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CULTURE
     
  HAITI

Saturday, July 31

The Republic of Haiti is a Caribbean country. Along with the Dominican Republic, it occupies the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago. “Ayiti” (land of high mountains) was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the mountainous western side of the island. The total area of Haiti is 27,750 square kilometres (10,714 sq mi) and its capital is Port-au-Prince. French and Haitian Creole are the official languages.

Haiti was the first independent nation in Latin America and the first black-led republic in the world when it gained independence as part of a successful slave rebellion in 1804. Despite having common cultural links with its Hispano-Caribbean neighbors, Haiti is the only predominantly Francophone independent nation in the Americas. It is one of only two independent nations in the Americas (along with Canada) that designate French as an official language.

Haiti has a long and storied history and therefore retains a rich culture. Its culture is a mixture of primarily French, African elements, and native Taíno, with some lesser influence from the colonial Spanish. In nearly all aspects of modern Haitian society, the European and African elements dominate. Haiti’s distinctive art, especially its painting and sculpture, are famous around the world.

On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti and devastated the capital city, Port-au-Prince. Reportedly more than 150,000 people were killed, although the exact number was difficult to determine.

To learn how you can help, visit the Haiti Cultural Exchange for a list of earthquake relief organizations.

     
LINKS   VIDEOS
     
 
Haitian Dance Crazes   Haitian Flag Day Parade - Brooklyn
     
 
     
     
     

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