Is French useful in Haiti?
While French and Haitian Creole both serve as official languages in the country, French is spoken by a very slim minority (most sources estimate between 5% and 10% of Haitians speak French fluently and use it regularly in their day-to-day lives).
The first French to arrive to Haiti were pirates who began to use the island of Tortuga (northern Haiti) in 1625 as a base and settlement for raids against Spanish ships.
In the 18th century, Saint Dominigue, as Haiti was then known, became France's wealthiest overseas colony, largely because of its production of sugar, coffee, indigo, and cotton generated by an enslaved labor force.
In 1825, Haiti was forced to pay millions of French francs to France in exchange for that country's recognition of its sovereignty.
It took until 1947 – about 122 years – for Haiti to finally pay off all the associated interest to the National City Bank of New York (now Citibank). In 2016, the Parliament of France repealed the 1825 ordinance of Charles X, though no reparations have been offered by France.
The Tragic Hope of Revolutionary Haiti
Haiti, then known as Saint-Domingue, had been the crown jewel of the French empire. It was the most lucrative colony in the whole world. French planters forced African slaves to produce sugar, coffee, and other cash crops for the global market. The system seemed to work well.
|Date||21 August 1791 – 1 January 1804 (12 years, 4 months, 1 week and 4 days)|
|Result||Haitian victory French colonial government expelled Massacre of the French|
|Territorial changes||Independent Empire of Haiti established|
In 1825, Haiti Paid France $21 Billion To Preserve Its Independence -- Time For France To Pay It Back.
By February 1794, when the French government abolished slavery throughout its empire, all the slaves of Saint-Domingue had already been freed.
Once the wealthiest colony in the Americas, Haiti is now the Western Hemisphere's poorest country, with more than half of its population living below the World Bank's poverty line. Foreign intervention and debt, political instability, and natural disasters have stymied the Caribbean country's development.
How did France make Haiti poor?
"By forcing Haiti to pay for its freedom, France essentially ensured that the Haitian people would continue to suffer the economic effects of slavery for generations to come," said Marlene Daut, a professor at University of Virginia specializing in pre-20th century French colonial literary and historical studies.
Urged by the National City Bank and the BNRH, with the latter of the two already under direction of American business interests, eight United States Marines walked into the national bank and took custody of Haiti's gold reserve of about US$500,000 – about the equivalent to $13,526,578 in 2021 – on December 17, 1914.
Historically, the United States viewed Haiti as a counterbalance to Communist leaders in Cuba. Haiti's potential as a trading partner and an actor in the drug trade makes the nation strategically important to the United States. Moreover, the two are tied by a large Haitian diaspora residing in the United States.
|Republic of Haiti République d'Haïti (French) Repiblik d Ayiti (Haitian Creole)|
|• United States occupation||28 July 1915 – 1 August 1934|
Largely through the efforts of one man: Toussaint L'Ouverture. No longer a slave himself, Toussaint nonetheless trained and led the half million African slaves of Haiti to victory after victory, over England and France, for more than a decade. In the process, he kept America free from European domination.
Haiti's economic and social development continues to be hindered by political instability, increasing violence and unprecedented levels of insecurity, which exacerbate fragility. Haiti remains the poorest country in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region and among the poorest countries in the world.
The United States is the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Haiti, helping to meet the needs of the most vulnerable Haitians through health care, shelter, food, nutrition, water/sanitation, and other relief.
Economy of Haiti.
|GDP||$8.347 billion (nominal, 2020) $19.704 billion (PPP, 2020)|
|GDP rank||145th (nominal, 2020) 143rd (PPP, 2020)|
Most Haitian understand french because they have been thought in french since kindergarten to philosophy. Creole is a language in it's own that derived from the french Language and African dialects that the slaves spoke during slavery.
It is estimated that roughly 5 to 10 percent of Haitians are functionally bilingual in French and Haitian Creole.
Is French taught in Haiti schools?
Even though a majority of people speak Creole as their first language in Haiti, most schools teach in French.
Because of the mixture of native, African, and French influences, modern Haiti is home to a unique culture. Creole and French are the nation's official languages, and most of the country's literature is in one of these tongues.