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Nation Report History 141 by Kristi Beria


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  • 1. Nation Report: Haiti By Kristi Beria History 141
  • 2. Haiti History
    • In 1492, Columbus discovered the island of Hispaniola and claimed it for the Spanish Crown.
    • In 1697, the Spanish cede the western third of Hispaniola to the French, who then named it Saint Domingue.
    • African slaves were imported to help the planters grow tobacco, indigo, cotton, and cacao.
    • Saint Domingue becomes the richest colony in the world, with its capital city Cap Francois called the Paris of the New World.
    • By the 1780’s Saint Domingue produced approximately 40% of all the sugar and 60% of all the coffee consumed by Europeans.
    • There were many slave rebellions that went on during this time, with the slaves outnumbering the whites that ran the colony.
    • Slaves were treated cruelly and were beaten, starved and even buried alive for minor infractions.
    • Many slaves ran away from their masters and joined together to form communities that would often raid the plantations.
  • 3. Haiti History
    • Saint Domingue had the largest and wealthiest free population of color in all of the Caribbean.
    • Many French slave owners had children with African slaves and these children, “mulattos” were able to inherit property.
    • In January of 1804 General Jean Jacques Dessalines declares himself emperor and proclaims the area as the independent Republic of Haiti.
    • Dessalines is eventually assassinated and the country is split into two rival regimes.
    • Jean Pierre Boyer is able to reunite the Haiti.
    • Many of the former slaves refused to work on the plantations and by 1840 Haiti was no longer exporting sugar.
    • After many different rulers, the Constitution of 1867 spelled out progressive transitions in their government.
    • The economic and stability of the Nation was restored.
    • The sugar and rum industries located near Port-au-Princes were even, for awhile, a model for economic growth for Latin America countries.
  • 4. Haiti Geography
    • Haiti is located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean on the western third of the island of Hispaniola.
    • The total area is 10,714 square miles which is slightly smaller than the state of Maryland.
    • There is 1,100 miles of coastline on Haiti.
    • It is very mountainous with fertile valleys interspersed throughout forming a rough terrain.
    • There are numerous islands that make up the total territory of Haiti including Tortuga and Les Cayemites.
    • There are many lakes and rivers that are located in Haiti including two salt water lakes.
    • There are several natural resources that are available including copper, gold, marble, and calcium carbonate.
    • Haiti lies in the middle of a hurricane belt and had severe storms from June to October with occasional flooding and droughts.
    • Much of the territories forest are being cleared to make room for crops and to be used for fuel.
  • 5. Haiti Geography
    • The climate of Haiti is generally a hot a humid tropical region.
    • Despite relative small size of Haiti it is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.
    • As of 2009, the population was over 10 million people.
  • 6. Haiti Culture
    • The culture of Haiti has ties to both its French and African roots.
    • The music of Haiti is influenced by French, Spanish and American music with the drum being the most important instrument.
    • Much of the music is taken from Vodou ceremonies and traditions.
    • Carnival is celebrated, as well as “rara” which takes place in more rural areas.
    • 90% of the people in Haiti are Catholic and 10% are Protestant, with many people still practicing voodoo.
    • Voodoo is a religion that was brought over from Africa and believes in supernatural spirits that have a great influence over the daily lives of people.
    • Voodoo was able to unite the slaves during the slave rebellions during Haiti’s early years.
    • Many Haitians don’t see being Christian and a practitioner of voodoo as a contradiction.
  • 7. Haiti Culture
    • Most households in Haiti are comprised of several generations of families.
    • Several large families will often form communities that work together to complete tasks such as building a house or farming.
    • Polygamy is not legal in Haiti, but men will often set up several households with different women.
    • There are very specific gender roles with men earning the money and women taking care of the household and children.
  • 8. Haiti People
    • For most of Haiti’s history, French was the official language, but 1987 Kreyol was made the official language.
    • Haiti is now one of the poorest countries in the world, with the rural farmers making less than $500 a day.
    • There is a large economic gap between the poor and the small group of wealthy elite with the middle class of Haiti continuing to expand.
    • The original population of Haiti were the Taino, an Arawakan people.
    • The arrival of Europeans brought disease to the indigenous people which brought them to near extinction.
    • A few were able to survive and build communities away from the Europeans, but the Taino eventually became an extinct population.
    • In the year 2000, 95% of Haitians were of Africa descent as a result of the importation of African slaves during the colonization.
  • 9. Haiti People
    • In January of 2010 the people of Haiti suffered devastation from a magnitude 7.0 earthquake.
    • Approximately 316,00 people died and most of the infrastructure of Haiti was destroyed.
    • Over a million people were left homeless and had to set up makeshift communities among the rubble.
    • One year later, less than 5% of the debris has been cleaned up and people are still living in shantytowns.
    • Workers are still finding pulling out bodies from the rubble.
    • A cholera epidemic has killed 3,600 people.
    • Funds that had been pledged to help with clean up efforts have been slow to reach the needy.
    • Haiti is undergoing a political crises as three different people are fighting to control the government.
    • Despite this, the people of Haiti remain hopeful that aid will reach them soon.
  • 10. Sources
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