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Thursday 13th June
Haiti Facts
The Republic of Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic.

Hispaniola belongs to an island chain known as the Greater Antilles. Other islands in the group are Cuba, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.

Christopher Colombus, in the service of Spain, visited Hispaniola in 1494.

In the early seventeenth century British and French settlers increasingly occupied the western third of Hispaniola.

In 1697 the island of Hispaniola was divided between Spain and France. Santo Domingo remained Spanish but the western part of Hispaniola (Haiti) went to France.

The name Haiti is derived from the Arawak language for the word meaning mountainous.

An uprising by slaves in the 1790s led to the end of slavery and French rule in Haiti.

Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines were two of the slave leaders who fought for freedom.

Haiti became a Republic on 1 January 1804.

The Palace of Sans Souci and the Citadel, Haiti's most famous monuments, were inscribed on the World Heritage site in 1982.

Between 1822 and 1844 Haiti annexed Santo Domingo.

US troops occupied the Republic of Haiti between 1915 and 1934.

Francois Duvalier, known as Papa Doc, was the dictator of Haiti from 1956 until 1971.

Following the death of Francois Duvalier, his son Jean-Claude (Baby Doc), took charge of Haiti until he was forced to leave the county in 1986.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide was the country's first democratically elected president (1990).

US and United Nations sanctions were imposed on Haiti in 1991 and 1993 respectively.

UN peacekeeping troops arrived in Haiti in 1995.

Many people lost their lives in flooding caused by Tropical Storm Jeanne (September 2004).

In July 2005 over forty people were killed when Hurricane Dennis hit Haiti.

At least twenty people were reported to have died during Tropical Storm Noel at the end of October 2007.

Tropical storm Hanna was one of a series of storms that hit Haiti in 2008. Hundreds of people lost their lives and crops and infrastructure were devastated.

In November 2008 La Promesse College in the suburb of Petionville collapsed trapping and killing many people, mostly children.

In January 2010 hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti were killed when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck near Port-au-Prince.

Between October and December 2010 over 2,500 people died from cholera.

In November 2012 Hurricane Sandy left over 20,000 people homeless, exacerbating the cholera epidemic.

In October 2016 Hurricane Matthew, the strongest hurricane to hit the region in a decade, killed hundreds in Haiti and destroyed thousands of homes.

The President of Haiti, Jovenel Moise, was assassinated by gunmen in an attack on the President's residence in July 2021.

Haiti suffered an earthquake magnitude 7-2 on 14 August 2021. A state of emergency was declared.

Haiti is one of three Caribbean islands predicted to be badly affected by climate change; the other islands are Jamaica and the Bahamas.

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