Gonaïves (French: [ɡɔnaiv]; Haitian Creole: Gonayiv, pronounced [ɡonajiv]) is a commune in northern Haiti, and the capital of the Artibonite department of Haiti. It has a population of about 300,000 people, but current statistics are unclear, as there has been no census since 2003.

Centennial Palace in Gonaives, 1904
Centennial Palace in Gonaives, 1904
La Cité de l'Indépendance
The City of Independence
Gonaïves is located in Haiti
Location in Artibonite, Haiti
Coordinates: 19°26′44″N 72°41′18″W / 19.44556°N 72.68833°W / 19.44556; -72.68833
Country Haiti
 • MayorNeil Latortue
6 m (20 ft)
 • Commune300,000
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern)


Gonaives before 1892

The city of Gonaïves was founded around 1422 by a group of Taíno, who named it Gonaibo (to designate a locality of cacicat of the Jaragua). The Gulf of Gonâve is named after the town. [citation needed]

In 1802, an important battle of the Haitian Revolution, the Battle of Ravine-à-Couleuvres was fought near Gonaïves.

Gonaïves is also known as Haiti's city of independence, because it was the location of Jean-Jacques Dessalines declaring Haiti independent from France on January 1, 1804, by reading the Act of Independence, drafted by Boisrond Tonnerre, on the Place d'Armes of the town. Marie-Claire Heureuse Félicité, the wife of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, died here in August 1858.

In the early 2000s, Gonaïves was the scene of substantial rioting and violence motivated primarily by opposition to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and on February 5, 2004, a group calling itself the Revolutionary Artibonite Resistance Front seized control of the city, starting the 2004 Haïtian rebellion. But in recent years,[when?] the city has seen a complete return to order.

Even compared with other Haitian port cities, Gonaïves has long been vulnerable to hurricanes due to its location in a flood plain and due to the surrounding unforested mountains.[2] In September 2004, Hurricane Jeanne caused major flooding and mudslides in the city. Four years later, the city was again devastated by another storm, Hurricane Hanna, which killed 529 people, mostly in flooded sections of Gonaïves, where the destruction was described as "catastrophic" and 495 bodies were discovered as late as September 5.[3][4] Haitian authorities said the tally would grow once officials were able to make their way through the city. "The assessment was only partial, because it was impossible to enter the city at that moment". Gonaïves Mayor Stephen Moise said at least 48,000 people from the Gonaïves area were forced into shelters.[5][6]

In 2020, President Jovenel Moïse skipped a traditional visit to Gonaïves during a climate of violence. According to local media, an armed group targeted Prime Minister Ariel Henry's visit on 1 January 2022, resulting in one death and two injuries.[7]





Gonaives has some training centers including the Université Publique de l'Artibonite aux Gonaïves (UPAG); and The Law and Economics School of Gonaives.



Gonaives is home to the recently renovated La Providence Hospital.



Gonaives has some major league teams including Eclair AC and Racing FC (Gonaives).


  • Radio SuperXtraL'unique 94.1 FM
  • Radio Motivation Fm Listen Live - 95.5 MHz FM, Gonaïves, Haiti
  • Radio Boss Haiti 103.9 FM - The Radio of the moment.
  • Radio Redemption 100.9 FM
  • Radio Xplosion 96.5 FM
  • Radio Tele Satellite FM - 100.5 FM
  • Tele Radio new star fm 99.9 Chaine 13[8]
  • Radio Continentale 99.5 FM
  • Radio Sun 91.3 FM
  • Radio Independence 101.5 FM stations affiliées: radio Metropole 100.1,[9] Lavwadlamerik[10]
  • Radio Mega Max 95.9 FM
  • Radio Kiss FM 96.9[11]
  • Radio Provinciale 95.3 FM
  • Radio Pyramide FM
  • Radio Trans-Artibonite
  • Radio Gonaïves 97.7 FM
  • Radio Trans Atlantique 102.5 FM
  • Radio Etincelle
  • Radio Nouvelle Vision Chrétienne
  • Radio Intrepide 97.3 FM[12]
  • Radio Tambou FM
  • Radio Express FM
  • Radio Classic Inter FM
  • Radio 4VEG FM
  • Radio Espace FM
  • Radio KL 2000 FM
  • Radio Super Vision FM
  • Radio Megamax FM
  • Radio Main Dans La Main FM
  • Radio Clarté 103.9 FM
  • Radio Vision 2000 98.1 FM
  • Radio Télé 2004 (101.1FM)
  • Radio Zetwa 89.1 Fm La Gonave

Notable people



  1. ^ Institut Haïtien de Statistique et d'Informatique (IHSI)
  2. ^ Lacey, Marc (10 September 2008). "Meager Living of Haitians Is Wiped Out by Storms". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  3. ^ "Hurricane Ike targets Gulf as Hanna hits Carolinas". Reuters. 2008-09-06. Archived from the original on 2009-09-19.
  4. ^ "Haiti Impact". Hurricane Hanna Info. 2008. Archived from the original on 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2008-09-04.
  5. ^ Charles, Jacqueline (2008). "Horrible scene in Haiti after Hanna". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2008-09-05.[dead link]
  6. ^ "Haiti - Politic : Michel Martelly in Gonaïves this Sunday". HaitiLibre. 2011-05-22. Retrieved 2013-12-19.
  7. ^ Isaac, Harold (3 January 2022). "Haiti PM flees under gunfire as Haiti rings in new year". AP NEWS. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  8. ^ "Radio New Star FM". Archived from the original on February 6, 2006.
  9. ^ "Radio Metropole Haiti". Retrieved 2013-10-25.
  10. ^ "VOA Nouvèl". Voice of America. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
  11. ^ "Radio Kiss FM". Archived from the original on 2011-09-03.
  12. ^ "Radio Intrépide FM". Archived from the original on 2013-11-12.
  • Latortue, Paul R., "Gonaives: the last 50 years" Caribbean Studies, Vol. 34, Núm. 1, enero-junio, 2006, pp. 263–274 University of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico