MANILA, Philippines — The Republic of Haiti celebrates its 208th National Day today. Along with the Dominican Republic, it occupies the western part of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago. Port-au-Prince is the country’s capital and largest city.
The population of Haiti is around 9.7 million, 95 percent of which are descendants of black African slaves. The rest are mulatto and white. The official languages of the country are French and Haitian Creole. The dominant religion is Roman Catholicism. Many Haitians practice a form of animism known as voodoo. Despite having common cultural links with its Hispano-Caribbean neighbors, 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 history of Haiti has been influenced by European powers, particularly Spain, France, and the United States. In 1492, Christopher Columbus landed on Haiti. The country was ceded by Spain to France in 1697 and became a slavery-based plantation colony. The French Revolution of 1789 inspired the rebellion of slaves leading to their emancipation in 1791. Haiti gained independence in 1804, making the country the first independent black-led republic in the modern world. The United States intervened in 1915 in the midst of public disorder. Its occupation ended in 1934.
Agriculture, composed mostly of small-scale subsistence farming, is an important activity in Haiti. Two largest exports of Haiti are mangoes and coffee. The country is endowed with rich natural resources such as copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble, bauxite, and some silver.
We congratulate the people and government of Haiti led by Their Excellencies, President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Garry Conille, and its Philippine Consulate headed by Consul George Schulze, on the occasion of its National Day. We wish them all the best and success in all their endeavors. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!