Definition of Haiti in US English:


proper noun

  • A country in the Caribbean Sea that occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola; population 10,700,000 (estimated 2015); capital, Port-au-Prince; official languages, Haitian Creole and French.

The area was ceded to France by Spain in 1697, and many slaves were imported from West Africa to work on sugar plantations. In 1791, the slaves rose in rebellion under Toussaint L'Ouverture, and the colony was proclaimed an independent state in 1804, under the name of Haiti. It was administered by the US 1915–34 after a succession of corrupt dictatorships. Then, from 1957 until 1986, the country was under the oppressive dictatorship of the Duvalier family. Haiti's first democratically chosen president was elected in 1990 but was overthrown by the military the following year; democracy was restored by US and UN intervention in 1994. Political upheaval occurred again in 2004, resulting in the ouster of the president. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. In 2010 the area around the capital was devastated by an earthquake