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Travel to Haiti with Gravel!

Haiti is one of two countries that share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Haiti makes up the western one-third of Hispaniola, while the Dominican Republic makes up the other two-thirds of the island.

-On December 5th, 1492, navigator Christopher Columbus landed ship the Santa Maria at what is now called Mole Saint-Nicolas, Haiti. Although the island was inhabited by the Taí­no Indians, Columbus claimed the land for Spain.

- Colonists from Spain soon set up plantations and gold mines, with the natives as labor. With its gold and its ideal gateway location to the Caribbean, Hispaniola became a haven for buccaneers or pirates.

- French buccaneers settled in the western part of the island of Hispaniola. Under the 1697 Treaty of Ryswick, Spain gave France the western third of Hispaniola, which is today’s Haiti. Spain continued control of the rest of the island, the Dominican Republic.

- The French Captured and enslaved thousands of African from numerous western African countries Mainly (Nigeria, Ghana, Benin/Togo & Ivory Coast). By the late 1700s, Enslaved Africans outnumbered the French in Haiti by ten to one.

- In 1791, ex-slave Toussaint L’Ouverture led nearly half a million Africans now dubbed Haitians in a revolt against Haiti’s French colonialists. Their eventual victory helped establish Haiti as the first black republic.

- On January 1, 1804, Haiti gained its independence from France, and became the second oldest independent nation in the Western Hemisphere, after the U.S.

- Haiti is 27,750 sq. km in size, which is slightly smaller than the state of Maryland and roughly equal to the state of Vermont.

-By land size, Haiti is the third largest country in the Caribbean, after number one Cuba and number two the Dominican Republic.

- Haiti is the most mountainous nation in the Caribbean. Hayti is the Indian name for the country and means “land of the mountains.” Haiti’s mountain peaks reach over 8,000 feet.

- According to the CIA World Factbook, voodoo was recognized as an official religion in Haiti in 2003, and many Haitians practice elements of voodoo in addition to another religion, most often Roman Catholicism. Carnival and New Year’s Day are the biggest holidays for most Haitians.

- The official languages of Haiti include French and Haitian Creole.

- A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck 14 miles west of Haiti in January 2010, destroying most of the capital of Port-au-Prince. The estimated death toll ranges exceeded 300,000 people.

- Tourism is one of the largest industries in Haiti, with nearly a million visitors arriving by cruise ship. Most cruisers call at Labadee, a private resort leased to Royal Caribbean International until 2050. Labadee, located on the northern coast of Haiti, is named after Marquis de La Badie, a Frenchman who first settled the area in the 17th century. The spelling was changed to “Labadee” to make it easier for English-speakers to pronounce

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