The one minute summary on
This is it: one minute to the best info on Haiti. This info alone will put you ahead of 99% of foreigners visiting Haiti, garner the admiration of the locals who will instantly want to be your friends, and the envy of your fellow travelers. Read on. You’ll make friends faster that way, become a traveler instead of simply being a tourist, and also enjoy your travels a lot more.
The native Taino – who inhabited the island of Hispaniola when it was discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1492 – were virtually annihilated by Spanish settlers within 25 years. In the early 17th century, the French established a presence on Hispaniola. In 1697, Spain ceded to the French the western third of the island, which later became Haiti.
The French colony, based on forestry and sugar-related industries, became one of the wealthiest in the Caribbean but only through the heavy importation of African slaves and considerable environmental degradation. In the late 18th century, Haiti’s nearly half million slaves revolted under Toussaint L’OUVERTURE. After a prolonged struggle, Haiti became the first post-colonial black-led nation in the world, declaring its independence in 1804. Currently the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has experienced political instability for most of its history. After an armed rebellion led to the forced resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE in February 2004, an interim government took office to organize new elections under the auspices of the United Nations.
Continued instability and technical delays prompted repeated postponements, but Haiti inaugurated a democratically elected president and parliament in May of 2006. This was followed by contested elections in 2010 that resulted in the election of Haiti’s current President, Michel MARTELLY. A massive magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010 with an epicenter about 25 km (15 mi) west of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Estimates are that over 300,000 people were killed and some 1.5 million left homeless. The earthquake was assessed as the worst in this region over the last 200 years.
That was it. I promised one minute.
For other condensed info check also my other posts on local culture (don’t make the mistakes I made), local food or local drinks. And when you call your friends to tell them you were by far the most knowledgeable at the party, do that with confidence that you’ll not get hit with a 6.99 per minute bill. You’ll also pick the local food from the tray, and order a local drink with confidence.
- Cultural Mistakes To Avoid in Haiti
- Does my current phone work in Haiti ? Tips to cell phone usage in Haiti
- Local food you should try in Haiti and No miss drinks in Haiti
Now, cheers to the most Haiti aware person at the cocktail party.
What are the key history moments for Haiti?
Haiti was inhabited by the native Taino Indians when Christopher Columbus landed on December 6, 1492 at Mole St Nicolas. Columbus named the island Hispaniola. The Taino were a branch of the Arawak Indians,a peaceful tribe that was weakened by frequent violent invasions by the cannibalistic Carib Indians. Later, Spanish settlers brought smallpox and other European diseases to which the Taino had no immunity. In short order, the native Taino were virtually annihilated. There is no discernible trace of Taino blood on Haiti today.
The current inhabitants have exclusively African and/or European roots. In the early 17th century, the French established a presence on Hispaniola and in 1697 Spain ceded the western third of the island to France. Through the development of sugar and coffee plantations, the French colony of Saint-Domingue flourished, becoming one of the wealthiest in the Caribbean.
Enslaved Africans were brought to Haiti to work on these French plantations. Work conditions for slaves on Haiti were the harshest imaginable, as sugar and coffee plantations required intensive labor. The French imported an enormous slave labor force, which ultimately vastly outnumbered the French planters 10 to 1. In August 1791, Saint-Domingue’s nearly 500,000 slaves revolted, burning every plantation to the ground and killing all the whites that they could find. After a bloody 13 year struggle, the former slaves ousted the French and created Haiti, the first black republic, in 1804. Since its revolution, Haiti has had at least 32 coups over the centuries, a series of military dominations that focused on maintaining power and extracting wealth from a large peasant base.
A lack of government and civil unrest led to the American occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1934. While order was brought about and much infrastructure was developed in Haiti by the United States, Haitians resented the occupation of their country. The withdrawal of Americans by President Roosevelt in 1934 left a power vacuum that was filled by Haitian military elite.
The Forbes Commission in 1930 accurately noted that “the social forces that created [instability] still remain–poverty, ignorance, and the lack of a tradition or desire for orderly free government.” The following 20 years saw ruthless struggles for power that ended with the ascension of François (Papa Doc) Duvalier. Duvalier’s brutal dictatorship lasted nearly thirty years, with his son, Jean-Claude (Bébé Doc) Duvalier assuming power after Papa Doc’s death in 1971. Bébé Doc was ousted in 1986, followed by more bloodshed and military rule that culminated in a new Constitution in 1987 and the election of former priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide as president in 1990.
After a coup, Aristide went into exile. Most of his term was usurped by a military takeover, but he returned to office in 1994 after Haitian General Raoul Cedras asked the United States to intervene, negotiating the departure of Haiti’s military leaders and paving the way for the return of Aristide. His former prime minister, René Préval, became president in 1996. Aristide won a second term as president in 2000, and took office early in 2001. However, accusations of corruption were followed by a paramilitary coup that ousted Aristide in 2004. Since then, Haiti has been occupied by U.N. peacekeeping troops (MINUSTAH).
The one minute summary for Haiti geography
Best places to see in Haiti
Due to recent political instability, tourism – once a significant industry – has suffered in Haiti, with the exception of Labadee, a port located on the country’s northern coast. Labadee is a resort leased long term by Royal Caribbean International. Although sometimes described in advertisements as an island in its own right, it is actually contiguous with the rest of Hispaniola. Labadee is fenced off from the surrounding area. The cruise ships arrive and dock at a newly constructed pier. Attractions include a Haitian Flea Market, traditional Haitian dance performances, numerous beaches, watersports, and a waterpark.
Lately the city of Jacmel, due to its reputation as being less politically volatile, its French colonial era architecture, its colorful cultural carnival, pristine beaches and a nascent film festival has been attracting local tourists and a small amount of international tourism. Despite obstacles, Haiti’s rich culture and history has allowed the country to maintain a moderate and potentially rising tourist industry.
For the most part independent travel around Haiti is not really practical or recommended, however there has been a slow revival of tourism since the earthquake. Tour Haiti is one of a few travel companies based in Port-au-Prince and is a useful point of call if you are planning a trip to Haiti. Voyages Lumiere, ? 001-509-3607-1321, . Voyages Lumiere is an exceptional tour company! Offering day trips to the Citadelle, Jacmel and a city/mountain tour around Port-au-Prince and Petion-Ville. All of these tours include extensive historical information. Tours are lead by Jacqui Labrom, an intriguing British lady who is fluent in Creole as well as French. Having lived in Haiti for over 20 years, Jacqui offers a unique prospective and is extremely knowledgeable of all things Haiti.
If you want an amazing experience with a personal touch, Voyages Lumiere is your tour company!