Photo Source: Masters View / Howard Erickson
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|Primary Language:||Haitian Creole|
|Christian Adherents:||94.90 %|
|Online Audio NT:||No|
|People Cluster:||Afro-Caribbean, Francophone|
|Affinity Bloc:||Latin-Caribbean Americans|
Haitians are almost descended entirely from African slaves, who were brought to Haiti by European colonizers. Their job was to harvest sugar, coffee, and timber. Then, in the 1790s, former slaves Toussaint L 'Ouverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines rebelled against France. They won their independence from France in 1804, being a symbol of ambition and racial equality (Labrador 2018). However, since its independence, centuries of economic, political, and social difficulties have put Haitians in severe poverty. A century of paying reparations to France (amounting to $22 billion in today's money) prevented Haiti from developing its infrastructure and society. It is now the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80% of Haitians in poverty and 60% unemployed, and the number may continue to rise over the decade.
Within their home country, plains have the most dense population and agricultural production. About 40% of Haitians live in the country, but due to lower prices in food imports, an increasing number are moving to urban areas. Many are even emigrating, sometimes illegally, to other countries like the U.S. and Dominican Republic.
The two main languages are French and Haitian Creole. Haitian Creole is used more in day to day life and French is used in more formal situations. Agriculture dominates Haiti's economy. Their subsistence crops include cassava, plantains, corn, sweet potatoes, and rice. Arabica coffee is the main cash crop, and sugar cane is the second. Outside of farming, casual jobs and self-employment are more common than steady wage jobs. Transportation in rural areas is accomplished mostly by bicycle, public bus (or tap-tap, as they call it), and donkey (MacLeod et al. 2020). Through intensive colonial exploitation and then unplanned developmemt, many of Haiti's natural resources are gone. Cost for food is so high in the country that families are creating pies from mud. They have almost total reliance on food imports (Carroll 2008). They have a tough time, but they still maintain strong and sincere faith in God.
Some Haitians practice voodoo. Others are Christians "by name" who really believe that tradition is the way to salvation. More than half of the population identifies themselves as Roman Catholic, with 1/4 being Protestant. Older Protestant denominations like Methodists, Episocopalians, and Presbyterians were established in the 1800s, while Baptists, Mormons, and Seventh-day Adventists came during and after the period (1915-1934) when the U.S. occupied the country. Western culture has been an influence on the country, causing some Haitians to abandon the faith as well.