Last updated on June 29th, 2020
Haiti, officially the Republic of Haiti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola, east of Cuba in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea. It has an area of 27,750 square km. 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. Port-au-Prince is its capital and largest city. French and Haitian Creole are its official languages. Its official currency is Haitian gourde (HTG). Its only land border is with the Dominican Republic, which lies to the east of it. The Bahamas, Colombia, Cuba, and Jamaica have maritime borders with it.
38 Important 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.
Flag of Haiti
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. Cockfighting 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: in Haiti; only 60.7% 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 is affected with HIV/AIDS.
Haiti on the map
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.
21. Corruption is another potential threat to the country and its citizens. It is ranked at the 159th spot out of 176 countries listed by Transparency International. Somalia is the most corrupt country in the world and sits at the 176th spot.
22. Anemia is common among small children between the ages of six months and five years. Read the full report here.
23. Smallpox was also detected for the first time in Haiti in 1507. At that time, the country was known as Hispaniola.
24. There is just one public university in Haiti: the University of Haiti in Port-au-Prince, founded in 1944. Wealthy students prefer overseas educational institutions and universities.
25. A cholera outbreak in the country in 2010 caused the death of more than 8,900 people, and affected 733,000 others, lasting until 2015.
26. Haitian children are prone to deaths, as more than 10% of them die before reaching the age of five. Half of its children are unvaccinated.
27. Only 40% of its population has access to basic health care. It is also the most densely populated country in the Western Hemisphere, with 747 people per square mile.
28. The average per capita income in Haiti is very low. It is $480 a year with 80% of nationals living below the poverty line.
29. Haiti had more than 430,000 orphans in the region before the 2010 earthquake. The high number of these orphans is also attributed to violence and AIDS.
Long history with Pirates of the Caribbean, slavery, burial of Columbus and more…
30. The majority of Haitians’ income is spent on food. Access to other life amenities is neither readily available, nor they can financially afford it. Rural areas in Haiti account for 79% of its population.
31. Out of the 14 airports in Haiti, only four have paved runways. Coffee is the main export crop.
32. Haiti is the only other nation in the Americas to have French as its official language. Wondering what is the other nation? It is Canada.
33. Haiti was once a haven for pirates from the Caribbean. Haiti had gold mines and easy escape routes for the pirates, and they (Haitians) also served as local laborers for mining and plantation work by the pirates.
34. Gourde, Haiti’s currency, is named after a plant called ‘gourd.’
35. French and Haitian Creole are the official languages of Haiti.
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