Port-au-Prince
Overview
 
Port-au-Prince is the capital and largest city of the Caribbean nation of Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

. The city's population was 704,776 as of the 2003 census, and was officially estimated to have reached 897,859 in 2009.

The city of Port-au-Prince is on the Gulf of Gonâve
Gulf of Gonâve
The Gulf of Gonâve is a large gulf along the western coast of Haiti. Haiti's capital city, Port-au-Prince, is located on the coast of the gulf. Other cities on the gulf coast include Gonaïves, Saint-Marc, Miragoâne, and Jérémie. Several islands are located in the gulf, the largest being Gonâve...

: the bay on which the city lies, which acts as a natural harbor, has sustained economic activity since the civilizations of the Arawaks. It was first incorporated under the colonial rule of the French, in 1749, and has been Haiti's largest metropolis since then.
Encyclopedia
Port-au-Prince is the capital and largest city of the Caribbean nation of Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

. The city's population was 704,776 as of the 2003 census, and was officially estimated to have reached 897,859 in 2009.

The city of Port-au-Prince is on the Gulf of Gonâve
Gulf of Gonâve
The Gulf of Gonâve is a large gulf along the western coast of Haiti. Haiti's capital city, Port-au-Prince, is located on the coast of the gulf. Other cities on the gulf coast include Gonaïves, Saint-Marc, Miragoâne, and Jérémie. Several islands are located in the gulf, the largest being Gonâve...

: the bay on which the city lies, which acts as a natural harbor, has sustained economic activity since the civilizations of the Arawaks. It was first incorporated under the colonial rule of the French, in 1749, and has been Haiti's largest metropolis since then. The city's layout is similar to that of an amphitheatre
Amphitheatre
An amphitheatre is an open-air venue used for entertainment and performances.There are two similar, but distinct, types of structure for which the word "amphitheatre" is used: Ancient Roman amphitheatres were large central performance spaces surrounded by ascending seating, and were commonly used...

; commercial districts are near the water, while residential neighborhoods are located on the hills above. Its population is difficult to ascertain due to the rapid growth of slums in the hillsides above the city; however, recent estimates place the metropolitan area's population at around 3.7 million, nearly half of the country's national population.

Port-au-Prince was catastrophically affected by an earthquake on January 12, 2010
2010 Haiti earthquake
The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake, with an epicentre near the town of Léogâne, approximately west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. The earthquake occurred at 16:53 local time on Tuesday, 12 January 2010.By 24 January, at least 52 aftershocks...

, with large numbers of structures damaged or destroyed. Haiti's government has estimated the death toll at 230,000 and says more bodies remain uncounted.

History

Prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

, the island of Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

 was inhabited by people known as the Taíno
Taíno people
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is thought that the seafaring Taínos are relatives of the Arawak people of South America...

, who arrived in approximately 2600 BC in large dugout canoe
Canoe
A canoe or Canadian canoe is a small narrow boat, typically human-powered, though it may also be powered by sails or small electric or gas motors. Canoes are usually pointed at both bow and stern and are normally open on top, but can be decked over A canoe (North American English) or Canadian...

s. They are believed to come primarily from what is now eastern Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

. By the time Columbus arrived in 1492 AD, the region was under the control of Bohechio, Taíno cacique
Cacique
Cacique is a title derived from the Taíno word for the pre-Columbian chiefs or leaders of tribes in the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles...

 of Xaragua. He, like his predecessors, feared settling too close to the coast—such settlements would have proven to be tempting targets for the Caribes, who lived on neighboring islands. Instead, the region served as a hunting ground. The population of the region was approximately 400,000 at the time, but the Taínos were gone within 30 years of the arrival of the Spaniards.

With the arrival of the Spaniards, the Amerindians were forced to accept a protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

, and Bohechio, childless at death, was succeeded by his sister, Anacaona
Anacaona
Anacaona , also called the Golden Flower, was a Taíno cacica , sister of Bohechío, chief of Jaragua, and wife of Caonabo, chief of the nearby territory of Maguana, two of the five highest caciques who ruled the island of Hispaniola when the Spaniards settled there in 1492...

