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Discovery

The island of Hispaniola (‘Little Spain’ in Spanish),

the western part of which is occupied by Haiti, was discovered by Columbus in 1492. The indigenous population was wiped out before Haiti was fully colonized by Spain and France, and African slaves were brought to the island in their stead. This also explains the country’s language, Creole, which is a mix of simplified French and African dialects. What is now known as Haiti experienced an economic boom in the early 1700s, when as ‘Saint Domingue’ it was France’s richest colony.

Discovery

The island of Hispaniola (‘Little Spain’ in Spanish),

the western part of which is occupied by Haiti, was discovered by Columbus in 1492. The indigenous population was wiped out before Haiti was fully colonized by Spain and France, and African slaves were brought to the island in their stead. This also explains the country’s language, Creole, which is a mix of simplified French and African dialects. What is now known as Haiti experienced an economic boom in the early 1700s, when as ‘Saint Domingue’ it was France’s richest colony.

Independence

In the wake of the French revolution

there were slave revolts and a 12-year struggle for freedom which ultimately resulted in the the independence of the new Republic of Haiti being declared on 1 January 1804. This new nation was ravaged by massive compensation payments to France for former plantation owners, as well as constant fighting between the black, mulatto and white populations. It gradually became the poorest country in the western world today. A further factor was that, until the mid-1990s, the people repeatedly suffered under dictators and corrupt regimes.

Independence

In the wake of the French revolution

there were slave revolts and a 12-year struggle for freedom which ultimately resulted in the the independence of the new Republic of Haiti being declared on 1 January 1804. This new nation was ravaged by massive compensation payments to France for former plantation owners, as well as constant fighting between the black, mulatto and white populations. It gradually became the poorest country in the western world today. A further factor was that, until the mid-1990s, the people repeatedly suffered under dictators and corrupt regimes.

Paradise

Haiti (‘Ayiti’ in Creole)

means ‘mountainous land’. Upon discovering it, Columbus described the island as paradise. More traces of this remain in the East, in the Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, even more than five hundred years after it was discovered and colonized, Haiti has still not recovered from centuries of exploitation. Largely untouched nature is to be found only in a few remote areas – its beauty a sad contrast to the completely arid land of the rest of a country which ceased being able to feed its population a long time ago.

Paradise

Haiti (‘Ayiti’ in Creole)

means ‘mountainous land’. Upon discovering it, Columbus described the island as paradise. More traces of this remain in the East, in the Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, even more than five hundred years after it was discovered and colonized, Haiti has still not recovered from centuries of exploitation. Largely untouched nature is to be found only in a few remote areas – its beauty a sad contrast to the completely arid land of the rest of a country which ceased being able to feed its population a long time ago.

Today

Haiti is characterized by

high unemployment, and a large proportion of adult Haitians are illiterate. Many attempt to keep afloat by offering services, or buying and selling goods, but struggle with the rapid pace of inflation. Crime has rocketed, and corruption is the order of the day. 

Today

Haiti is characterized by

high unemployment, and a large proportion of adult Haitians are illiterate. Many attempt to keep afloat by offering services, or buying and selling goods, but struggle with the rapid pace of inflation. Crime has rocketed, and corruption is the order of the day.