Travel Guide: History of Haiti and the Best Places to Visit on the Mountainous Island

Haiti is officially the Republic of Haiti  and formerly known as Haiti, the island of Hispaniola on the islands of Greater Antilica in the Caribbean Islands. It consists of three and eight islands on the island that joins the Dominican Republic. To the southwest is the small island of Navassa Island, which is claimed by Haiti but is contested as a United States territory under state control. Haiti is 27,750 square kilometers (10,714 sq mi) in size, the third largest in the Caribbean in area, and has an estimated population of 11.4 million, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean.

List of islands in Haiti(credit: https://wikipedia)

The island was originally inhabited by the people of Taíno, a South American native. The first Europeans arrived on December 5, 1492 on the first voyage of Christopher Columbus, who first believed he had discovered India or China. Columbus later established the first European settlement in the Americas, La Navidad, on what is now the northeast coast of Haiti. The island was annexed by Spain and renamed La Española, forming part of the Spanish Empire until the early 17th century. However, disputes over French settlements led to the western part of the island being handed over to France in 1697, which was later renamed Saint-Domingue. French colonists established high-yielding sugarcane fields, used by large numbers of slaves imported from Africa, making the colony one of the richest countries in the world.

The Haitian Revolution
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During the French Revolution (1789-99), slaves and free people of color began the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), led by the former slave and first black commander of the French army, Toussaint Louverture. After 12 years of conflict, Napoleon Bonaparte’s forces were defeated by Louverture’s successor, Jean-Jacques Dessalines (later Emperor Jacques I), who proclaimed Haitian monarchy on January 1, 1804 – the first independent American nation in Latin America and the Caribbean, the second American republic. the abolition of slavery, and the only country in history established by a successful slave revolt. With the exception of Alexandre Petion, the first President of the Republic, all of Haiti’s first leaders were former slaves. Shortly after the country was divided into two, President Jean-Pierre Boyer united the country and tried to bring all of Hispaniola under Haiti, leading to many wars that ended in the 1870’s when Haiti officially adopted the Dominican Republic. Haiti’s first-century independence was characterized by political instability, international discrimination, and the payment of a crippled debt to France. Political instability and foreign economic impact caused the US to take over the country from 1915 to 1934. Following a short-lived presidential series, François ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier took over the reins of government in 1956, ushering in a long period of democracy that continued with his son Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier which lasted until 1986; this period was marked by government-sanctioned violence against dissidents and citizens, corruption and economic instability. Since 1986 Haiti has been trying to establish a democratic political system.

Geography

history, geography of Haiti
credit: https://britanicca.com

Haiti is a small country located in the western part of the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles of the Caribbean Sea. With a total area of ​​27,750 square kilometers (10,710 square kilometers), Haiti is the 143th largest country in the world and is about the size of the American state of Maryland. However, despite its small geographical location, Haiti is home to an estimated 11.5 million people, which binds them the most to Cuba in honor of being the most populous country in the Caribbean. Thanks to its large population, Haiti is also among the 40 most populous countries in the world.

Geographically, Haiti is located in the western part of the island of Hispaniola, which shares the Dominican Republic (Reublica Dominicana). Haiti covers about eight of the western parts of the island and some of its outlying islands. However, the administration of Navassa Island is the subject of some controversy between Haiti and the United States.

Northern Region (Region Region)

Haiti mountains in northern region
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As the name suggests, the northern region of Haiti covers most of the northern part of the country. This includes the Nord-Ouest, Nord, Nord-Est, and part of the Artibonite department. The northern region of Haiti is home to the Massif du Nord mountains and the lowest plateau on the Plaine du Nord. It is home to many major cities including Cap-Haitien and Port-de-Paix.

The area was once one of the largest exporters of bananas, sugar, and coffee in Haiti, although it is now under the control of agriculture. However, it has two important areas protected by the federation: the three protected natural resources (Aire protegee de ressource naturelles gerees de Trois Baies) and the Citadelle – Sans-Souci Ramiers National Historic Park (Parc National Historique Citadelle – Sans-Souci Ramiers).

Central Region (Region Centrale)

Haiti-Kenscoff
credit: htps://wikipedia

The central region of Haiti covers most of the country between its two northern and southern peninsula. This includes most of the Artibonite department as well as the Center and Ouest departments. The region is largely controlled by the Central Plateau, although it also boasts Montagnes Noires in the southwest. In addition, the region is home to the plateau of the Artibonite River . Plaine de l’Artibonite is one of the most important agricultural areas in the country as the whole of Haiti is mountainous.

As a result, much of the land in the region is privately owned or used for agriculture. 

Southern Region (Region Sud)

Haiti-Port-au-Prince-mountains
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The southern region of Haiti includes all or most of the states of Grand’Anse, Nippes, Sud, Sud-Est, and Ouest. There is also Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince (Potoprens), which is also the largest city. View of Port au Prince from the top of the mountain

The region is home to Plaine du Cul-de-Sac in the southeast, another of Haiti’s largest agricultural districts. Plaine du Cul-de-Sac has been an important agricultural center for both indigo and sugarcane for many years. In addition, much of the southern region of Haiti is located on the Tiburon Peninsula (Péninsule de Tiburon / Penensil Tibiwon). The peninsula is home to Massif de la Hotte, a remote and diverse mountain. In fact, the list is home to some of the last remaining forests in the country.

There are many parks in southern Haiti, including:

  • Foret des Pins National Park (Parc national naturel Foret des Pins)
  • La Visite National Park (National Park La Visite)
  • Pic Macaya National Park (Pic Macaya National Park)
  • Grande Colline National Park (national park nature de Grande Colline)
  • Great Bois National Park (Parc national naturel de Grand Bois)
  • Deux Mamelles National Park (National Park of Deux Mamelles)
  • La Hotte Biosphere Reserve (South African Restaurant)

Insular Region (Region Insulaire)

Haiti Island Drone
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The last region of Haiti is remote islands. The country names many islands in the north Atlantic and the Caribbean, such as Gonâve Island (Île de la Gonâve / Lagonav), Cayemites (les Cayemites / Kayimit), Tortuga (Île de la Tortue / Latòti), Grosse Caye (Gwòskay), and Navassa Island (L ‘ île de la Navasse / La Navasse), although later renamed the United States.

One of Haiti’s most popular tourist islands is Île-à-Vache (Isla Vaca / Lilavach), located on the south coast of the country. Île-à-Vache is now home to a few popular hotels and beaches, making it the most popular tourist destination in the country.

Geology and Ecology

Because Haiti is located on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean, the geology of the country is inextricably linked with the construction of the island itself and the vast Caribbean Sea. Hispaniola is a mountainous island, especially in comparison with other Caribbean islands, such as Barbados, Anguila (United Kingdom), and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, which have smaller hills. In particular, Haiti is home to four major mountains – Chaîne de la Selle, Chaîne des Matheux, Massif de la Hotte, Massif du Nord, Montagnes Noires – and the plateau Plateau Central.

Haiti Coast and Mountains (credt: https://peakvisor.com)

The brightest type of rock in the world is the creator, the most common of which is the emergence of stone plants. Haiti is not particularly rich in natural mineral resources, although there are small reserves of gold, tin, silver, sulfur, bauxite, gypsum, iron, salt, tungsten, manganese, antimony, nickel and lignite in the world.

In addition, Haiti is known to be in an earthquake-prone region. The fault line actually crosses the Tiburon Peninsula in the south of the country near Port-au-Prince (Pòtoprens). An earthquake in the region was responsible for the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, which is believed to have killed at least 250,000 people. Higher heights in Haiti include Pic la Selle, Pic Macaya, Morne La Visite, La Grande Colline, Channel Bonhomme, Morne Eloi and Morne Tonnerre.

Haiti’s environment is difficult to classify because of the widespread deforestation that has taken place in the country since the European colonial period. Estimates vary depending on the source, but it is believed that Haiti has less than 1% to about 5% of its first remaining forest cover. Deforestation in the region has increased dramatically since the beginning of the 20th century when it is estimated that the country still has about 60% of its original forest. Prior to the European colonial period, Hispaniola was home to more than 6,000 species of plants, most of which existed. In addition, the island once had a number of cloud forests in the mountains. Nowadays, Haiti’s remaining forests are probably the only cloudy forests in La Hotte Biosphere Reserve (Réserve de biosphère de la Hotte) and Pic Macaya National Park (Pac nacional Macaya). This area is home to not only Pic Macaya (the world’s second highest mountain), but also some of the last remaining mangroves, coastal ecosystems, and cloud forests of Haiti.

