Haiti, officially the Republic of Haiti, occupies the smaller western three-eighths of the island that it shares with the Dominican Republic. Originally inhabited by the indigenous Taíno people, the island was first discovered by Christopher Columbus.
38 Interesting facts about Haiti
1. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and it is also the third-largest country in the Caribbean.
2. In 1492, Christopher Columbus landed on the island and named it Hispaniola. A monument of Christopher Columbus stands on the central square of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, which is home to 20% of the country’s population.
3. Columbus’ first sight of Haiti gave him the impression that he found India or Asia.
4. Haiti is the second oldest independent nation in the Western Hemisphere after The United States. It gained its independence from France in 1804.
5. It was ruled by seventy different dictators between 1804 and 1915.
Facts about Haiti’s sports, culture, mountains and more…
6. Soccer is Haiti’s national sport. They first competed in the World Cup in 1974.
7. The majority of Haitians love to gamble. They are even known to beg gods to reveal the winning lottery numbers during voodoo ceremonies.
8. Cock fighting is also very popular in Haiti. The winner of the fight takes home $67, which is almost a month’s salary for someone. Raw meat and hot pepper soaked in rum is fed to the cocks to make them tough and aggressive.
9. Haiti is also one of the most deforested nations of the world. Poor agricultural practices, overgrazing, intensive demand for charcoal and scarcity of land are the leading causes.
10. The largest mountaintop fortress in the Western Hemisphere is also in northern Haiti – the Citadel.
11. Haiti’s highest peak is the Pic la Selle at 8,793 feet (2,680 meters) above sea level.
12. Haiti has the most mountains of any Caribbean nation.
Facts about Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, quality of life, education, disease-prone environment, illegal drug business and more…
13. Unfair labor practices are prevalent in the country, and the majority of people are jobless. Poor road conditions have had disastrous effects on farmers who face serious problems in taking their goods to markets and towns.
14. Literacy is low in Haiti; only 53% of its population can read and write.
15. Haiti is at the bottom among North American countries in the World Economic Forum’s Network Readiness Index (NRI). This rating is an indicator determining the country’s technology and information development. Mobile phones and internet connections are reserved for the wealthy minority and business interests in the capital.
16. Sanitation and water supply are two major challenges for Haitians. Pollution from human and other waste is prevalent in most of the Haitian rivers. Diseases including typhoid and hookworm are common in the region.
17. One in 50 people in Haiti are affected with HIV/AIDS.
18. The sixth-largest death toll in history happened in Haiti in 1963, when Hurricane Flora hit it, causing almost 8000 deaths.
19. Haiti is also known for its illegal drug business with its clients spread all over Central and South America, Europe and the United States. Human trafficking, especially of children, is also prevalent. (Read more interesting facts about South American countries including Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil and Peru)
20. 50% of the nation’s wealth is owned by approximately 1% of Haitians.