Bòn Fèt Drapo Ayisyen! The Haitian flag has been a symbol of pride for the beautiful island of Haiti since it was adopted on May, 18th 1803; that’s exactly 214 years ago! Created by Jean-Jacques Dessalines and then sewn together by his granddaughter Catherine Flon, the blue represents Haiti’s black citizens and the red, free Gens de couleur (people of color). As of 2016, the number of people of Haitian descent living in the US is 929,074.
So, to celebrate this day – here are some facts about this amazing island:
The first iteration of the Haitian flag was made by taking the French flag and removing the white center. In later years, after going through six different designs (see image below) – the colors were switched from being vertical to horizontal with the coat of arms being placed in the middle.
Haiti is the only country in the world with Voodoo as an official religion.
Haiti is the 3rd largest country in the Caribbean, after the Dominican Republic and Cuba.
“Haiti” means “Land of the High Mountains”.
Haiti has the most mountains of any Caribbean nation.
On January 1st, 1804, Haiti gained its independence from France and became the second oldest independent nation in the Western Hemisphere.
The United States did not recognize Haiti as an independent nation until 1862, even though the country was freed in 1804.
The early 1930’s is when the first documented wave of Haitians began arriving in the US, by the 1950’s – 60’s many left to escape the dictatorship of Francois Duvalier.
Celebrities such as Jason Derulo, Wyclef Jean, Garcelle Beauvais, Zoe Saldana and Meta Golding are of Haitian descent.
If you would like to learn more about Haiti please click on the link below: