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Useful Notes: Haiti

The Republic of Haiti, in French République d'Haïti, in the local creole Repiblik Ayiti. Occupies half of the island of Hispaniola (now there's a famous name), with the Dominican Republic taking the other.

Prior to the Haitian revolution, Hispaniola was bisected to form the French colony of Saint-Domingue (present day Haiti) and the Spanish Santo Domingo (present day Dominican Republic) by the Treaty of Ryswick. The country was originally colonized by literal Buccaneers (so named because they used to sell beef jerky made on wooden racks called bucannes before realizing that piracy paid better). But as ship raids grew more difficult to pull off, most of these scallywags became plantation owners, mainly growing sugarcane and coffee (via slave labor). The business rapidly became incredibly profitable and the colony dealt with this by importing hundreds of thousands of African slaves to increase production. In 1791, inspired by the egalitarian sentiments of the French Revolution, the leadership of Toussaint Louverture, and the fact that they outnumbered the whites 10-to-1, the slaves (aided by black freemen) revolted and Haiti became independent in 1804, the first state to undergo a successful slave revolution and the only one in the Western Hemisphere. Louverture was captured during the revolution and died in a French jail in 1803.

Since then the country has undergone a succession of coups, repeated occupation by the USA, the rule of the father-and-son despots known as "Papa Doc" and "Baby Doc" Duvalier (the latter rising to power at 19), followed by what can only be called anarchy. Things were finally settling down politically, just in time for a horrific earthquake to hit in January of 2010.

The parents of current Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime left for The United States after their own parents (i.e. Reggie's grandparents, on both sides of the family) started having harsh political disputes among each other.

In fiction: Haiti is mostly known for voodoo (despite being 95% Christian), specifically the Hollywood portrayal of it.

The Haitian flag
The blue and red halves are derived from the Tricolore, symbolizing the black majority and peoples of mixed descent, respectively. At the center is the coat-of-arms, featuring a Phrygian cap, a symbol of liberty, perched atop a palm tree. The tree is surrounded by six flags, symbolizing Haiti, which are in turn surrounded by tools of war, such as guns, cannons, anchors and a drum, symbolizing the Haitians' readiness to defend their homeland.
GuyanaUsefulNotes/The CaribbeanJamaica
Puerto RicoUsefulNotes/Latin AmericaBolivia

alternative title(s): Haiti
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