeshift hammocks from the wall and ceilings. The men are on a 22/ 23 hour lock up in the cells so the risk of diseases is very high. The inability to receive sufficient funds from the government as Haiti endures severe natural disasters which take up their attention and resources, such as the 2010 earthquake, has caused deadly cases of malnutrition, combined with the tight living conditions, increases the risk of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis which has led to 21 deaths in January 2017 alone at the Port-au-Prince penitentiary. Haitian law states that once arrested, one must go before a judge within 48 hours; however, this is very rare. In an interview with Unreported World, the prison governor stated that around 529 detainees were never sentenced, there are 3,830 detainees who are in prolonged detained trial detention. Therefore, 80% are not convicted. Unless families are able to provide the necessary funds for inmates to appear before a judge there is a very slim chance the inmate would have a trial, on average, within 10 years. Brian Concannon, the director of the non-profit Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, claims that without a substantial bribe to persuade judges, prosecutors and lawyers to undergo their case, there is no prospect for getting a trial for years. Families may send food to the penitentiary; however, most inmates depend on the meals served twice a day. However, the majority of the meals consists of ration supplies of rice, oats or cornmeal, which has led to deadly cases of malnutrition-related ailments such as Thiamine deficiency, beriberi and anemia. Prisoners too weak are crammed in the penitentiary infirmary. In confined living spaces for 22–23 hours a day, inmates are not provided with latrines and are forced to Defecation, defecate into plastic bags and leave them outside their cells. These conditions were considered inhumane by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2008.
EconomyHaiti has a predominantly free market economy, with a GDP of $19.97 billion and per capita GDP of $1,800 (2017 estimates). The country uses the Haitian gourde as its currency. Despite its tourism industry, Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Americas, with corruption, political instability, poor infrastructure, lack of health care and lack of education cited as the main causes. Unemployment is high and many Haitians seek to emigrate. Trade declined dramatically after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, 2010 earthquake and subsequent 2010 Haiti cholera outbreak, outbreak of cholera, with the country's Gross domestic product#Cross-border comparison and purchasing power parity, purchasing power parity GDP falling by 8% (from US$12.15 billion to US$11.18 billion). Haiti ranked 145 of 182 countries in the 2010 United Nations Human Development Index, with 57.3% of the population being deprived in at least three of the HDI's poverty measures. Following the disputed 2000 election and accusations about President Aristide's rule, US aid to the Haitian government was cut off between 2001 and 2004. After Aristide's departure in 2004, aid was restored and the Brazilian army led a United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti peacekeeping operation. After almost four years of recession, the economy grew by 1.5% in 2005. In September 2009, Haiti met the conditions set out by the IMF and World Bank's Heavily Indebted Poor Countries program to qualify for cancellation of its external debt. More than 90 percent of the government's budget comes from an agreement with Petrocaribe, a Venezuela-led oil alliance.
Foreign aidHaiti received more than US$4 billion in aid from 1990 to 2003, including US$1.5 billion from the United States. The largest donor is the US, followed by Canada and the European Union. In January 2010, following the earthquake, US President Barack Obama promised US$1.15 billion in assistance. European Union nations pledged more than €400 million (US$616 million). Neighboring has also provided extensive humanitarian aid to Haiti, including the funding and construction of a public university, human capital, free healthcare services in the border region, and logistical support after the 2010 earthquake. The United Nations states that in total US$13.34 billion has been earmarked for post-earthquake reconstruction through 2020, though two years after the 2010 quake, less than half of that amount had actually been released, according to UN documents. , the US government has allocated US$4 billion, US$3 billion has already been spent, and the rest is dedicated to longer-term projects.
TradeAccording to the 2015 CIA World Factbook, Haiti's main import partners are: Dominican Republic 35%, US 26.8%, Netherlands Antilles 8.7%, China 7% (est. 2013). Haiti's main export partner is the US 83.5% (est. 2013). Haiti had a trade deficit of US$3 billion in 2011, or 41% of GDP.
