20 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Haiti

Slave revolts, barbecues and endangered frogs. Here's a few things about the Caribbean country.
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Slave revolts, barbecues and endangered frogs. Here's a few things about the Caribbean country.

haiti

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My name is Moxiie and I’m a first generation Haitian/American. I was born in Brooklyn, New York and around the age of 5 or 6, my siblings and I were sent to Haiti to live. Much has changed since we picked almond fruit and pomegranate from our own land, but Haiti’s rich history remains. Here's 20 things you might not know about it.

The English word barbecue is that it’s a derivation from the Haitian word barbacoa. The Haitians were referring to the framework of sticks used to cook meat over fire, but Spanish explorers who encountered this cooking method also referred to the results – the cooked meat – as barbacoa.

Haiti is the third largest country in the Caribbean, after the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

Haiti’s national sport is soccer.

In 1791, Haitians began what became the only successful slave revolt in the history of the world. Yes, the only one.

Haiti became the first independent black republic, and declared their independence in 1804.

The national flower? Hibiscus flower.

Haiti’s national bird is the Hispaniolan Trogon.

haitibird

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In Savannah, Georgia there is a monument dedicated to the people of Haiti. The life size bronze statue honors the people of Haiti & the hundreds of Haitian soldiers who fought with Americans against the British in the Siege of Savannah.

Diri Kole (rice and beans – cooked together) is Haiti’s national dish. Some may argue that it’s Griot (fried pork) but diri kole is (pretty much) consumed by all Haitians.

French & Kreyòl (Haitian Creole) are the two official languages spoken in Haiti.

Haiti produces Rhum Barbancourt, an award winning brand of rum that is referred to as “the rum of connoisseurs”.

Haiti produces some of the world’s best mangoes, coffee and cacao.

Haiti issued free visas and passports to 70 Jewish families during the Holocaust, about 300 lives saved. It has been speculated that one of the reason they couldn't give more was the debt Haiti was paying to France, which was basically money the French decided Haiti owed them for freeing themselves from slavery. The more you know.

In 1982 The Citadelle Laferrière, the largest fortress in the Americas, was designated as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

citadelle

The La Hotte glanded frog (crticially endangered) and 5 other species of frogs (Macaya Burrowing, Hispaniola Crowned frog, Macaya Breast-spot frog, Mozart and the Ventriloquial frog) have been rediscovered in Haiti. These species haven’t been seen in almost 2 decades. A great sign of hope!

My grandmother, Marie Porcia Joseph Norgaisse founded Ecole Notre Dame du Mont Carmel (“ecole” means “school”). She started out tutoring children. Unfortunately, the school was destroyed in the earthquake.

Haiti’s first democratic election was in 1991.

Haiti’s debt was “forgiven” after the devastating earthquake that hit the country in 2010.

The Taíno Indians or Arawakan people are the original inhabitants of the island.

Originally, the island as a whole had several names: Ayiti (mountainous land), Kiskeya (big land), Bohio (rich in villages).