, wife of the cacique Caonabo. Anacaona tried to maintain cordial relations with the Spaniards, but this proved to be difficult, as the latter came to insist upon larger and larger tributes. Eventually, the Spanish colonial administration decided to rule directly, and in 1503, Nicolas Ovando, then governor, set about to put an end to the régime headed by Anacaona. He invited her and other tribal leaders to a feast, and when the Amerindians had drunk a good deal of wine -- the Spaniards did not drink on that occasion—he ordered most of the guests killed. Anacaona was spared, though only to be hanged publicly some time later. Through violence and murders, the Spanish settlers decimated the native population.

Direct Spanish rule over the area having been established, Ovando founded a settlement not far from the coast (west of Etang Saumâtre
Etang Saumâtre
Étang Saumâtre is the largest lake in Haiti and the second largest lake in Hispaniola, after Lake Enriquillo. It is also known as Lac Azuéi ; it is called Lago del Fondo in the Dominican Republic...

), ironically named Santa Maria de la Paz Verdadera, which would be abandoned several years later. Not long thereafter, Ovando founded Santa Maria del Puerto. The latter was first burned by French explorers in 1535, then again in 1592 by the English. These assaults proved to be too much for the Spanish colonial administration, and in 1606, it decided to abandon the region.

For more than 50 years, the area that is today Port-au-Prince saw its population drop off drastically. Finally, some buccaneer
Buccaneer
The buccaneers were privateers who attacked Spanish shipping in the Caribbean Sea during the late 17th century.The term buccaneer is now used generally as a synonym for pirate...

s began to use it as a base, and Dutch merchants began to frequent it in search of leather, as game was abundant there. Around 1650, French pirates
Piracy
Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. The term can include acts committed on land, in the air, or in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not normally include crimes committed against persons traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator...

, or flibustiers, running out of room on the Île de la Tortue began to arrive on the coast, and established a colony at Trou-Borded. As the colony grew, they set up a hospital not far from the coast, on the Turgeau heights. This led to the region being known as Hôpital.

Although there had been no real Spanish presence in Hôpital for well over 50 years, Spain retained its formal claim to the territory, and the growing presence of the French flibustiers on ostensibly Spanish lands provoked the Spanish crown to dispatch Castilian soldiers to Hôpital to retake it. The mission proved to be a disaster for the Spanish, as they were outnumbered and outgunned, and in 1697, the Spanish government signed the Treaty of Ryswick, renouncing any claims to Hôpital. Around this time, the French also established bases at Ester (part of Petite-Rivière) and Gonaïves
Gonaïves
Gonaïves is a city in northern Haiti, the capital of the Artibonite Department. It has a population of about 104,825 people . The city's name derives from the original Amerindian name of Gonaibo. It is also known as Haïti's "independence city"...

.

Ester was a rich village, inhabited by merchants, and equipped with straight streets; it was here that the governor lived. On the other hand, the surrounding region, Petite-Rivière, was quite poor. Following a great fire in 1711, Ester was abandoned. Yet the French presence in the region continued to grow, and not long thereafter, a new city was founded to the south: Léogane
Léogane
Léogâne is a seaside town in Ouest Department, Haïti. It is located in the eponymous arrondissement, the Léogâne Arrondissement. The port town is located about West of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. The town was at the epicenter of the 12 January 2010 earthquake, and was catastrophically...

.

While the first French presence in Hôpital, the region that was later to contain Port-au-Prince, was that of the flibustiers, as the region became a real French colony, the colonial administration began to worry about the continual presence of these pirates. While useful in repelling Englishmen intent on encroaching upon French territory, they were relatively independent, unresponsive to orders from the colonial administration, and a potential threat to it. Therefore, in the winter of 1707, Choiseul-Beaupré, the governor of the region, sought to get rid of what he saw as a threat. He insisted upon control of the hospital, but the flibustiers refused, considering this humiliating. They proceeded to close the hospital, rather than cede control of it to the governor, and many of them became habitans (farmers) -- the first long-term European inhabitants in the region.

Though the elimination of the flibustiers as a group from Hôpital reinforced the authority of the colonial administration, it also made the region a more attractive target for the English. In order to protect the area, in 1706 a captain named de Saint-André sailed into the bay just below the hospital, in a ship named Le Prince. It is said that M. de Saint-André named the area Port-au-Prince (meaning "Port of the Le Prince"), although the port and the surrounding region continued to be known as Hôpital (however, the islets in the bay had already been known as les îlets du Prince as early as 1680.)

The English did not trouble the area, and various nobles sought land grants from the French crown in Hôpital; the first noble to control Hôpital was Sieur Joseph Randot. Upon his death in 1737, Sieur Pierre Morel gained control over part of the region, with Gatien Bretton des Chapelles acquiring another portion of it.

