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Haiti

Haiti (French: Haïti; Haitian Creole: Ayiti), officially the Republic of Haiti (République d'Haïti ; Repiblik Ayiti), is a Creole- and French-speaking Caribbean country. Along with the Dominican Republic, it occupies the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago. Ayiti (Land on high) was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island. The country's highest point is Pic la Selle, at 2,680 metres (8,793 ft). The total area of Haiti is 27,750 square kilometres (10,714 sq mi) and its capital is Port-au-Prince.
Haiti's regional, historical, and ethnolinguistic position is unique for several reasons. It was the first independent nation in Latin America, the first post-colonial independent black-led nation in the world, and the only nation whose independence was gained as part of a successful slave rebellion. Haiti is the only predominantly Francophone independent nation in the Americas, and one of only two (along with Canada) which designate French as an official language; the other French-speaking countries are all overseas départements or collectivités of France.

Political struggles

In 1843, a revolt, led by Charles Rivière-Hérard, overthrew Boyer and established a brief parliamentary rule under the Constitution of 1843. Revolts soon broke out and the country descended into near anarchy, with a series of transient presidents until March 1847, when General Faustin Soulouque, a former slave who had fought in the rebellion of 1791, became President. In 1849, taking advantage of his popularity, he proclaimed himself Emperor Faustin I. His iron rule succeeded in uniting Haiti for a time, but it came to an abrupt end in 1858 when he was deposed by General Fabre Geffrard, styled the Duke of Tabara.
Geffrard's military government held office until 1867, and he encouraged a policy of national reconciliation that worked surprisingly well. In 1860, he reached an agreement with the Vatican, reintroducing official Roman Catholic institutions, including schools, to the nation. In 1867 an attempt was made to establish a constitutional government, but successive presidents Sylvain Salnave and Nissage Saget were overthrown in 1869 and 1874 respectively. A more workable constitution was introduced under Michel Domingue in 1874, leading to a long period of democratic peace and development for Haiti. The debt to France was finally repaid in 1879, and Michel Domingue's government peacefully transferred power to Lysius Salomon, one of Haiti's abler leaders. Monetary reform and a cultural renaissance ensued with a flowering of Haitian art.
The last two decades of the 19th century were also marked by the development of a Haitian intellectual culture. Major works of history were published in 1847 and 1865. Haitian intellectuals, led by Louis-Joseph Janvier and Anténor Firmin, engaged in a war of letters against a tide of racism and Social Darwinism that emerged during this period.
The Constitution of 1867 saw peaceful and progressive transitions in government that did much to improve the economy and stability of the Haitian nation and the condition of its people. Constitutional government restored the faith of the Haitian people in legal institutions. The development of industrial sugar and rum industries near Port-au-Prince made Haiti, for a while, a model for economic growth in Latin American countries.

(Source Wikipedia)