Images spéciales
Drapeau de Haïti
Carte de Haïti
Toussaint Louverture
Christophe Colomb à Saint-Domingue
Palais présidentiel de Haïti
François Duvalier

General presentation

Map of Santo DomingoHaiti or the Republic of Haiti is a country in the Greater Antilles. It is a former French colony, hence the fact that French Creole and French are spoken in Haiti. Haiti is located on the island of Santo Domingo and shares a long border with the Dominican Republic. It occupies one third of the island. Cuba is located just north of Haiti.

Its total area is 27,750 square kilometers (10,714 sq. mi) and has 11,693,867 inhabitants, making its population density 421 inhabitants/km². Its capital is Port-au-Prince and its other major cities are Carrefour, Delmas, Les Gonaïves, Pétionville and Cap Haïtien.

The currency is the Haitian gourde. The GDP/capita was 1,829.59 USD in 2021.

Flag of Haiti Following the assassination of Jovenel Moïse, there is currently no President in Haiti. Pending elections, the Prime Minister is in charge of the country's politics.

Haiti is known as the "Pearl of the Antilles".


Christopher Columbus lands in Santo DomingoHaiti was once populated by the Arawaks, Caribs and Tainos. They occupied the island before the arrival of Christopher Columbus on December 5, 1492 on an island he named Hispaniola. The Amerindians called it Ayiti, Quisqueya and Bohio. 100,000 Amerindians were still living on Hispaniola at the end of the 15th century.

The Spaniards exploited the island for its gold. The Amerindians refused to work in the mines and were massacred or enslaved. Some of them fled to the mountains. In addition to the massacres, the infectious diseases that arrived with the Europeans decimated them and in a few decades they were completely exterminated.

From then on, the Spaniards brought slaves to work on the island. The French conquered the western part of the island, which was devoid of ore, in the 17th century. Bertrand d'Ogeron was appointed governor in 1665. As in Martinique, crops were planted and cultivated by slaves from Africa. Sugar cane and indigo succeeded tobacco.

In 1697, following the Treaty of Ryswick, the Spanish and the French agreed on the division of the island.

In 1790, Saint-Domingue was the richest French colony in all of America thanks to the immense profits of the sugar and indigo industries generated by the work of slaves. Slaves suffered the worst punishments on the plantations and numbered nearly 400,000 at the end of the 18th century on the eve of independence.

Toussaint LouvertureFollowing the French Revolution, the abolition of slavery is decided in 1793. Toussaint Louverture was appointed Governor General for life of Saint-Domingue by France and drove out the Spanish and English who coveted the colony. Napoleon, under pressure from the Creoles (whites born in the colonies), decided to re-establish slavery and sent an expedition of 30,000 men with the mission of removing Louverture from power. Toussaint Louverture was deported on June 7, 1802. The French troops were decimated by yellow fever and suffered many defeats. The slaves fought alongside the English, who wanted to take revenge for the French aid to the American insurgents.

After a double battle, the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on January 1, 1804. The name of Haiti was given to the country. It was the first country in the world to be born following a slave revolt.

Jean-Jacques Dessalines, hero of the independence, was appointed Governor for life by his troops. He was assassinated on October 17, 1806 by the mulattoes. The country was cut in two parts with a kingdom in the north commanded by Henri Christophe and a republic in the south with the mulatto Alexandre Pétion.

In 1822, President Jean-Pierre Boyer reunited the northern and southern parts and conquered the eastern part of the island, which was then a Spanish colony. In 1824, Haiti was recognized as an independent country by France in exchange for the payment of 150 million gold francs.

François Duvalier nicknamed Papa DocIn February 1844, the Dominican Republic declared itself independent again. Several coups d'état took place in Haiti afterwards, leading to various American interventions until 1957 and the election of François Duvalier, aka "Papa Doc". He came to power and established a real regime of terror with his supporters, the tontons macoutes. Massacres of opponents were numerous, as well as many killings.

Many Haitians fled to the United States and Canada. In 1971, Jean-Claude Duvalier "Baby Doc" succeeded his deceased father and continued his regime of terror. He lived a lavish lifestyle while the island was plagued by poverty and unemployment. He was involved in drug trafficking and organ donation from dead Haitians. In 1986, he had to leave power and moved to France.

Thereafter the political situation remained chaotic. Elections were often contested. Jean-Bertrand Artistide and René Préval succeeded each other twice in power before the election of Michel Martelly on May 14, 2011.

Presidential Palace of Haiti destroyed by the earthquake of January 12, 2010On January 12, 2010, Haiti was hit by an earthquake of magnitude 7.3 on the Ritcher scale. The focus is located at 10 kilometers depth. This is the largest earthquake in the history of the island. It is estimated that there are 300,000 dead, 300,000 injured including many amputees and 1.2 million homeless. Many members of the government died in the natural disaster and the presidential palace was destroyed.

In November 2016, during a presidential election that does not generate excitement (21% turnout), Jovenel Moïse is elected President of Haiti in the first round having collected 55.67% of the votes cast. His election is validated in January 2017 and is inducted as President.

Living conditions deteriorated severely due to inflation and a devalued gourde on the markets. The situation became tense when a report by the Court of Auditors revealed multiple embezzlements by high ranking officials and members of the government when these funds were intended to be invested to help the population. Many political upheavals followed.

During the night of July 6 to 7, 2021, an armed commando attacked the presidential palace. Several shots were fired, Jovenel Moïse was shot in his sleep, his wife was seriously injured. The succession to the post of head of state caused much uproar, Prime Minister Claude Joseph and the new Prime Minister Ariel Henry, appointed the day before the assassination, were fighting for power. After negotiations with the United States, Claude Joseph agreed to resign and Ariel Henry became Prime Minister and head of state pending presidential elections.

To date, there is no official investigation into the death of Jovenel Moïse. Some blame the CIA and FBI, while others blame rival Haitian factions.

On August 14, 2021, the departments of the Grand Sud of Haiti were hit hard by an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale. More than 2,200 people died and nearly 13,000 were injured. Several infrastructures and 130,000 houses collapsed.

Haiti is currently plagued by gang wars, kidnappings and maximum insecurity. Hard hit by inflation, the population is in a situation of absolute poverty.


Haiti remains an island heavily hit by unemployment. The island also suffers from high inflation and a lack of investment.

However, the country remains strongly supported by the Haitian diaspora, particularly Haitian Americans, who through remittances account for a quarter of the Gross Domestic Product and twice the value of exports.

Agriculture continues to account for 2⁄3 of jobs in Haiti, and jobs in industry continue to be concentrated primarily in the capital Port-au Prince. Coffee, cocoa, sisal, cotton, and mangoes are among the products for export.

Today, tourism is a way chosen by the government to develop the island. The island of Labadee has become a growing cruise ship port.

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