Welcome to the Haiti Portal!
Bienvenue sur le Portail Haïti !
Byenveni nan Pòtal la Ayiti !
Haiti (; French: Haïti [a.iti]; Haitian Creole: Ayiti [ajiti]), officially the Republic of Haiti (French: République d'Haïti; Haitian Creole: Repiblik D Ayiti) and formerly called Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, to the east of Cuba and Jamaica and south of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island which it shares with the Dominican Republic. To its south-west lies the small island of Navassa Island, which is claimed by Haiti but is disputed as a United States territory under federal administration. Haiti is 27,750 square kilometers (10,714 sq mi) in size and has an estimated population of 11.1 million, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the second-most populous country in the Caribbean after Cuba.
The island was originally inhabited by the indigenous Taíno people, who migrated from South America. The first Europeans arrived on 5 December 1492 during the first voyage of Christopher Columbus, who initially believed he had found India or China. Columbus subsequently founded the first European settlement in the Americas, La Navidad, on what is now the northeastern coast of Haiti. The island was claimed by Spain and named La Española, forming part of the Spanish Empire until the early 17th century. However, competing claims and settlements by the French led to the western portion of the island being ceded to France in 1697, which was subsequently named Saint-Domingue. French colonists established lucrative sugarcane plantations, worked by vast numbers of slaves brought from Africa, which made the colony one of the richest in the world.
In the midst of the French Revolution (1789–99), slaves and free people of color launched the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804), led by a former slave and the first black general of the French Army, Toussaint Louverture. After 12 years of conflict, Napoleon Bonaparte's forces were defeated by Louverture's successor, Jean-Jacques Dessalines (later Emperor Jacques I), who declared Haiti's sovereignty on 1 January 1804 — the first independent nation of Latin America and the Caribbean, the second republic in the Americas, the first country to abolish slavery, and the only state in history established by a successful slave revolt. Apart from Alexandre Pétion, the first President of the Republic, all of Haiti's first leaders were former slaves. After a brief period in which the country was split in two, President Jean-Pierre Boyer united the country and then attempted to bring the whole of Hispaniola under Haitian control, precipitating a long series of wars that ended in the 1870s when Haiti formally recognised the independence of the Dominican Republic. Haiti's first century of independence was characterised by political instability, ostracism by the international community and the payment of a crippling debt to France. Political volatility and foreign economic influence in the country prompted the United States to occupy the country from 1915–34. Following a series of short-lived presidencies, François 'Papa Doc' Duvalier took power in 1956, ushering in a long period of autocratic rule that was continued by his son Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier that lasted until 1986; the period was characterised by state-sanctioned violence against the opposition and civilians, corruption and economic stagnation. Since 1986 Haiti has been attempting to establish a more democratic political system.
Haiti is a founding member of the United Nations, Organization of American States (OAS), Association of Caribbean States, and the International Francophonie Organisation. In addition to CARICOM, it is a member of the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. Historically poor and politically unstable, Haiti has the lowest Human Development Index in the Americas. Since the turn of the 21st century, the country has endured a coup d'état, which prompted a U.N. intervention, as well as a deadly earthquake that killed over 250,000.
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The United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (UNSTAMIH) (French: Mission des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en Haïti), also known as MINUSTAH, an acronym of the French name, was a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti that was in operation from 2004 to 2017. The mission's military component was led by the Brazilian Army and the force commander is Brazilian. The force is composed of 2,366 military personnel and 2,533 police, supported by international civilian personnel, a local civilian staff and United Nations Volunteers.
Following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the United Nations reported that the headquarters of the mission in Port-au-Prince had collapsed and that the mission's chief, Hédi Annabi of Tunisia, his deputy Luiz Carlos da Costa of Brazil, and the acting police commissioner, RCMP Supt. Doug Coates of Canada, were confirmed dead. On 14 January 2010, UN headquarters dispatched the former head of MINUSTAH and current Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet, as the organisation's Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General and interim head of MINUSTAH.
Mulet clarified on 22 January 2010 that MINUSTAH would concentrate on assisting the Haitian National Police in providing security within the country after the earthquake, while American
military forces will distribute humanitarian aid and provide security for aid distribution. Read more...
Did you know...
- ...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?
- ...that Restavec refers to a social system in Haiti whereby parents unable to care for their children send them to relatives or strangers? And that while some restavecs receive food and housing (and sometimes an education) in exchange for light housework, others have alleged widespread abuses within the system?
- ...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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