Haiti is the third largest Caribbean country behind the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Has an estimated 9.7 million people inhabiting the country, around 2 million of which live in the capital city of Port Au Prince (around 20% of capita). Gained independence in 1804, first independent nation of Latin America and the Caribbean. In French, the country's nickname is La Perle des Antilles (The Pearl of the Antilles), because of its natural beauty.

  • 80% of Haitians live in poverty with the average per capita income at $480 a year.
  • Only 53% of Haitians can read and write
  • 80% are Roman Catholic, 16% Protestant, 4% other
  • Main languages are French and Haitian Creole
  • Only 10% of Haitian children go on to high school
  • Over 40% of population is under the age of 14
  • 1 in every 5 children will not see the age of 5 years old
  • One hospital bed for every 10,000 Haitians
  • Entire annual budget is $300 million (less than small American cities)
  • Justice system rarely punishes men for beating women
  • One of top five most corrupt countries in the world
  • 300,000 children serve as slaves to be able to make money, also a hub for illegal drug trafficking

Haitian Cuisine

Haitian Cuisine is heavily influenced by other groups such as the French, African, Spanish,  Middle Eastern, and Taino Indian culture. Most recipes resemble that of the surrounding Caribbean islands and countries. The main dishes are known to be very bold and spicy and contain lots of herbs and peppers. Popular foods include rice, beans, cheese, stews, and lots of meats. Rice and beans are commonly eaten together and are accompanied with some sort of meat.

  • The countries most popular appetizer is the Haitian Patty which is made with round beef, salted cod, smoked herring, chicken, and ground turkey.
  • Barbecue originated in Haiti from the Taino Indians
  • Legim is the countries main stew. It contains mashed eggplant, cabbage, chayote, spinach, watercress, and other vegetables

Popular Cultural Events

Haitian Carnivals

Carnivals are very central to the Haitian culture. The largest carnival is the one that precedes Mardi Gras, it is a several week long carnival held in the capital of Port Au Prince. Music, bands and parades are important elements of these carnivals. The official public celebration of Carnival began in 1804. One on one fights between men during the festivities are common, they are called gagann, fights are usually surrounded by semi circle of supporters. Celebrations give people an opportunity to throw away their inhibitions, and commonly use these expressions to support that

  • lage ko'w: 'let go of yourself'
  • mete menn' anlè: 'put your hands in the air'
  • balanse: 'sway'
  • bobinen: 'spin'
  • souke: 'shake'
  • sote: 'jump up'
  • gouye: 'grind your hips'


  • (Above) The National Soccer team of Haiti is ranked 78th in the world
  • National team has made one World Cup 1974

Futbol (Soccer) is the most popular sport in Haiti, followed by basketball. Unlike the surrounding caribbean countries, baseball is not a popular sport in Haiti.

Cockfighting is very popular in Haiti. Considered a sport, the amount of cockfighting has been on a steady decline since the early 2000s. The chickens are fed hot peppers soaked in rum to get them aggressive and mean.


Haiti's government is a multiparty system that elects their president through popular vote. In addition to the president, there is a prime minister that is appointed by the president. The prime minister acts as the head of the government.

  • This style of government was implemented in 1987.

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