Haiti in the Greater Antilles

Friday, 9 November 2012 - 01:12 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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The National Palace in 2009 © flickr.com - DrGulas

The National Palace in 2009 © flickr.com – DrGulas

Haiti is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti (land of high mountains) was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island. The country’s highest point is Pic la Selle, at 2,680 metres (8,793 ft). The total area of Haiti is 27,750 square kilometres (10,714 sq mi) and its capital is Port-au-Prince. Haitian Creole and French are the official languages.

Haiti’s regional, historical, and ethno-linguistic position is unique for several reasons. 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. In 2012, Haiti announced its intention to seek associate membership status in the African Union. Haiti is the most populous of the predominantly Francophone independent nations in the Americas; others include Saint Lucia, and the Commonwealth of Dominica. 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 départements, or collectivités, of France.

The island has had a history of destructive earthquakes. A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on 12 January 2010 and devastated Port-au-Prince. The highest reliable death count was estimated at 220,000. Haitian government estimates were higher. The Presidential palace, Parliament and many other important structures were destroyed, along with countless homes and businesses, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless. The country has yet to recover from the 2010 earthquake (and subsequent incidents) due to both the severity of the damage Haiti endured in 2010, as well as a government that was ineffective well before the earthquake. United States aid organizations have donated $2 billion. Combined with other international donations, these funds are intended to contribute to the rebuilding of the country.

Cathedral of Cap-Haitien 2006 © Rémi Kaupp Embassy of France © Tboiron Haiti map © CIA World Factbook Panoramic view of Port-au-Prince from Hotel Montana 2007 © flickr.com - Elena Heredero The National Palace in 2009 © flickr.com - DrGulas
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Panoramic view of Port-au-Prince from Hotel Montana 2007 © flickr.com - Elena Heredero
Haiti has a long and storied history and therefore retains a rich culture. Haitian culture is a mixture of primarily French, African elements, and native Taíno, with influence from the colonial Spanish. The country’s customs essentially are a blend of cultural beliefs that derived from the various ethnic groups that inhabited the island of Hispaniola. In nearly all aspects of modern Haitian society however, the European and African elements dominate. Haiti is world famous for its distinctive art, notably painting and sculpture.

The music of Haiti is influenced mostly by European colonial ties and African migration (through slavery). In the case of European colonization, musical influence has derived primarily from the French, however Haitian music has been influenced to a significant extent by its Spanish-speaking neighbors, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, whose Spanish-infused music has contributed much to the country’s musical genres as well. Styles of music unique to the nation of Haiti include music derived from Voodoo ceremonial traditions, Rara parading music, troubadour ballads, and the wildly popular Compas.

Read more on Wikitravel Haiti, Wikivoyage Haiti and Wikipedia Haiti. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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