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Facts about Haiti for Kids

  • Haiti occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic.
  • Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island.
  • The total area of Haiti is 10,714 sq mi and its capital is Port-au-Prince.
  • Haitian Creole and French are the official languages.
  • It was the first independent nation of Latin America and the Caribbean, the first black-led republic in the world, and the second republic in the Americas when it gained independence in 1804 as part of a successful slave revolution lasting nearly a decade.
  • It is one of only two independent nations in the Americas (along with Canada) to designate French as an official language; the other French-speaking areas are all overseas departements, or collectivites, of France.
  • The country is also a member of the Latin Union.
  • Most recently, in February 2004, a coup d’état originating in the north of the country forced the resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
  • A provisional government took control with security provided by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
  • The country has yet to recover from the 2010 earthquake due to both the severity of the damage Haiti endured in 2010, as well as a government that was ineffective well before the earthquake.
  • Survivors mixed with escaped African slaves (runaways called maroons) and produced a multiracial generation the Spanish called zambos.
  • Many French colonists soon arrived and established plantations in Saint-Domingue due to high profit potential from agricultural development.
  • According to Paul Farmer, the US administration dismantled the constitutional system, reinstituted virtual slavery for building roads, and established the National Guards that ran the country by violence and terror after the Marines left.
  • The strike-slip fault system in the region has two branches in Haiti, the Septentrional-Oriente fault in the north and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault in the south.