(Republic of Haiti, République d'Haïti, Repiblik Ayiti)
- Location: Caribbean (Greater Antilles)
- Capital: Port-au-Prince
- Language(s): French, Haitian Creole
- Total Area: 27,750 sq km
- Population: 9,800,045
- Currency: Gourde
- Curious Alcohol Fact: You will be amazed with the array of local alcoholic drinks and beverages.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 6.61 liters
- Most Popular Drink(s): Local beers
Situated in the West Indies, the nation of Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. While the Dominican Republic occupies the eastern part of Hispaniola, Haiti is located on the western part of the country. However, it is also important to state out that apart from the main island on Hispaniola, Haiti is also regarded as an archipelago made up of other islands like Grande Caye, Gonâve, Vache and Tortue (Tortuga). The Caribbean Sea flanks the country to the south and west while the Atlantic Ocean and Cuba lies to the north. To the south lies Jamaica while the Bahamas is just to the north. In the early part of the 19th century, Haiti made history as the first independent black republic in the world and even the first independent country in Latin America, and the second nation in the Americas to free itself from colonial rule after the United States. Over time, Haiti was ruled by colonists from Spain and France. Port-au-Prince is the largest settlement in the country and it doubles as the capital. The country enjoys a warm and wet tropical climate.
Not surprisingly, I learnt that an overwhelming proportion of Haitians are Africans being descendants of the slaves shipped in mainly from West Africa. Other ethnic groups include Europeans and those with mixed ancestry. French alongside Kreyol are the official languages in the country. Kreyol is also referred to as Kweyol or Haitian Creole and one can safely say that it is the most popular tongue in the country. In studying the religious distribution, I stumbled upon a most amazing combination. Although most Haitians are Christians, virtually all the citizens mix their religion with voodoo. This is particularly popular amongst the Roman Catholics in the country, and a sort of new faith has resulted from the blend, one in which there are equivalents of Catholic saints in voodoo practice.
Food in Haiti is fun and many of the local delicacies are made from corn, rice and beans. For many of the tourists, the banana peze is the real deal. There are various local and imported alcoholic drinks.
Although there are many challenges facing the Haitian nation, the country is a very lively and vibrant one. For those who love and appreciate recreational events and festivities, you will like Haiti. There is a type of street dance called rara and is an incredible blend of dancing and singing. During the rara, a wooden flute called the vaksin is used.
- The Haitian national anthem is called the Dessalines.
- Voodoo is associated with Haiti more than any other country in the world.
- Attractive jalopies and cabs called taptap are quite common.
- Former slaves named François Dominique Toussaint Louverture and Jean Jacques Dessalines are regarded as national heroes.
- There was a slave revolt in Haiti in the year 1791.
- As a result of the revolt, Haiti would later become the first independent black republic on the planet.
- The name of the island nation is the original name given to it by the indigenous Arawak Indians and it means ‘mountainous land’.
- Up till today, Haiti has remained the only nation in the world that is the product of a slave rebellion.
- Haiti claims sovereignty over an island controlled by the United States, Navassa Island.
Story By World By Shotglass
©2013 World By Shotglass. All Rights Reserved
Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).