Haiti, officially the Republic of Haiti, formerly founded as Hayti.
Haiti is one of the Caribbean countries that occupy the western
three-eighths of Hispaniola Island.
The country is positioned between the Caribbean Sea and
the Atlantic Ocean.
Haiti shares a land border with the Dominican Republic,
which occupies the rest of Hispaniola in the east. To the west and
the south, it is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and to the north by the Atlantic Ocean.
Reason for naming the country
The name Haiti (or Hayti) comes from the indigenous Taíno language which was the native name given to the entire island of Hispaniola to mean, "land of high mountains."
The h is silent in French and the ï in Haïti has a diacritical mark used to show that the second vowel is pronounced separately, as in the word naïve. In English, this rule for the pronunciation is often disregarded, thus the spelling Haiti is used. There are different anglicizations for its pronunciation such as HIGH-ti, high-EE-ti and haa-EE-ti, which are still in use, but HAY-ti is the most widespread and best-established. The name was restored by Haitian revolutionary Jean-Jacques Dessalines as the official name of independent Saint-Domingue, as a tribute to the Amerindian predecessors.
In French, Haiti's nickname is the "Pearl of the Antilles" (La Perle des Antilles) because of both its natural beauty, and the amount of wealth it accumulated for the Kingdom of France; during the 18th century, the colony was the world's leading producer of sugar and coffee.
The current Haitian flag was adopted on February 26, 1986.
Haiti declared independence from France on January 1, 1804. The Haitian flag is an adaptation of the French national flag.
The flag of Haiti consists of two equal-sized horizontal stripes - .
the top one is blue and the bottom one is red.
In the center of the Haitian flag is the country's coat of arms,
placed on a white square.
The coat of arms consists of a Palmette surrounded by the liberty cap
and under the palms a trophy with the inscription:
'L'Union Fait la Force', which means 'in union there is strength'.
The blue represents the union of black Haitians
Red represents mulatto* Haitians.
*a person of mixed white and black ancestry, especially a person with one white and one black parent.
The two official languages of Haiti are French and Haitian Creole.
French is used in official documents, the education system, and in the media. French is the standard written language in Haiti. Despite French being the administrative language in Haiti, only 5 percent of Haitians are fluent in the language. The few people who speak French in Haiti are the elite and well to do Haitians, mainly found in the urban centers.
Haitian Creole is one of the French-based creole languages. Its vocabulary is 90% derived from French, but its grammar resembles that of some West African languages.
There are minority languages that are spoken in Haiti such as; Spanish and English.
Haiti has no official religion, and the constitution allows for religious freedom.
More than half of the population practices Roman Catholicism, the dominant sect of Christianity, and approximately one-fourth is Protestant or independent Christian.
Most Haitian Roman Catholics are also practitioners of Vodou (Voodoo, or Vodun), a religion whose gods (lwa) are derived from West African religions. However, most of the country’s Protestants consider Christianity to be incompatible with Vodou.
In addition to the older Protestant denominations established in the early 19th century (Methodists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians), Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and Mormons came to Haiti during and after the period (1915–34) when the United States occupied the country.
Haitian gourde (G) (HTG)
-04:00 GMT. (Summertime)
Unitary semi-presidential republic.
The climate of Haiti is tropical, hot throughout the year, with a less hot period from November to March when the trade winds from the northeast prevail, and a muggy period from May to October, when the heat becomes unpleasant, though along the coasts it is tempered by the breeze.
Temperatures are a bit higher in inland plains and on the south-facing coasts, while they are slightly lower along the north-facing coasts.
As regards to the rainfall, there is usually a dry season from December to February and a rainy season from April to October, with two rainy peaks at the beginning and the end of the period, and a decrease in July.
From December to March, the north-west cool wind, coming from the United States, can sometimes lower the temperature by a few degrees, bringing the night temperatures a few degrees below 20 °C (68 °F).
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