Missionaries to Haiti

Pray for:

  The DAVILUS Family

The Kung'us
Dafnie and Alberto

About Haiti*   

Map of Haiti
  • Background:

    The native Arawak Amerindians - who inhabited the island of Hispaniola when it was discovered by Columbus in 1492 - were virtually annihilated by Spanish settlers within 25 years. In the early 17th century, the French established a presence on Hispaniola, and in 1697, Spain ceded to the French the western third of the island, which later became Haiti. The French colony, based on forestry and sugar-related industries, became one of the wealthiest in the Caribbean, but only through the heavy importation of African slaves and considerable environmental degradation. In the late 18th century, Haiti's nearly half million slaves revolted under Toussaint L'OUVERTURE. After a prolonged struggle, Haiti became the first black republic to declare its independence in 1804. The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history. After an armed rebellion led to the departure of President Jean-Betrand ARISTIDE in February 2004, an interim government took office to organize new elections under the auspices of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Continued violence and technical delays have prompted repeated postponements, and Haiti missed the constitutionally-mandated presidential inauguration date of 7 February 2006.

  • Location:

    Caribbean, western one-third of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of the Dominican Republic.

  • Natural Resources:

    Bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble, hydropower.

  • Natural Hazards:

    Lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding and earthquakes; periodic droughts.

  • Area - comparative:

    Slightly smaller than Maryland

  • Government Type & Capital:

    Elected government — Port-au-Prince

  • Independence:

    1 January 1804 (from France)

  • Population:

    8,308,504
    note: Estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)

  • Ethnic groups:

    black 95%, mulatto and white 5%

  • Religions:

    Roman Catholic 80%, Protestant 16% (Baptist 10%, Pentecostal 4%, Adventist 1%, other 1%), none 1%, other 3%
    note: Roughly half of the population practices Voodoo.

  • Disputes - International:

    Since 2004, about 8,000 peacekeepers from the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) maintain civil order in Haiti; despite efforts to control illegal migration, Haitians fleeing economic privation and civil unrest continue to cross into the Dominican Republic and sail.


* Based on CIA-The World Factbook