By this time, the colonial administration was convinced that a capital needed to be chosen, in order better to control the French portion of Santo-Domingo (Hispaniola). For a time, Petit-Goâve and Léogâne
Léogane
Léogâne is a seaside town in Ouest Department, Haïti. It is located in the eponymous arrondissement, the Léogâne Arrondissement. The port town is located about West of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. The town was at the epicenter of the 12 January 2010 earthquake, and was catastrophically...

 vied for this honor, but both were eventually ruled out, for various reasons. First of all, neither was centrally located. Petit-Goâve's climate was too malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

l, and Léogane's topography made it difficult to defend. Thus, in 1749 a new city was built: Port-au-Prince.

Colonial history

In 1770, Port-au-Prince replaced Cap-Français (the modern Cap-Haïtien) as capital of the colony of Saint-Domingue
Saint-Domingue
The labour for these plantations was provided by an estimated 790,000 African slaves . Between 1764 and 1771, the average annual importation of slaves varied between 10,000-15,000; by 1786 it was about 28,000, and from 1787 onward, the colony received more than 40,000 slaves a year...

, and in 1804, it became the capital of newly independent Haïti. Before Haïtian independence, it was captured by British
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 troops on June 4, 1794.

French colonial commissioner Étienne Polverel
Étienne Polverel
Étienne Polverel was one of two French Revolutionary Civil Commissioners who ended slavery in Saint-Domingue in 1793 during the Haïtian Revolution.-Life:...

 proclaimed the city Port-Républicain on 23 September 1793 "in order that the inhabitants be kept continually in mind of the obligations which the French revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 imposed on them". It was later renamed Port-au-Prince by Jacques I
Jean-Jacques Dessalines
Jean-Jacques Dessalines was a leader of the Haitian Revolution and the first ruler of an independent Haiti under the 1801 constitution. Initially regarded as Governor-General, Dessalines later named himself Emperor Jacques I of Haiti...

, emperor of Haïti. When Haiti was divided between a kingdom in the north and a republic in the south, Port-au-Prince was the capital of the republic, under the leadership of Alexandre Pétion
Alexandre Pétion
Alexandre Sabès Pétion was President of the Republic of Haiti from 1806 until his death. He is considered as one of Haiti's founding fathers, together with Toussaint Louverture, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, and his rival Henri Christophe.-Early life:Pétion was born in Port-au-Prince to a Haitian...

. Henri Christophe
Henri Christophe
Henri Christophe was a key leader in the Haitian Revolution, winning independence from France in 1804. On 17 February 1807, after the creation of a separate nation in the north, Christophe was elected President of the State of Haiti...

 renamed the city Port-aux-Crimes after the assassination of Jacques I at Pont Larnage (now known as Pont-Rouge, and located north of the city.)

2010 earthquake

On 12 January 2010, a 7.0 earthquake struck
Moment magnitude scale
The moment magnitude scale is used by seismologists to measure the size of earthquakes in terms of the energy released. The magnitude is based on the seismic moment of the earthquake, which is equal to the rigidity of the Earth multiplied by the average amount of slip on the fault and the size of...

 Port-au-Prince, devastating the city. Most of the central historic area of the city was destroyed, including Haiti's prized Cathédrale de Port-au-Prince, the capital building, Legislative Palace
National Assembly of Haïti
The Parliament of Haiti is the legislature of the Republic of Haiti. It sits at the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. The Parliament is bicameral, the upper house being the Senate of Haiti and the lower house being the Chamber of Deputies of Haiti....

 (the parliament building), Palace of Justice
Supreme Court of Haiti
The Supreme Court of Haiti is the highest court in the Haitian legal system. The Supreme Court building is located in Port-au-Prince.-Composition:...

 (Supreme Court building), several ministerial buildings, and at least one hospital. The second floor of the Presidential Palace was thrown into the first floor, and the domes skewed at a severe tilt. The seaport
Port international de Port-au-Prince
The is the seaport in the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince. It suffered catastrophic damage in the 2010 Haiti earthquake.Some of docks and warehouses are operated by the government's Autorité Portuaire Nationale , and some are run by private companies.- History :On 13 June 1872, a German fleet...

 and airport were both damaged, limiting aid shipments. The seaport was severely damaged by the quake and was unable to accept aid shipments for the first week. The airport's control tower was damaged and the US military had to set up a new control center with generators to get the airport prepared for aid flights. Aid has been delivered to Port-au-Prince by numerous nations and voluntary groups as part of a global relief effort. On Wednesday, January 20, 2010, an aftershock rated at a magnitude of 5.9 caused additional damage.

