Haiti is a Caribbean country that shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic to its east. Though it’s still recovering from a 2010 earthquake, many of Haiti’s landmarks dating to the early 19th century remain intact. These include Citadelle la Ferrière, a mountaintop fortress, and the nearby ruins of Sans-Souci Palace, the baroque former royal home of King Henry I.
Haiti, occupying the western third of the island of Hispaniola, consists of two peninsulas, separated by the Gonave Gulf. Haiti is the third-largest country in the Caribbean behind Cuba and the Dominican Republic. It’s a rugged, mountainous land, dominated by three main massifs (mountain ranges) all shown on the map. The highest point is Pic La Stelle in the Massif De La Selle. It stands at 8,793 ft. (2,680 m). Haiti has the second-longest coastline (1,771 km/1,100 mi) in the Caribbean, with Cuba having the longest. La Gonave and La Tortue are its most significant islands. Lake Azuei and Lake of Miragoane are the lakes of note. The only major river is the Artibonite; it rises in the Dominican Republic and flows across the border into Haiti. There are a few dozen smaller rivers and hundreds of (small) streams.
Key cities in Haiti include: Port-au-Prince, Carrefour, Delmas, Petionville, Gonaives, Port-de-Paix, Cite-Haitien, Saint-Marc, and Croix-des-Bouquets.
Historical, Cultural facts & Religion
Haiti has a uniquely tragic history. Natural disasters, poverty, racial discord, and political instability have plagued the small country throughout its history. Before the arrival of Europeans, Arawak (also known as Taino) and Carib Indians inhabited the island of Hispaniola. Although researchers debate the total pre-Columbian population (estimates range from 60,000 to 600,000), the detrimental impact of colonization is well documented. Disease and brutal labor practices nearly annihilated the Indian population within 50 years of Columbus’s arrival.
Spain ceded the western third of the island of Hispaniola to France in 1697. French authorities quelled the island’s buccaneer activity and focused on agricultural growth. Soon, French adventurers began to settle the colony, turning the French portion of the island, renamed Saint- Domingue, into a coffee- and sugar-producing juggernaut. By the 1780s, nearly 40 percent of all the sugar imported by Britain and France and 60 percent of the world’s coffee came from the small colony. For a brief time, Saint-Domingue annually produced more exportable wealth than all of continental North America.
As the indigenous population dwindled, African slave labor became vital to Saint-Domingue’s economic development. Slaves arrived by the tens of thousands as coffee and sugar production boomed. Under French colonial rule, nearly 800,000 slaves arrived from Africa, accounting for a third of the entire Atlantic slave trade. Many died from disease and the harsh conditions of the sugar and coffee plantations. Statistics show that there was a complete turnover in the slave population every 20 years. Despite these losses, by 1789 slaves outnumbered the free population four-to-one⎯452,000 slaves in a population of 520,000.
The culture of Haiti is an eclectic mix of African, Taino and European elements due to the French colonization of Saint Domingue and its large and diverse enslaved African population, as is evidenced in the Haitian language, music, and religion.
Roman Catholicism is the official religion of Haiti, but voodoo may be considered the country’s national religion. The majority of Haitians believe in and practice at least some aspects of voodoo. Most voodooists believe that their religion can coexist with Catholicism.
Brief Country History
Haiti forms part of the island of Hispaniola. Before the Europeans arrived, people called the Arawaks lived there. However, on 6 December 1492, Christopher Columbus landed at Mole Saint-Nicolas on the north-west and called the island Espanola, which was later anglicized as Hispaniola.
Columbus built a fort on the island and he left 39 men to man it. However, when he returned in 1493 he found the Arawaks had killed them. Yet Christopher’s brother Bartholomew continued to explore the island and Spanish settlers came. A hundred years after Columbus discovered Hispaniola European diseases and war had almost exterminated the Arawaks.
Meanwhile, the Spanish claimed ownership of the whole island but they settled mainly in the east. The west was left largely empty and in the 17th century, the French settled there. In 1664 they founded Port-de-Paix. Finally, in 1697 the Spanish and French signed the Treaty of Ryswick. France was given the western third of the island of Hispaniola. They called their colony Saint-Domingue.
In the 18th century, Saint-Domingue (Haiti) became rich. The colony exported sugar, coffee, cotton, indigo, and cocoa. However, the prosperity depended on slavery. A huge number of black slaves were brought to work on plantations. By the end of the 18th century, there were about 30,000 French people, about 27,000 people of mixed race, and nearly half a million black slaves!
In the early 21st century Haiti was still a very poor country (the poorest in the Western Hemisphere) and many of her people were subsistence farmers. Unfortunately, in January 2010 Haiti suffered a terrible earthquake, which left vast numbers of people dead or injured. Many more were left homeless. Already a very poor country Haiti was left with the monumental task of recovering from the earthquake. Nevertheless, today the economy is slowly growing. Today the population of Haiti is 10.6 million.
Language (s) Written & Spoken
The Importance of Foreign Languages in Haiti French and Haitian Creole are the only two languages spoken by most of the population. However, a small segment of the population is conversant with foreign languages, such as Spanish and English.
Haiti Languages French is the accepted language that is used in the media, official documents, and the educational system. French is the customary written language in the country. Despite the fact that French is their official language, approximately one in every ten people in Haiti can converse in fluent French.
Important Types of Commerce in Haiti
Agriculture, Assembly of Imported Parts, Cement, Food Processing, Forestry, Mining, Textiles, Tourism. MAIN EXPORTS: Bauxite, Cocoa, Coffee, Essential Oils, Light Industrial Manufacturing, Mangoes, Sisal, Sugar.
Language Services US and others will provide working with Haiti
Haitian Creole is the official language of Haiti. For any industry to penetrate into Haiti, it’s exceptionally important to use a professional translator when you want to translate Haitian Creole. Many business sectors, including Automobile, Legal, Medical, Agriculture, Tech, Science, Government and so on utilize professional Haitian Creole translation services to flawlessly translate their important documents. A professional Haitian Creole translator with an expert understanding of the use of vocabulary and grammar is best equipped to handle the specific nuances of this unique language.
Looking for a Haiti French and Haitian Creole translation company? Look no further. American Language Services (AML-Global) offers certified translations, native interpreting services, and turn-key localization solutions for any language.