EnergyIn 1925, the city of Jacmel was the first area in the Caribbean to have electricity and was subsequently dubbed the ''City of Light''. Today, Haiti relies heavily on an oil alliance with Petrocaribe for much of its energy requirements. In recent years, hydroelectric, solar and wind energy have been explored as possible sustainable energy sources. As of 2017, among all the countries in the Americas, Haiti is producing the least energy. Less than a quarter of the country has electric coverage. Most regions of Haiti that do have energy are powered by generators. These generators are often expensive and produce a lot of pollution. The areas that do get electricity experience power cuts on a daily basis, and some areas are limited to 12 hours of electricity a day. Electricity is provided by a small number of independent companies: Sogener, E-power, and Haytrac. There is no national electricity grid within the country.Matthew Lucky, Katie Auth, Alexander Ochs, et al., Haiti Sustainable Energy Roadmap: Harnessing Domestic Energy Resources to Build an Affordable, Reliable, and Climate-Compatible Electricity System (Washington, DC: Worldwatch Institute, 2014). The most common source of energy used is wood, along with charcoal. In Haiti, about 4 million metric tons of wood products are consumed yearly. Like charcoal and wood, petroleum is also an important source of energy for Haiti. Since Haiti cannot produce its own fuel, all fuel is imported. Yearly, around 691,000 tons of oil is imported into the country. On 31 October 2018, Evenson Calixte, the General Director of energy regulation (ANARSE) announced the 24 hour electricity project. To meet this objective, 236 MW needs to installed in Port-au-Prince alone, with an additional 75 MW needed in all other regions in the country. Presently only 27.5% of the population has access to electricity; moreover, the national energy agency l'Électricité d'Haïti (Ed'H) is only able to meet 62% of overall electricity demand said Fritz Caillot, the Minister of Public Works, Transportation and Communication (Travaux publics, transport et communication (TPTC)).
Personal incomeHaiti suffers from a shortage of skilled labor, widespread unemployment, and underemployment. Most Haitians in the labor force have informal jobs. Three-quarters of the population lives on US$2 or less per day. Remittances from Haitians living abroad are the primary source of foreign exchange, equaling one-fifth (20%) of GDP and more than five times the earnings from exports as of 2012. In 2004, 80% or more of college graduates from Haiti were living abroad. Occasionally, families who are unable to care for children financially may send them to live with a wealthier family as a ''restavek'', or house servant. In return the family are supposed to ensure that the child is educated and provided with food and shelter, however the system is open to abuse and has proved controversial, with some likening it to child slavery.
Real estateIn rural areas, people often live in wooden huts with corrugated iron roofs. Outhouses are located in back of the huts. In Port-au-Prince, colorful shantytowns surround the central city and go up the mountainsides. The middle and upper classes live in suburbs, or in the central part of the bigger cities in apartments, where there is urban planning. Many of the houses they live in are like miniature fortresses, located behind walls embedded with metal spikes, barbed wire, broken glass, and sometimes all three. The gates to these houses are barred at night, the house is locked; guard dogs patrol the yard. These houses are often self-sufficient as well. The houses have backup generators, because the electrical grid in Haiti is unreliable. Some even have rooftop reservoirs for water, as the water supply is also unreliable.
AgricultureHaiti is the world's leading producer of Chrysopogon zizanioides, vetiver, a root plant used to make luxury perfumes, essential oils and fragrances, providing for half the world's supply. Roughly 40–50% of Haitians work in the agricultural sector. Haiti relies upon imports for half its food needs and 80% of its rice. Haiti exports crops such as mangoes, cocoa bean, cacao, coffee, papayas, mahogany nuts, spinach, and watercress. Agricultural products comprise 6% of all exports. In addition, local agricultural products include maize, beans, cassava, sweet potato, peanuts, pistachios, bananas, millet, pigeon peas, sugarcane, rice, sorghum, and wood.
CurrencyThe Haitian gourde (HTG) is the national currency. The "Haitian gourde, Haitian dollar" equates to 5 gourdes (''goud''), which is a fixed exchange rate that exists in concept ''only,'' but are commonly used as informal prices. The vast majority of the business sector and individuals in Haiti will also accept US dollars, though at the outdoor markets gourdes may be preferred. Locals may refer to the USD as "dollar américain" (''dola ameriken'') or "dollar US" (pronounced ''oo-es'').
