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Fun Facts About Haiti – The First Black Republic in the World!
Haiti and the Olympics
Did you know… Haitian archers — Ludovic Valborge, LH Clermont, Astrel Rolland, Destin Destine, C. Dupre, Eloi Metullus and Ludovic Augustin — won a bronze medal at the 1924 Paris Olympics — making it the first black nation in the world to win an Olympic medal summer. This medal made Haiti the poorest country ever to win an Olympic medal. Surprisingly they do it in an island where there are not many sports facilities. The Caribbean team was certainly a “dark horse” in France.
Katherine Dunham and Haiti
Did you know… The island nation of Haiti was once home to Katherine Dunham, one of the most successful dancers of the 20th century. She undoubtedly loved Haiti. American Katherine Dunham had long been fascinated by the culture and traditions of Haiti. Her book “Island Possessed” (1969) is a tribute to this Caribbean nation. In 2002 she, who was born in Glenn Ellyn (Illinois, USA), forced the world to pay attention to the Haitian boat people. Today Katherine is a national hero in Haiti.
Did you know… Since 1804 Haiti has had four national flags.
World famous Haitians
Did you know… Wyclef Neluset Jean – the image of Haiti abroad – is a world-renowned Haitian musician. He is currently Haiti’s advocate in the world.
Haiti & the United States
Did you know… Washington has close ties to Haiti. Since the 1930s, many American leaders have visited Haiti. In this context, the president Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945) traveled to Haiti in 1934. Sixty one years later, Bill Clinton became the second American president to come to Haiti. President Clinton arrived in Port-au-Prince to consult with Jean-Bertrand Aristide (the country’s president). On the other hand, Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, went to the country in 2004. In 2008, Laura Bush, the First Lady of America, was the guest of honor of the Haitian government. Subsequently, Hillary Clinton, the current Secretary of State, accepted an invitation to visit Haiti. In Port-au-Prince, she, who visited the country in 1998, met high-ranking Haitian officials.
In the mid-1990s, Jimmy Carter, the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize and former president of the United States played a key role in ending military rule in Haiti.
Did you know… Five decades ago Haitians could expect to live 39 years. Today they can look forward to 60.
Women and Power
Did you know… In Haiti women were allowed to vote from 1950 onwards – women are the majority of the population. Over the past few decades, this Caribbean nation has had two female leaders. In 1991 Ertha Pascal-Trouillot – one of the shortest female presidents in the world – became the first black female president in the Western Hemisphere. Four years later, Claudette Werleigh was named Head of Government by Haiti’s Head of State, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. On the other hand, Michaelle Jean, the Governor General of Canada, was born on the island of Haiti. She has lived in Canada since 1968. In 2006 Michaelle went to Port-au-Prince.
Did you know… Haiti is about the size of Maryland. This country has been described as the “Pearl of the Caribbean”.
Africa and Haiti
Did you know… In 1967 Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, the last emperor of Africa, arrived in Haiti for an official visit. During his visit to the first black nation in the world, Selassie met Francois Duvalier, the then President of Haiti.
Did you know… In the early 1800s Haiti became the first black republic on the planet. Before Haiti became a state, it had been a French colony.
Haiti and the FIFA World Cup
Did you know… In 1974 Haiti lived up to its reputation as one of the best teams in the Caribbean by winning the Concacaf Cup. Haiti became the first Caribbean football team to win the Concacaf title, breaking Mexico’s 30-year stranglehold. During that regional tournament, Haiti also qualified for the world championships in Munich, West Germany. The country had never qualified for a major football tournament before. This international title gave Haiti a moment of joy and glory. In Europe, Haiti and Zaire – today the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Africa) – were the first black republics to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in the 20th century.
Haiti & Miss Universe Pageant
Did you know… Haitian contestant Gerthie David, who speaks French and English, came close to winning the Miss Universe pageant in San Salvador (El Salvador, Central America) in the mid-1970s. Surprisingly, Gerthie – who was the country’s third representative – was the second black woman to qualify for the MU finals. Gerthie David from Haiti was apparently supported by two international critics – Sarah Vaughan (American-born Grammy-winning singer) and Jean-Claude Killy (former Olympic champion and current leader of the Olympic Games). According to a newspaper from San Salvador, Miss Haiti was one of the 11 favorites to win the global title. She surprised and pleased many with this international beauty pageant. On the other hand, in 1977, for the first time, Haiti sent a non-black woman to compete in the MU in the Dominican Republic.
Did you know… Haiti participated in the 1967 Montreal World Exhibition in Canada, along with 70 nations. Likewise, he sent a national delegation to the African Festival in Dakar (Senegal) in the 1960s.
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