Best Hiking places

Although it is a densely populated area, there are still many outdoor recreation areas that can be visited in Haiti. Here are some of the best places to visit when visiting the country:

La Visite National Park (National Park La Visite)

Haiti Zip Line Mountain (credit: https://peakvisor.com)

Located south of Port-au-Prince, La Visite National Park (national parcel La Visite) is a protected area of ​​the federation that includes Massif de la Selle. It consists of 8 named mountains, the highest and most prominent of which is Morne La Visite. The park is one of the safest places in the country because of its proximity to the capital. It offers amazing opportunities for hiking, bird watching, and general outdoor recreation, so it’s a great place to explore if you want to see some of Haiti’s natural wonders.

Macaya National Park (Macaya National Park)

Macaya National Park Haiti (credit: https:peakvisor.com)

The home of some of Haiti’s last reserves, Macaya National Park (Macaya National Park) is a small protected area in the southwest of the country. It is widely available at the Pic Macaya Conference, the second highest peak in Haiti. Macaya National Park is home to some of the world’s most beautiful mountains, albeit not many paved trails. It is usually possible to climb to the top of Pic Macaya, or this can be a food challenge.

Citadelle – Sans-Souci Ramiers National Historic Park

Citadelle-Sans Souci Ramiers National Park Haiti (Credit: https://peakvisor.com)

Although not a major mountain destination, the Citadelle – Sans-Souci Ramiers is a historic site located in the northern part of Haiti and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. However, it is home to the top 2 points, Pic Lafferière and Morne Bellevue.

The Citadelle – Sans-Souci Ramiers actually contains two important heritage sites – the Palace of Sans-Souci (Palais Sans Souci) and the Citadelle Laferrière. Both were built under the direction of Henri Christophe, the only king of Haiti. Nowadays, both are part of a UNESCO National Heritage Site that seeks to preserve these important cultural artefacts from the years following Haiti’s independence.

Are you looking for a beautiful place to stay in Haiti? Here are some of the major cities to look for in your trip:

Port-au-Prince (Portop)

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The capital and largest city in Haiti, Port-au-Prince  is home to about 1 million people living in the Gulf of Gonave. Port-au-Prince is a center of trade and culture in the country as it has long been involved in exporting many of Haitian crops to international trade.

In addition, Port-au-Prince is often the first tourist destination in Haiti as the home of the country’s largest airport. There are many cultural and museum sites to explore in the city, including some interesting examples of nineteenth-century architecture on the island.

Gonaives (Gonayiv)

Gonaives (Gonayiv) is a city of about 300,000 people located in the Artibonite branch. It has become known as the capital of freedom because it was the site of numerous important wars during the Haitian Revolution and the site of Jean-Jacques Dessalines’ official declaration of independence in France. Gonïaves is home to many beautiful monuments and cultural sites to consider. And it’s one of the biggest cities in the northern region, so it’s a great start to your country trip.

Cap-Haitien (Kap Ayisyen)

Cap Haiten (credit:peakvisor)

With a population of around 200,000, Cap-Haïtien (Kap Ayisyen) is a central town on the north coast of Haiti. It has long been recognized as a cultural center in Haiti, thanks to its amazing architecture and living local art. Cap-Haïten is a popular tourist destination in the country. It has many beautiful beaches and historic sites. Perhaps the most notable is Citadelle Henry, a UNESCO World Heritage Site originally built by King Henry Christophe who called himself after Haiti declared its independence.

Jacmel

Haiti Jacmel ( credit: peakvisor)

Located in a swampy area in southern Haiti, Jacmel is a village of about 140,000 people serving as a cultural center in the southern part of the country. One of Jacmel’s biggest claims to fame was that it was the first city in the Caribbean to receive electricity. In addition, Jacmel is known for its fine colonial construction, some of which are still well-preserved, despite the devastating earthquake of 2010. The city is a popular tourist destination due to its vibrant art and beautiful natural landscapes, so you should stop if you are in this area.

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