Haiti, the Pearl of the Antilles.  So it was once known for its lush farmlands and tropical climes.  During the years of the French occupation, it was one of the world’s largest exporters of coffee and sugar.  Although much of the land’s natural assets have been stripped away by deforestation and soil erosion, with the proper cultivation Haiti could once more be a major contributor to the global market. 

Considering the current state of affairs in Haiti, it’s hard to think of that nation without summoning images of disease and extreme poverty.  Indeed, Haiti is widely known as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, but if one is willing to look beyond what is there, they will find a land and people bursting with potential. 


The country of Haiti...

  • has a population of nearly 10 million people with a median age of 21.1 years old (compared to 36.8 years in the U.S.A.)
  • covers 10,714 square miles on the western side of the island of Hispaniola (roughly the size of Maryland)
  • is the third largest country in the Caribbean after Cuba and the Dominican Republic
  • consists mainly of a rugged mountain terrain
  • along with the rest of Hispaniola, was originally the home of the Taíno Indians before the arrival of Christopher Columbus on December 5, 1492
  • was named Saint-Domingue by the French, who received it as part of the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697, which divided Hispaniola among France and Spain
  • produced immense profits in the sugar, coffee and indigo industries
  • became the wealthiest French colony in the New World due to the labor and knowledge of thousands of imported African slaves
  • declared its independence from France on January 1, 1804, after a long and bloody rebellion
  • is the only nation to be born of a slave revolt
  • is so named to honor one of the indigenous Taíno names for the island
  • has suffered 32 coups in its 206 year history
SMI is located near Port-au-Prince                                                               The Haitian Flag