TourismThe tourism market in Haiti is undeveloped and the government is heavily promoting this sector. Haiti has many of the features that attract tourists to other Caribbean destinations, such as white sand beaches, mountainous scenery and a year-round warm climate. However, the country's poor image overseas, at times exaggerated, has hampered the development of this sector. In 2014, the country received 1,250,000 tourists (mostly from cruise ships), and the industry generated US$200 million in 2014. Several hotels were opened in 2014, including an upscale Best Western#Differentiation, Best Western Premier, a five-star Royal Oasis hotel by Occidental Hotel and Resorts in Pétion-Ville, a four-star Marriott International, Marriott Hotel in the Turgeau area of Port-au-Prince and other new hotel developments in Port-au-Prince, Les Cayes, and Jacmel. The Haitian Carnival has been one of the most popular carnivals in the Caribbean. In 2010, the government decided to stage the event in a different city outside Port-au-Prince every year in an attempt to decentralize the country. The National Carnival usually held in one of the country's largest cities (i.e., Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haïtien or Les Cayes) follows the also very popular Jacmel Carnival, which takes place a week earlier in February or March.
Caracol Industrial ParkOn 21 October 2012, Haitian President Michel Martelly, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Richard Branson, Ben Stiller and Sean Penn inaugurated the Caracol industrial park, the largest in the . Costing US$300 million, the project, which includes a 10-megawatt power plant, a water-treatment plant and worker housing, is intended to transform the northern part of the country by creating 65,000 jobs. The park is part of a "master plan" for Haiti's North and North-East departments, including the expansion of the Cap-Haïtien International Airport to accommodate large international flights, the construction of an international seaport in Fort-Liberté and the opening of the $50 million Roi Henri Christophe Campus of a new university in Limonade (near Cap-Haïtien) on 12 January 2012. South Korean clothing manufacturer Sae-A Trading Co. Ltd, one of the park's main tenants, has created 5,000 permanent jobs out of the 20,000 projected and has built 8,600 houses in the surrounding area for its workers. The industrial park ultimately has the potential to create as many as 65,000 jobs once fully developed.
TransportationHaiti has two main highways that run from one end of the country to the other. The northern highway, Route Nationale No. 1 (National Highway One), originates in Port-au-Prince, winding through the coastal towns of Montrouis and Gonaïves, before reaching its terminus at the northern port . The southern highway, Route Nationale No. 2, links Port-au-Prince with Les Cayes via Léogâne and Petit-Goâve. The state of Haiti's roads are generally poor, many being potholed and becoming impassable in rough weather. According to the Washington Post, "Officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Saturday [23 January 2010] that they assessed the damage from the [12 January] quake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and found that many of the roads aren't any worse than they were before because they've always been in poor condition." The port at Port-au-Prince, Port international de Port-au-Prince, has more registered shipping than any of the other dozen ports in the country. The port's facilities include Crane (machine), cranes, large Berth (moorings), berths, and warehouses, but these facilities are not in good condition. The port is underused, possibly due to the substantially high port fees. The port of Saint-Marc is currently the preferred port of entry for consumer goods coming into Haiti. Reasons for this may include its location away from volatile and Traffic congestion, congested Port-au-Prince, as well as its central location relative to numerous Haitian cities. In the past, Haiti used rail transport, however the rail infrastructure was poorly maintained when in use and cost of rehabilitation is beyond the means of the Haitian economy. In 2018 the Regional Development Council of the Dominican Republic proposed a "trans-Hispaniola" railway between both countries.
AirportsToussaint Louverture International Airport, located north-northeast of Port-au-Prince proper in the commune of Tabarre, is the primary transportation hub regarding entry and exit into the country. It has Haiti's main jetway, and along with Cap-Haïtien International Airport located near the northern city of Cap-Haïtien, handles the vast majority of the country's international flights. Cities such as Jacmel, Jérémie, Les Cayes, and Port-de-Paix have smaller, less accessible airports that are serviced by regional airlines and private aircraft. Such companies include: Caribintair (defunct), Sunrise Airways and Tortug' Air (defunct). In 2013, plans for the development of an international airport on Île-à-Vache were introduced by the Prime Minister.
