Facts About Haiti

Ile La VacheHaiti Listeni/ˈhti/ (French Haïti [aiti]; Haitian Creole Ayiti [ajiti]), officially the Republic of Haiti (République d'Haïti; Repiblik Ayiti), 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 in Latin America and the Caribbean and the first black-led republic in the world when it gained independence as part of a successful slave revolution in 1804.[6] In 2012, it signalled its intention to seek associate membership status in the African Union.[7] Haiti is the only predominantly Francophone independent nation in the Americas. It is one of only two independent nations in the Americas (along with Canada) that designate French as an official language; the other French-speaking areas are all overseas départements, or collectivités, of France.

Haiti is the most populous full member-state of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)-bloc and also the poorest country in the Americas as per the Human Development Index. It has experienced political violence throughout its history. Most recently, in February 2004, an armed rebellion forced the resignation and exile of previous President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and a provisional government took control with security provided by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Michel Martelly, the current president, was elected in the Haitian general election, 2011. A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti and devastated Port-au-Prince on 12 January 2010. Although the exact number was difficult to determine, the highest reliable death count was estimated at 220,000.[8] Haitian government estimates were higher.[9] The Presidential palace, Parliament and many other important structures were destroyed, along with countless homes and businesses, leaving many homeless. The country has yet to recover from the 2010 earthquake (and subsequent incidents) due, largely, to both the severity of the damage Haiti endured in 2010, as well as to public reliance on a government that was volatile well before the 2010 earthquake.[10] 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.

Île à Vache (French, also expressed Île-à-Vaches, former Spanish name Isla Vaca, both translated as Cow Island) is a small island lying off the south-west peninsula of Haiti near the town of Les Cayes. Administratively it is part of the Sud Department. It is about 8 miles (13 km) long, 2 miles (3.2 km) wide, with an area of 20 square miles (52 km2). The western end of the island is up to 150 metres (490 ft) high and rolling with several smallswamps in the valleys; while the eastern section is swampy, and has a lagoon with one of the largest mangrove forests in Haiti. [1] It is one of the most popular tourist sites in Haiti and it has some of the best island scenery in the Caribbean. The population of the island is somewhere between 10,000-15,000 inhabitants. There are two tourist resorts on the island, the Port Morgan and Abaka Bay.

History

Île à Vache was originally claimed by the Spanish Empire as part of Hispaniola, the first landing site of Christopher Columbus in 1492, and for the next two centuries it was known by its Spanish name, Isla Vaca.

Port Morgan is named for the pirate captain Henry Morgan (c.1635–1688) for whom the little island served as a frequent base of operations.[2] Morgan planned and staged many of his largest raids from Isla Vaca and in 1676 he narrowly survived a costly shipwreck on its shore: Morgan's ship Jamaica Merchant sank with a full complement of cannon which the pirate had been bringing to bolster his presence at Port Royal.[3]

In 1697 the island of Hispaniola was formally divided between Spain and France in the Treaty of Ryswick which ended the Nine Years War. France assumed control of the western half of the island, Haiti, and Isla Vaca took on its current name, Île à Vache.

In 1863, during the American Civil War, the island's owner Bernard Kock offered to resettle freed black slaves from the United States. Despite support from President Abraham Lincoln, funding never materialized, and the first attempt to set up the colony failed in a matter of months.[4][5]

The famous Canadian fishing and racing schooner Bluenose was wrecked on the island in 1946.