Geography

The metropolitan area is subdivided into various districts (communes
Arrondissements and communes of Haiti
Arrondissements and communes of Haiti may refer to:* Arrondissements of Haiti* List of communes of Haiti...

). There is a ring of districts that radiates out from the commune of Port-au-Prince. Pétionville
Pétionville
Pétion-Ville is a commune and a suburb of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in the hills east and separate of the city itself on the northern hills of the Massif de la Selle. It was named after Alexandre Sabès Pétion , the Haitian general and president later recognized as one of the country's four founding...

 is an affluent suburban commune located southeast of the city. Delmas
Delmas, Ouest
Delmas is a commune in Port-au-Prince Arrondissement, Ouest Department of Haiti. Delmas itself is an urban continuation of the capital city. Delmas is also the location of much of the area's commercial and industrial enterprise....

 is located directly south of the airport and north of the central city, and the rather poor commune of Carrefour
Carrefour, Haiti
Carrefour is a largely residential and a commune in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. The commune had a population of 373,916 at the 2003 Census, and was officially estimated to have grown to 465,019 inhabitants in 2009. It is mostly a bedroom community for those who work in central...

 is located southwest of the city. Port-au-Prince commune harbors many low-income slums plagued with poverty and violence in which the most notorious, Cité Soleil
Cité Soleil
Cité Soleil is an extremely impoverished and densely populated commune located in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area in Haiti. Cité Soleil originally developed as a shanty town and grew to an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 residents, the majority of whom live in extreme poverty...

 is situated. However, Cité Soleil has been recently split off from Port-au-Prince proper to form a separate commune. The Champ de Mars area has begun some modern infrastructure development as of recently. The downtown area is the site of several projected modernization efforts in the capital.

Climate

Port-au-Prince has a tropical wet and dry climate and relatively constant temperatures throughout the course of the year. Port-au-Prince's wet season
Wet season
The the wet season, or rainy season, is the time of year, covering one or more months, when most of the average annual rainfall in a region occurs. The term green season is also sometimes used as a euphemism by tourist authorities. Areas with wet seasons are dispersed across portions of the...

 runs from March through November, though the city experiences a relative break in rainfall during the month of July. The city's dry season
Dry season
The dry season is a term commonly used when describing the weather in the tropics. The weather in the tropics is dominated by the tropical rain belt, which oscillates from the northern to the southern tropics over the course of the year...

 covers the remaining three months. Port-au-Prince generally experiences warm and humid conditions during the dry season and hot and humid conditions during the wet season.

Demographics

The population of the area was 1,234,742.
The majority of the population is of African
African diaspora
The African diaspora was the movement of Africans and their descendants to places throughout the world—predominantly to the Americas also to Europe, the Middle East and other places around the globe...

 descent, but a prominent multiracial
Multiracial
The terms multiracial and mixed-race describe people whose ancestries come from multiple races. Unlike the term biracial, which often is only used to refer to having parents or grandparents of two different races, the term multiracial may encompass biracial people but can also include people with...

 minority controls many of the city's businesses. There are sizable numbers of Hispanic
Hispanic
Hispanic is a term that originally denoted a relationship to Hispania, which is to say the Iberian Peninsula: Andorra, Gibraltar, Portugal and Spain. During the Modern Era, Hispanic sometimes takes on a more limited meaning, particularly in the United States, where the term means a person of ...

 residents, as well as small numbers of Europeans (mostly foreign-born). Citizens of Middle East (particularly Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

n and Lebanese
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

) ancestry are a minority with a presence in the capital. Arab Haitians
Arab diaspora
Arab diaspora refers to Arab immigrants, and their descendants who, voluntarily or as refugees, emigrated from their native lands and now reside in non-Arab countries, primarily in Latin America, and Europe, as well as North America and South Asia, parts of Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and West...

 (a large number of whom live in the capital) are more often than not, concentrated in financial areas where the majority of them establish businesses. Most of the mulattoes in the city are concentrated and reside within wealthier areas of Port-au-Prince.

