Haiti modified from it original name Ayiti, symbolizing their transition from slavery and independence from France in 1804. Haiti is a nation rich in culture, development, resources and natural beauty, but plagued in historic crossroads, and struggling to rise above a dismal economic past. Haiti remains trapped in the context of a fragile paradigm from Taino aboriginal beginnings plagued by Spanish tyranny and disease, to caustic European colonization from French takeover, resulting in a revolution of deviational proportions, and concurrent corruption of political power, that would forever change the rich and flourishing infrastructure of Haiti.
Haiti a Caribbean island revealed by Christopher Columbus in 1492, and named Hispaniola, is located in the West Indies/Antilles. It occupies a third of the Hispaniola Island with the Dominican Republic, visually it is slightly smaller than the state of Maryland (Countries and their Cultures, 2016). It is a densely populated, estimating 747 people per square mile, with a total population of about 10.5 million, and GDP at 2.7% (The World Bank, 2014). Haiti is mainly 95% African, 5% mulatto and white. Haiti’s capital is Port-au-Prince; native tongue is French/Kreyol, which is an adopted language, their currency the Gourde derived from their love of gourds, religious background is Roman Catholic with Voodoo religious affiliations. The climate is very tropical, with environmental issues of deforestation, droughts, floods, hurricanes, and subject to earthquakes (Missions of Hope, 2016).
Haiti currently is categorized as the poorest country in the Americas, with 80% poverty; however, the country was not always in this oppressive circumstance. Haiti went from peaceful aborigines beginnings to a neglected Spanish control, which pretty much extinct the indigenous Taino Indian, to an infestation of fortune seekers and castaways who became pirates and buccaneers that were predominately French. The French waged an “unofficial” war thus seizing a third of Hispaniola from the Spanish, and splitting the island. Haiti being the third seized and becoming a French colony named Saint Domingue, now known as Republique d’Haiti, and Dominican Republic remaining under Spanish control (Countries and their Cultures, 2016).
During the 18th century, Haiti now a colony of France; was rich in sugar and coffee plantations. It’s exportation was of 40% of the world’s sugar cane and 60% coffee consumption, maintaining prosperous profits to France, and increasing their own wealth, they were known as the “jewel of the Antilles” the richest colony in the world. During the 1790’s, the Haitian slaves who were the majority [some who where wealthy landowners], who worked those plantations rose up in rebellion due to their mistreatment and for freedom. They eventually defeated the French with the brilliant assistance of a self appointed general Toussaint L’Ouverture and Jean Jacques Dessalines, making strategic actions, and their diplomatic relationship with the French, thus creating an independent republic in 1804, and officially the first sovereign [supreme ruler] “black” country (Countries and their Cultures, 2016).
During this period of revolt the slaves burned many of the plantations, industries and personal property that contributed to their prosperity. Also, their newly founded freedom faltered with inabilities, knowledge deficits and insecurities as to managing on their own. Followed were decades of political turmoil, misrule, corruption and devastation, transitioning the country from a rich to a poor nation (Countries and their Cultures, 2016). Adding insult to injury in 2010 a catastrophic earthquake of 7.0 magnitude hit Haiti estimating 3 million people affected, and further deepening their situation.
Haiti has only recently emerged from a more than 70 individual dictatorship, and its first
democratic election in 1990, elected a former Roman Catholic priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide as president. Seven months later a military coup exiled Aristide. A United States led military intervention restored him to power in 1994, and he served out the rest of his term, before turning over leadership to Rene Preval elected president in 1995. With several elects in-between, the current presiding president is Michel Martelly since 2011 (Random Facts, 2010). Haiti is in stages of restoration, development and healing, and as today it receives sizable foreign aid. I look forward to sharing more facets and information regarding Haiti’s history, cultural diversity, and development.
Countries and their Cultures. (2016). Haiti. Retrieved from
“Haiti.” Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. 2007. Encyclopedia.com. 30 Jan. 2016
Mission of Hope Haiti. (2016). Facts about Haiti. Retrieved from
Random Facts. (2010). 88 Little Known Facts About…Haiti. Retrieved from
The World Bank. (2014). Haiti. (n.d.). Retrieved 2016, from