Bus serviceTap tap buses are colorfully painted buses or pick-up trucks that serve as share taxis. The "tap tap" name comes from the sound of passengers tapping on the metal bus body to indicate they want off. These vehicles for hire are often privately owned and extensively decorated. They follow fixed routes, do not leave until filled with passengers, and riders can usually disembark at any point. The decorations are a typically Haitian form of art. In August 2013, the first coach bus prototype was made in Haiti.
CommunicationsIn Haiti, communications include the radio, television, fixed and mobile telephones, and the Internet. Haiti ranked last among North American countries in the World Economic Forum's Network Readiness Index (NRI) an indicator for determining the development level of a country's information and communication technologies. Haiti ranked number 143 out of 148 overall in the 2014 NRI ranking, down from 141 in 2013.
Water supply and sanitationHaiti faces key challenges in the water supply and sanitation sector: Notably, access to public services is very low, their quality is inadequate and public institutions remain very weak despite foreign aid and the government's declared intent to strengthen the sector's institutions. Foreign and Haitian NGOs play an important role in the sector, especially in rural and urban slum areas.
DemographicsIn 2018, Haiti's population was estimated to be about 10,788,000, with half of the population younger than age 20. In 1950, the first formal census gave a total population of 3.1 million. Haiti averages approximately 350 people per square kilometer (~900 per sq mi.), with its population concentrated most heavily in urban areas, coastal plains, and valleys. Most Haitians are descendants of former black Ethnic groups of Africa, African slaves, including Free people of color, Mulattoes who are multiracial, mixed-race. The remainder are of White Haitian, European or Arab Haitians, Arab descent, the descendants of settlers (colonial remnants and contemporary immigration during World War I and World War II). Haitians of East Asian descent or Marabou (ethnicity), East Indian origin number approximately more than 400. At the time of the war, an event that involved the eradication of whites (mostly French) in Haiti, many of the blacks in Haiti were African-born and had no non-African admixture. This was because the average African slave in colonial Haiti had a short life span and France continuously imported thousands of Africans yearly to keep the slave population up, by 1790 there were nearly 600,000 slaves, outnumbering whites about 20 to 1. Millions of Haitian descent live abroad in the Haitian Americans, United States, , Haitian Cuban, Cuba, Canada (primarily Montreal), Bahamas, , French Antilles, the Turks and Caicos, , Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Brazil, Suriname and French Guiana. There are an estimated 881,500 Haitians in the United States, 800,000 in the Dominican Republic, 300,000 in Cuba, 100,000 in Canada, 80,000 in France, and up to 80,000 in the Bahamas. There are also smaller Haitian communities in many other countries, including Chile, Switzerland, Japan and Australia. In 2018, the life expectancy at birth was 63.66 years.
Autosomal DNAThe gene pool of Haiti is about 95.5% Sub-Saharan African, 4.3% Ethnic groups in Europe, European, with the rest showing some traces of East Asian genes; according to a 2010 autosomal genealogical DNA testing.
Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNAA 2012 genetic study on Haitian Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup, Y-chromosomal ancestry has revealed that the population "exhibit a predominantly Y-DNA haplogroups in populations of Sub-Saharan Africa, Sub-Saharan paternal component, with haplogroups Haplogroup A (Y-DNA), A1b-V152, Haplogroup A (Y-DNA), A3-M32, Haplogroup B (Y-DNA), B2-M182, Haplogroup E (Y-DNA), E1a-M33, Haplogroup E (Y-DNA), E1b1a-M2, Haplogroup E (Y-DNA), E2b-M98, and Haplogroup R1b (Y-DNA)#R1b1c (R-V88), R1b2-V88" comprising (77.2%) of the Haitian paternal gene pools. Y-chromosomes indicative of Y-DNA haplogroups in populations of Europe, European ancestry "(i.e., haplogroups Haplogroup G-M201, G2a*-P15, Haplogroup I-M170, I-M258, Haplogroup R1b (Y-DNA)#R1b1a2 (R-M269), R1b1b-M269, and Haplogroup T-M184, T-M184) were detected at commensurate levels at 20.3%, Arab Haitian, Levantine Y-haplogroups were also found.