Economy

Port-au-Prince is one of the nation's largest centers of economy and finance. The capital currently exports its most widely consumed produce of coffee and sugar, and has, in the past, exported other goods, such as shoes and baseballs. Port-au-Prince has food-processing plants as well as soap, textile and cement factories. Despite political unrest, the city also relies on the tourism industry and construction companies to move its economy. Port-au-Prince was once a popular place for cruises, but has lost nearly all of its tourism, and no longer has cruise ships coming into port.

Though unemployment is very high in Port-au-Prince, it would be more accurate to say that people are underemployed. A person can expect extremely high levels of economic activity throughout the city, especially among people selling goods and services right off the streets. One author argues that virtually no one is unemployed in Port-au-Prince's slums, because they would be unable to survive if they were. Port-au-Prince also has several upscale districts in which crime rates are much lower than in the center of the capital.

Port-au-Prince has a tourism industry. The Toussaint Louverture International Airport (referred to often as the Port-au-Prince International Airport) is the country's main international gateway for tourists. Tourists often visit the Pétionville area of Port-au-Prince. Other sites of interest include gingerbread houses
Victorian architecture
The term Victorian architecture refers collectively to several architectural styles employed predominantly during the middle and late 19th century. The period that it indicates may slightly overlap the actual reign, 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901, of Queen Victoria. This represents the British and...

.

Health and public safety

There are a number of hospitals including Sacred Heart Hospital Center (CDTI, Centre Hospitalier du Sacré-Cœur). Hôpital de l'Université d'État d'Haiti, Centre Obstetrico Gynécologique Isaie Jeanty-Léon Audain, Hôpital du Canapé-Vert, Hôpital Français (Asile Français), Hôpital Saint François de Sales, Hôpital-Maternité Sapiens, Hopital OFATMA, Clinique de la Santé, Maternité de Christ Roi, Centre Hospitalier Rue Berne and Maternité Mathieu.
After the 2010 earthquake, two hospitals remained that were operational. The University of Miami in parternship with Project Medishare has created a new hospital to provide inpatient and outpatient care for those impacted by the January 2010 earthquake. This hospital is volunteer staffed and provides level 1 trauma care to Port-au-Prince and the surrounding regions.

CDTI closed in April 2010 when international aid failed to materialize. It had been considered the country's premiere hospital.

Culture

The culture of the city lies primarily in the center around the National Palace as well as its surrounding areas. The National Museum
National Museum of Haiti
The National Museum of Haiti in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, was completed in 1938. It is located at Route Nationale No. 1 in the neighborhood of Montrouis...

 is located in the grounds of the palace, established in 1938. The National Palace was one of the early structures of the city but was destroyed and then rebuilt in 1918. It was destroyed again by the earthquake on 12 January 2010
2010 Haiti earthquake
The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake, with an epicentre near the town of Léogâne, approximately west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. The earthquake occurred at 16:53 local time on Tuesday, 12 January 2010.By 24 January, at least 52 aftershocks...

 which collapsed the center's domed roof.

Another popular destination in the capital is the Hotel Oloffson
Hotel Oloffson
The Hotel Oloffson is an inn in central Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The main structure of the hotel is a 19th century Gothic gingerbread mansion set in a lush tropical garden. The mansion was built as a residence for the powerful Sam family, including two former presidents of Haiti...

, a 19th century gingerbread mansion
Victorian architecture
The term Victorian architecture refers collectively to several architectural styles employed predominantly during the middle and late 19th century. The period that it indicates may slightly overlap the actual reign, 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901, of Queen Victoria. This represents the British and...

 that was once the private home of two former Haïtian presidents. It has become a popular hub for tourist activity in the central city. The Cathédrale de Port-au-Prince is a famed site of cultural interest and attracts foreign visitors to its Neo-Romantic architectural style.

The Musée d'Art Haïtien du Collège Saint-Pierre contains work from some of the country's most talented artists, and the Musée National is a museum featuring historical artifacts such as King Henri Christophe
Henri Christophe
Henri Christophe was a key leader in the Haitian Revolution, winning independence from France in 1804. On 17 February 1807, after the creation of a separate nation in the north, Christophe was elected President of the State of Haiti...

