Haiti is located in the Caribbean, sharing the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. It is just 750 miles southeast of Miami, less than a two-hour plane ride from there. It was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and endured Spanish and French domination before the many slaves brought from Africa revolted. Haiti became the first black republic when the slaves gained independence on January 1, 1804. The common language spoken in Haiti, Creole, reflects this history. Haitian Creole mixes French with Spanish, African dialects, English, and even some other languages.
The mountainous country is only about the size of Maryland, but is home to almost 10 million people. According to the CIA World Factbook, about 80% of Haitians live below the poverty line. A majority of Haitians, 54% live in abject poverty, causing Haiti to maintain its status as the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Over 40% of Haitians are unemployed, while the rest work mostly as service workers, physical laborers or sustenance farmers. Even the employed struggle to survive. Life expectancy is currently around 63 years, with only about 4% of the general population older than 65.
Haiti is 80% Roman Catholic, 16% Protestant, and (as they say in Haiti) 100% Voodoo. Voodoo is not only a religion in Haiti, it is a mentality. It has been said that it takes nine years of constant discipleship for a Haitian Christian to be freed from the superstitious web of voodoo.
Haiti is still struggling to recover from the catastrophic earthquake of 2010 where over 250,000 lost their lives.
For more information on Haiti, visit the CIA World Factbook at: