From its rich history and diverse culture to its beautiful beaches, Haiti has a lot to offer. The country was once the center of media attention due to the destructive natural disasters that occurred there. Today, Haiti is fast becoming a popular tourist destination and has grown to be quite a unique Caribbean country.
Here Are the 17 Most Remarkable Facts about Haiti Most People Don’t Know
1. Haiti Was Populated by American Slaves
Haiti’s entire popular came from African slaves. In 1804, when they finally got their independence from France, Haiti became the second country to have freed itself from the colonists in the Americas. By the 1600s, the French colonists had occupied much of the colony called Saint Domingue. They cultivated various crops such as cotton, sugarcane, and coffee.
However, during 1791, the enslaved people revolted against these colonists in what is believed to one of the most successful and biggest rebellions. They finally gained back their independence in 1804 and renamed the country to be called Haiti.
2. The Word “Hayti” Means Land of the Mountains
Haiti is word derived from the word “Hayti”, which comes from the native language Taíno, which means “Land of the Mountains”, which it literally is. It is an extremely mountainous country with its highest peak being Pic la Selle. It reaches a height of over 9,000 feet and is located in the southeastern region of Haiti. This country is the most mountainous region in the Caribbean.
3. Haiti Is an Extremely Poor Country
Over the past decades, Haiti has faced quite a lot of problems. From economic, social, and political instability to devastating natural disasters, Haiti has gone through the worst. This country has always had several serious problems, including chronic poverty. In fact, it is the most poverty-stricken country in the entire Caribbean and is believed to be one of the poorest countries of the world. About 60% of the people of Haiti live in extreme poverty. Whereas the government of the country relies on foreign help from Canada and the United States, in terms of healthcare, food, and reconstruction after natural disasters.
4. It Has a Semi-Presidential Republic Government
Haiti has a semi-presidential republic government where the president of the country acts as its leader and the prime minister reports to the president. They are elected to govern the country every five years. And the prime minister is appointed by the president of the country.
5. It Is Located Between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea
Located between the two seas, Haiti inhabits the one-third western area of Hispaniola Island. It is located on the eastern side of the Dominican Republic Island. The closest neighboring countries to Haiti are Jamaica in the west and Cube in its Northwest.
6. The Island of Haiti Lies on a Huge Rocky Geological Slab of Earth
The reason why Haiti gets so many earthquakes and natural disasters is because it is situated right on the edge of a huge rocky geological slab, right under Earth’s surface. Due to its critical location, the country gets massive earthquakes very often whenever the tectonic plates shift. The most recent major earthquake in Haiti occurred in August 2021 that killed more than 2,000 people and destroyed over 150,000 structures.
7. It Is the One of the Most Populated Nations in the World
Haiti has one of the densest populations in the world. The country has over 1 thousand people for every square mile. Most of these people live in the rural areas and work as laborers or farmers. However, the number of people living in urban areas has been increasing recently. The country’s capital, Port-au-Prince is the most densely populated city of Haiti, with over 3 million citizens.
8. Most of the People in Haiti Are Africans
Most of the people in Haiti hail from Africa. There is also a small population of Europeans living in Haiti.
9. The Official Languages of Haiti are French and Creole
Creole and French are the official languages of Haiti. Creole is a mixture of two languages, African and French. It is the only country in the Americas where French is considered as the official language. Most of the population has Creole as its first language. However, it was only recently declared official in 1987. Only 10% of the people in Haiti know French fluently.
10. Voodoo Is Practiced as a Religion in Haiti
Voodoo is practiced as a religion in Haiti and is carried out as a form of West African spiritualism combined with worship of Roman Catholic saints. About 70% of the Haitians are Catholic, whereas the remaining 30% are Protestants, but 100% of them are Voodoo practitioners. The practice was declared as an official religion in 2003 and all the ceremonies that are held today in voodoo are recognized on an official level.
11. Haitians Eat Locally Grown Fruits, Vegetables, and Spicy Meat Dishes
The traditional diet of Haiti includes fruits and vegetables such as mango, cabbage, and guava, which are all locally grown. Spicy meat dishes are also a common delicacy in Haiti. The most popular dishes include djon-djon, which is basically just black rice cooked with mushrooms, Haitian patties filled with meat, and griot, which are marinated and spicy pork cubes.
12. Haiti’s Climate
The climate in Haiti is tropical, which means that the temperatures in the country remain warm for most of the time. Most of the region in Haiti are mountainous, but the coastline is flat and lined with coconut trees. You can also find royal palm trees in Haiti, which can reach heights of up to 60 feet. However, as the population of Haiti grew larger, many of these trees had to be cut down to accommodate the people.
13. Why Natural Disasters Are Inevitable in Haiti
Since most of the forests have been stripped off in Haiti, the country cannot help but face the flood water rushing into urban and rural areas. Lack of forests means that floods are inevitable. As a result, Haiti has to bear devastating loss of both lives and buildings. Haiti is located around warm ocean waters, which means that there are a lot of hurricanes and storms in the region. The most recent devastating hurricane in Haiti was Hurricane Matthew that caused landslides and flooding in 2016. Thousands of people lost their lives in this hurricane.
14. Haiti Has Various Climate Zones
Haiti has many climate zones, including coastal mangroves and dry forests. You can find both cacti and mangrove forests in this country. American flamingos are often sighted near these mangrove forests. You can also find several species of animals living in the two national parks of Haiti, including the Haitian boa, rhinoceros, iguanas, and the Hispaniolan trogon, which is the country’s national bird. Divers have also spotted bottlenose dolphins, Caribbean reef sharks, and West Indian manatees off the coast of Haiti.
15. Christopher Columbus Discovered Haiti in 1492
Although the country already had the native tribe Taino residing in Haiti, it was discovered by Christopher Columbus when he arrived in Haiti. The explorer called it The Spanish Isle and is even buried there today in the Santa Maria cathedral. You can find his monument in Port-au-Prince. His arrival in Haiti is considered a misfortune for the natives as soon after Columbus landed, the country was bombarded by Spanish settlers who killed the native people and brought along African slaves.
16. There Are Surviving Cave Paintings in Haiti
Haiti is full of Surviving cave paintings painted by the native Taino people. These paints are now considered a national symbol and are a popular tourist attraction in the country.
17. The Official Sport of Haiti is Cock Fighting
Although the sport is considered inhumane and cruel by animal rights activists all over the world, cock fighting is the official sport of the country. The cocks are fed hot pepper which is soaked in rum and raw meat to make them aggressive and strong. Whoever wins the cock fighting competition wins about $70, which is more than what a typical Haitian’s monthly earnings are.
Geography Now! Haiti
Welcome to Geography Now! This is the first and only Youtube Channel that actively attempts to cover profiles on every single country of the world. We are going to do them alphabetically so be patient if you are waiting for one that’s down the road. In this video, we will discuss Haiti, a beautiful Caribbean country located in North America.
Haiti is a beautiful country with an unfortunate location. Its geographical position has made it extremely vulnerable to natural disasters. We hope you learned a lot about this country from the facts we mentioned. Our favorite fact definitely has to be the unique cave paintings in the country which have become a national symbol now.
I’m Natalie Garcia and I started this website to share my love of trivia, facts and fun knowledge tidbits. We cover things like celebrity gossip, historical facts, tv shows, world leaders and just odd and random fun things. I started this site to have some fun with my hobby and share some useful information with you, our community. Please feel to send me your suggestions and feedback through the contact form. And if you have suggestions for things to write about, please shoot me a message!