Duffy antigensAccording to a 2008 study examining the frequency of the Duffy antigen system, Duffy antigen receptor for Chemokines (DARC (gene), DARC) Single-nucleotide polymorphism, Single Nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), (75%) of Haitian women sampled exhibited the CC genotype (absent among women of European ancestry) at levels comparable to US African-Americans (73%), but more than n females (63%).
Racial discriminationUnder colonial rule, Mulatto, Haitian mulattoes were generally privileged above the black majority, though they possessed fewer rights than the white population. Following the country's independence, they became the nation's social elite. Numerous leaders throughout Haiti's history have been mulattoes. During this time, the slaves and the affranchis were given limited opportunities toward education, income, and occupations, but even after gaining independence, the social structure remains a legacy today as the disparity between the upper and lower classes have not been reformed significantly since the colonial days. Comprising 5% of the nation's population, mulattoes have retained their preeminence, evident in the political, economic, social and cultural hierarchy in Haiti. As a result, the elite class today consists of a small group of influential people who are generally light in color and continue to establish themselves in high, prestigious positions.
ReligionThe 2017 CIA Factbook reported that around 54.7% of Haitians professed to being Roman Catholicism in Haiti, Catholics while Protestantism in Haiti, Protestants made up about 28.5% of the population (Baptist 15.4%, Pentecostal 7.9%, Seventh-day Adventist 3%, Methodist 1.5%, other 0.7%). Other sources put the Protestant population higher than this, suggesting that it might have formed one-third of the population in 2001. Like other countries in Latin America, Haiti has witnessed a general Protestant expansion, which is largely Evangelical Protestant, Evangelical and Pentecostal in nature. Haitian Cardinal (Catholicism), Cardinal Chibly Langlois is president of the National Bishops Conference of the Catholic Church. Haitian vodou, Vodou, a religion with West African roots similar to those of and Brazil, is practiced by some Haitians today. It originated during colonial times in which slaves were obliged to disguise their loa (''lwa''), or spirits, as Catholic Church, Catholic saints, an element of a process called syncretism. Due to the religious syncretism between Catholicism and Vodou, it is difficult to estimate the number of Vodouists in Haiti. The religion has historically been persecuted and misrepresented in popular media; nevertheless, in 2003 the Haitian government recognized the faith as an official religion of the nation. Many Catholics and Protestants in Haiti denounce Vodou as ''Theistic Satanism, devil worship'', but do not deny the power of such spirits. Instead, they regard them as adversaries who are “evil” and “Satanism, satanic”, which they are often encouraged to Christian prayer, pray against. Protestants view Catholic veneration of saints as idolatry, idol worship, and some Protestants would often destroy statues and other Catholic paraphernalia. Minority religions in Haiti include Islam in Haiti, Islam, Bahá'í Faith in Haiti, Bahá'í Faith, History of the Jews in Haiti, Judaism, and Buddhism.
LanguagesThe two official languages of Haiti are French language, French and . French is the principal written and administratively authorized language (as well as the main language of the press) and is spoken by 42% of Haitians. It is spoken by all educated Haitians, is the medium of instruction in most schools, and is used in the business sector. It is also used in ceremonial events such as weddings, graduations and church Masses. Haiti is one of two independent nations in the Americas (along with Canada) to designate French as an official language; the other French-speaking areas are all French overseas departments and territories, overseas ''Departments of France, départements'', or ''Overseas collectivity, collectivités,'' of France, such as French Guiana. Haitian Creole is spoken by nearly all of the Haitian population. French, the base language for Haitian Creole, is popular among the Haitian elite and upper classes. French is also popular in the business sector, and to a far lesser degree, English due to American influence. Spanish is spoken by some Haitians who live along the Haitian-Dominican border. English and Spanish may also be spoken by Haitian deportees from the United States and various Latin American countries. Overall, about 90-95% of Haitians only speak Haitian Creole/French fluently, with over half only knowing Creole. Haitian Creole, which has recently undergone a standardization, is spoken by virtually the entire population of Haiti. Haitian Creole is one of the French-based creole languages. Its vocabulary is 90% derived from French, but its grammar resembles that of some West African languages. It also has influences from Taino, Spanish, and Portuguese. Haitian Creole is related to the other French-based creole languages, French creoles, but most closely to the Antillean Creole and Louisiana Creole French, Louisiana Creole variants.
EmigrationThere is a large Haitian diaspora community, predominantly based in the US and Canada, France, and the wealthier Caribbean islands. Emigrants from Haiti have constituted a segment of American and Canadian society since before Haitian Revolution, the independence of Haiti from France in 1804. Many influential early American settlers and black freemen, including Jean Baptiste Point du Sable and W. E. B. Du Bois, were of Haitian origin.Lewis, p. 18. Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, an immigrant from (now the Republic of Haiti), founded the first nonindigenous settlement in what is now Chicago, Illinois, the third largest city in the United States. The state of Illinois and city of Chicago declared du Sable the founder of Chicago on 26 October 1968.
CultureHaiti has a rich and unique cultural identity, consisting of a blend of traditional French and African customs, mixed with sizable contributions from the Spanish and indigenous Taíno cultures.fdan Haiti's culture is greatly reflected in its paintings, music, and literature. Galleries and museums in the United States and have exhibited the works of the better-known artists to have come out of Haiti.
ArtHaitian art is Haitian art, distinctive, particularly through its paintings and sculptures. Brilliant colors, Naïve art, naïve perspectives, and sly humor characterize Haitian art. Frequent subjects in Haitian art include big, delectable foods, lush landscapes, market activities, jungle animals, rituals, dances, and gods. As a result of a deep history and strong African ties, symbols take on great meaning within Haitian society. For example, a rooster often represents Aristide and the red and blue colors of the Haitian flag often represent his Lavalas party. Many artists cluster in 'schools' of painting, such as the Cap-Haïtien school, which features depictions of daily life in the city, the Jacmel School, which reflects the steep mountains and bays of that coastal town, or the Saint-Soleil School, which is characterized by abstracted human forms and is heavily influenced by Vodou symbolism. In the 1920s the ''indigéniste'' movement gained international acclaim, with its expressionist paintings inspired by Haiti's culture and African roots. Notable painters of this movement include Hector Hyppolite, Philomé Oban and Préfète Duffaut.Clammer, Paul, (2016) ''Bradt Travel Guide – Haiti'', p. 36 Some notable artists of more recent times include Edouard Duval-Carrié, Frantz Zéphirin, Leroy Exil, Prosper Pierre Louis and Louisiane Saint Fleurant. Sculpture is also practiced in Haiti; noted artists in this form include George Liautaud and Serge Jolimeau.Clammer, Paul, (2016) ''Bradt Travel Guide – Haiti'', p. 37
Music and danceHaitian music combines a wide range of influences drawn from the many people who have settled here. It reflects French, African and Spanish elements and others who have inhabited the island of , and minor native Taino influences. Styles of music unique to the nation of Haiti include music derived from Vodou ceremonial traditions, Rara parading music, Twoubadou ''ballads'', mini-jazz rock bands, Rasin movement, Haitian hip hop, Hip hop kreyòl, méringue, and compas. Youth attend parties at nightclubs called ''Nightlife, discos'', (pronounced "deece-ko"), and attend ''Bal''. This term is the French word for ball, as in a formal dance. ''Compas (konpa)'' (also known as ''compas direct'' in French language, French, or ''konpa dirèk'' in Haitian Creole language, creole) is a complex, ever-changing music that arose from African rhythms and European ballroom dancing, mixed with Haiti's bourgeois culture. It is a refined music, with méringue as its basic rhythm. Haiti had no recorded music until 1937 when Jazz Guignard was recorded non-commercially.
LiteratureHaiti has always been a literary nation that has produced poetry, novels, and plays of international recognition. The Saint Domingue, French colonial experience established the French language as the venue of culture and prestige, and since then it has dominated the literary circles and the literary production. However, since the 18th century there has been a sustained effort to write in . The recognition of Creole as an official language has led to an expansion of novels, poems, and plays in Creole. In 1975, Franketienne was the first to break with the French tradition in fiction with the publication of ''Dezafi,'' the first novel written entirely in Haitian Creole; the work offers a poetic picture of Haitian life. Other well known Haitian authors include Jean Price-Mars, Jacques Roumain, Marie Vieux-Chauvet, Pierre Clitandre, René Depestre, Edwidge Danticat, Lyonel Trouillot and Dany Laferrière.
CinemaHaiti has a small though growing cinema industry. Well-known directors working primarily in documentary film-making include Raoul Peck and Arnold Antonin. Directors producing fictional films include Patricia Benoit (director), Patricia Benoît, Wilkenson Bruna and Richard Senecal.
CuisineHaiti is famous for its creole cuisine (which related to Cajun cuisine), and its soup joumou.
ArchitectureMonuments include the Sans-Souci Palace and the Citadelle Laferrière, inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1982. Situated in the Northern Massif du Nord, in one of Haiti's National Parks, the structures date from the early 19th century. The buildings were among the first built after Haiti's independence from France. The Citadelle Laferrière, is the largest fortress in the Americas, is located in northern Haiti. It was built between 1805 and 1820 and is today referred to by some Haitians as the eighth wonder of the world. The Institut de Sauvegarde du Patrimoine National, Institute for the Protection of National Heritage has preserved 33 historical monuments and the historic center of Cap-Haïtien. Jacmel, a colonial city that was tentatively accepted as a World Heritage Site, was extensively damaged by the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
MuseumsThe anchor of Christopher Columbus's largest ship, the '' Santa María'' now rests in the Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien (MUPANAH), in , Haiti.
Folklore and mythologyHaiti is known for its folklore traditions. Much of this is rooted in Haitian Vodou tradition. Belief in zombies is also common.Clammer, Paul, (2016) ''Bradt Travel Guide - Haiti'', p. 35 Other folkloric creatures include the Soucouyant, lougarou.
National holidays and festivalsThe most festive time of the year in Haiti is during ''Carnival'' (referred to as ''Kanaval'' in or Mardi Gras) in February. There is music, parade floats, and dancing and singing in the streets. Carnival week is traditionally a time of all-night parties. Rara is a festival celebrated before Easter. The festival has generated a style of Carnival music.
SportsAssociation football, Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Haiti with hundreds of small football clubs competing at the local level. Basketball and baseball are growing in popularity. Stade Sylvio Cator is the multi-purpose stadium in , where it is currently used mostly for association football matches that fits a capacity of 10,000 people. In 1974 FIFA World Cup, 1974, the Haiti national football team were only the second team to make the FIFA World Cup, World Cup (after 's entry in 1938). They lost in the opening qualifying stages against three of the pre-tournament favorites; Italy national football team, Italy, Poland national football team, Poland, and Argentina national football team, Argentina. The national team won the 2007 Caribbean Nations Cup. Haiti has participated in the Haiti at the Olympics, Olympic Games since the year 1900 and won a number of medals. Haitian footballer Joe Gaetjens played for the United States men's national soccer team, United States national team in the 1950 FIFA World Cup, scoring the winning goal in the 1–0 upset of England national football team, England.