's actual suicide pistol and a rusty anchor
Anchor
An anchor is a device, normally made of metal, that is used to connect a vessel to the bed of a body of water to prevent the vessel from drifting due to wind or current. The word derives from Latin ancora, which itself comes from the Greek ἄγκυρα .Anchors can either be temporary or permanent...

 that museum operators claim was salvaged from Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

's ship, the Santa María
Santa María (ship)
La Santa María de la Inmaculada Concepción , was the largest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first voyage. Her master and owner was Juan de la Cosa.-History:...

. Other notable cultural sites include the Archives Nationales, and the Bibliothèque Nationale (National library). The city is the birthplace of internationally known naïve art
Naïve art
Naïve art is a classification of art that is often characterized by a childlike simplicity in its subject matter and technique. While many naïve artists appear, from their works, to have little or no formal art training, this is often not true...

ist Gesner Abelard
Gesner Abelard
Gesner Abelard, is a Haitian painter and sculptor. Born in Port-au-Prince, Abelard began life as a mechanic, then studied painting and sculpture at the Industrial School of Port-au-Prince under the painter Humberman Charles. He became a member of the Haitian Centre d'Art in 1948...

, who was associated with the Centre d'Art.

Government

The current mayor of Port-au-Prince is Jean Yves Jason
Jean Yves Jason
Muscadin Jean Yves Jason is a Haitian politician and current Mayor of Port-au-Prince, the capital city of Haiti. Jason was Mayor of Port-au-Prince at the time of the city's destruction during the 12 January 2010 7.0 earthquake, which left the City Hall and most of the city government buildings in...

, who headed the city at the time of the 2010 earthquake. The city's separate districts (primarily the districts of Delmas
Delmas, Ouest
Delmas is a commune in Port-au-Prince Arrondissement, Ouest Department of Haiti. Delmas itself is an urban continuation of the capital city. Delmas is also the location of much of the area's commercial and industrial enterprise....

, Carrefour
Carrefour, Haiti
Carrefour is a largely residential and a commune in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. The commune had a population of 373,916 at the 2003 Census, and was officially estimated to have grown to 465,019 inhabitants in 2009. It is mostly a bedroom community for those who work in central...

, and Pétionville
Pétionville
Pétion-Ville is a commune and a suburb of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in the hills east and separate of the city itself on the northern hills of the Massif de la Selle. It was named after Alexandre Sabès Pétion , the Haitian general and president later recognized as one of the country's four founding...

) are all administered by their own local mayors who in turn fall under the jurisdiction of the city's general mayor. The seat of the state, the Presidential Palace
National Palace (Haiti)
The National Palace is located in Port-au-Prince—facing Place L'Ouverture near the Champs de Mars—and is the official residence of the Haitian president. It was almost completely destroyed in the 2010 Haiti earthquake...

, is located in the Champ de Mars plaza of the city. The PNdH (Police Nationale d'Haïti) is the authority governing the enforcement of city laws. The national police force as of recently, have been increasing in number. However because of its ailing ineffectiveness and insufficient manpower, a significant number of UN
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 personnel is present throughout the city as part of the stabilization mission in Haiti
United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti
The United Nations Stabilisation Mission In Haiti , also known as MINUSTAH, an acronym of the French translation, is a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti that has been in operation since 2004. The mission's military component is led by the Brazilian Army and the force commander is...

.

The city's City Hall was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. Most of the city's other government municipal buildings also collapsed in the earthquake.

Education

Port-au-Prince contains various educational institutions, ranging from small vocational school
Vocational school
A vocational school , providing vocational education, is a school in which students are taught the skills needed to perform a particular job...

s to universities
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

. Influential international schools in Port-au-Prince include Union School, founded in 1919, and Quisqueya Christian School, founded in 1974. Both schools offer an American-style pre-college education. French-speaking students can attend the Lycée Français (Lycée Alexandre Dumas), located in Bourdon. Another school is Anís Zunúzí Bahá'í School
Anís Zunúzí Bahá'í School
The Anís Zunúzí Bahá'í School is a Bahá'í School near Port-au-Prince, Haiti, which first began to hold classes in 1980. It reached the point of offering classes K through 10th grade...

 north west of Port-au-Prince which opened its doors in 1980 which survived the 2010 Haiti earthquake
2010 Haiti earthquake
The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake, with an epicentre near the town of Léogâne, approximately west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. The earthquake occurred at 16:53 local time on Tuesday, 12 January 2010.By 24 January, at least 52 aftershocks...

 and its staff were cooperating in relief efforts and sharing space and support with neighbors. A clinic was run at the school by a medical team from the United States and Canada. Its classes offered transition from Haitian Creole
Haitian Creole language
Haitian Creole language , often called simply Creole or Kreyòl, is a language spoken in Haiti by about twelve million people, which includes all Haitians in Haiti and via emigration, by about two to three million speakers residing in the Bahamas, Cuba, Canada, France, Cayman Islands, French...

 to the French language but also a secondary language in English. The State University of Haiti
University of Haiti
The University of Haiti is one of Haiti's most important institutions of higher education. It is located in Port-au-Prince....

 (Université d'État d'Haïti in French or UEH), is located within the capital along other universities such as the Quisqueya University and the Université des Caraïbes. There are many other institutions that observe the Haitian scholastic program. Many of them are religious academies led by foreign missionaries from France or Canada. These include Institution Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague, École Sainte-Rose-de-Lima, École Saint-Jean-Marie Vianney, Institution du Sacré-Coeur, and Collège Anne-Marie Javouhey.

The Ministry of Education is also located in downtown Port-au-Prince at the Palace of Ministries, adjacent to the National Palace in the Champ de Mars plaza.

The Haïtian Group of Research and Pedagogical Activities (GHRAP) has set up several community centers for basic education. UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

's office at Port-au-Prince has taken a number of initiates in upgrading the educational facilities in Port-au-Prince.

Roads

All of the major transportation systems in Haiti are located near or run through the capital. The northern highway, Route Nationale #1 (National Highway One), originates in Port-au-Prince. The southern highway, Route Nationale #2 also runs through Port-au-Prince. Maintenance for these roads lapsed after the 1991 coup, prompting the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 to lend US$50 million designated for road repairs. The project was canceled in January 1999, however, after auditors revealed corruption. A third major highway, the Haitian Route Nationale #3, which connects Port-au-Prince which links the capital to the central plateau; however, due to its poor condition, it sees limited use.

Public transportation

The most common form of public transportation in Haiti is the use of brightly painted pickup truck
Pickup truck
A pickup truck is a light motor vehicle with an open-top rear cargo area .-Definition:...

s as taxis
Taxicab
A taxicab, also taxi or cab, is a type of vehicle for hire with a driver, used by a single passenger or small group of passengers, often for a non-shared ride. A taxicab conveys passengers between locations of their choice...

 called "tap-taps
Tap-Tap
Tap taps are gaily painted buses or pick-up trucks that serve as share taxis in Haiti.Literally meaning "quick quick", these vehicles for hire are privately owned and beautifully decorated...

."

Seaport

The seaport
Port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

, Port international de Port-au-Prince
Port international de Port-au-Prince
The is the seaport in the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince. It suffered catastrophic damage in the 2010 Haiti earthquake.Some of docks and warehouses are operated by the government's Autorité Portuaire Nationale , and some are run by private companies.- History :On 13 June 1872, a German fleet...

, has more registered shipping than any of the over dozen ports in the country. The port's facilities include cranes, large berths, and warehouses, but these facilities are in universally poor shape. The port is underused, possibly due to the substantially high port fees compared to ports in the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

.

Airports

The Toussaint Louverture International Airport (Aéroport International Toussaint Louverture also known as Maïs Gâté), which opened in 1965 (as the François Duvalier International Airport), is located north of the city. It is Haiti's major jetway, and as such, handles the vast majority of the country's international flights. Transportation to smaller cities from the major airport is done via smaller aircraft. Companies providing this service include Caribintair
Caribintair
Caribintair is an airline that flew domestic and international routes from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It was established in 1989. Operations stopped in April 2009....

 and Sunrise Airways
Sunrise Airways
Sunrise Airways, founded in 2010, is an airline in Haiti that now provides charter flights. Sunrise Airways specializes in passenger charters, ad-hoc charter flights, chains of charter flights, and wet lease of its aircraft....

.

Sister cities

Port-au-Prince has two sister cities: Miami
Miami, Florida
Miami is a city located on the Atlantic coast in southeastern Florida and the county seat of Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida and the eighth-most populous county in the United States with a population of 2,500,625...

, United States - 1991 Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, Canada - 1995

See also

  • Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone
    Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone
    The Enriquillo–Plantain Garden fault zone is a system of coaxial left lateral-moving strike slip faults which runs along the southern side of the island of Hispaniola, where the Dominican Republic and Haiti are located...


Famous people from Port-au-Prince

External links

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