Notable natives and residents* Charles Hector, comte d'Estaing, Comte d'Estaing in command of more than 500 volunteers from Saint-Domingue; fought alongside American colonial troops against the British in the Siege of Savannah, one of the most significant foreign contributions to the American Revolutionary War in 1779 * Raquel Pelissier one of Haiti's most remarkable beauty queens; Miss Universe 2017 first runner-up and Reina Hispanoamericana 2016 third runner-up * Frankétienne arguably Haiti's greatest author; candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2009 *Garcelle Beauvais television actress (''NYPD Blue'', ''The Jamie Foxx Show'') * Jean Baptiste Point du Sable might have been born in St Marc, Saint-Domingue; in 1745 established a fur trading post at present-day Chicago, Illinois; considered one of the city's founders * Jean Lafitte pirate who operated around New Orleans and Galveston, Texas, Galveston on the Gulf Coast of the United States; born in Port-au-Prince around 1782 * John James Audubon ornithologist and painter; born in 1785 in Les Cayes, Saint-Domingue; his parents returned to France, where he was educated; emigrated to the United States as a young man and made a career as he painted, catalogued and described the birds of North America * Jørgen Leth Danish poet and filmmaker * Sean Penn – American Oscar Award-winning actor, who currently serves as ''Ambassador-at-large'' for Haiti; the first non-Haitian citizen to hold such a position * Michaëlle Jean 3rd Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, Secretary-General of La Francophonie and 27th Governor General of Canada; born in Port-au-Prince in 1957 and lived in Haiti until 1968 * Wyclef Jean Grammy Award-winning hip-hop recording artist * Modeste Testasformerly enslaved Ethiopian woman, whose statue is in Bordeaux
EducationThe educational system of Haiti is based on the Education in France, French system. Higher education, under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, is provided by universities and other public and private institutions. More than 80% of primary schools are privately managed by nongovernmental organizations, churches, communities, and for-profit operators, with minimal government oversight. According to the 2013 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Report, Haiti has steadily boosted net enrollment rate in primary education from 47% in 1993 to 88% in 2011, achieving equal participation of boys and girls in education. Charity organizations, including Food for the Poor and Haitian Health Foundation, are building schools for children and providing necessary school supplies. According to CIA 2015 World Factbook, Haiti's literacy rate is now 60.7% (est. 2015). The January 2010 earthquake, was a major setback for education reform in Haiti as it diverted limited resources to survival. Many reformers have advocated the creation of a free, public and universal education system for all primary school-age students in Haiti. The Inter-American Development Bank estimates that the government will need at least US$3 billion to create an adequately funded system. Upon successful graduation of secondary school, students may continue into higher education. The higher education schools in Haiti include the University of Haiti. There are also List of medical schools in the Caribbean, medical schools and Legal education, law schools offered at both the University of Haiti and abroad. Presently, Brown University is cooperating with L'Hôpital Saint-Damien in Haiti to coordinate a pediatrics, pediatric health care curriculum.
HealthIn the past, children's vaccination rates have been low , 60% of the children in Haiti under the age of 10 were Vaccine, vaccinated, compared to rates of childhood vaccination in other countries in the 93–95% range. Recently there have been mass vaccination campaigns claiming to vaccinate as many as 91% of a target population against specific diseases (measles and rubella in this case). Most people have no transportation or access to List of hospitals in Haiti, Haitian hospitals. The World Health Organization cites diarrheal diseases, HIV/AIDS, meningitis, and respiratory infections as common causes of death in Haiti. Ninety percent of Haiti's children suffer from waterborne diseases and intestinal parasites. HIV infection is found in 1.71% of Haiti's population (est. 2015). The incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in Haiti is more than ten times as high as in the rest of Latin America. Approximately 30,000 Haitians fall ill with malaria each year. Most people living in Haiti are at high risk for major infectious diseases. Food or Waterborne diseases, water-borne diseases include bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, and hepatitis A and E; common Vector (epidemiology), vector-borne diseases are dengue fever and malaria; water-contact diseases include leptospirosis. Roughly 75% of Haitian households lack running water. Unsafe water, along with inadequate housing and unsanitary living conditions, contributes to the high incidence of infectious diseases. There is a chronic shortage of health care personnel and hospitals lack resources, a situation that became readily apparent after the January 2010 earthquake. The infant mortality rate in Haiti in 2019 was 48.2 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to 5.6 per 1,000 in the United States. After the 2010 earthquake, Partners In Health founded the Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais, the largest Solar power, solar-powered hospital in the world.
See also* Index of Haiti-related articles * Outline of Haiti
Further reading* Arthur, Charles. ''Haiti in Focus: A Guide to the People, Politics, and Culture''. Interlink Publishing Group (2002). . * Dayan, Colin. ''Haiti, History, and the Gods''. University of California Press (1998). * Ferrer, Ada. ''Freedom's Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution.'' New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. * * Girard, Philippe. ''Haiti: The Tumultuous History'' (New York: Palgrave, September 2010). * Hadden, Robert Lee and Steven G. Minson. 2010
External links; Government * *