Haitian Heritage Month

May is Haitian Heritage Month! Peruse our resource guide to learn about and celebrate the rich culture, history, and people from Haiti.

Facts

Official Name: Republic of Haiti 

Capital: Port-au-Prince

Population: 11,470,261 (2023)

Climate: Tropical

Head of State: Prime Minister Ariel Henry (presidency currently vacant)

Location: Island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean, shared with the Dominican Republic

Independence Day: January 1, 1804

Official Languages: Kreyōl; French

Currency: Gourde (1 Haitian gourde = 0.0074 U.S. dollar)

Exports: Textiles/clothing, oils, scrap iron

National Flower: Hibiscus

National Bird: Hispaniolan trogon (priotelus roseigaster)

News

Haitians in America

Per the 2021 United States census, people of Haitian descent make up over 1 million residents in the U.S.. Though cities like New York, Boston, and Washington D.C. have large Haitian populations, South Florida is home to the largest percentage of Haitians living state-side at more than 500,000. Over 36,000 Haitians call Orlando, Kissimmee, and Sanford home.

Flag Day

May 18th is Haitian Flag Day. Every year, people of Haitian descent celebrate Flag Day with festivals and large events.

HISTORY

Catherine Flon is recognized as the flag's creator. May 18, 1803, during the Arcahaye Congress, General Jean-Jacques Dessalines tore the white band from the tri-colored French flag and Flon sewed the remaining blue and red bands together. 

Original flag design, 1803 

Saul ip, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Since that time, Haiti's flag has had many incarnations, most visibly the addition of the Coat of Arms and changing the orientation of the blue and red bands. The current flag, officially adapted in 1986, was first used by the country from 1859-1964. The Coat of Arms in the center of the flag was much larger in its first iteration. According to the U.S. Embassy of Haiti, the Coat of Arms is made up of: "... a Palmette surmounted by the liberty cap, and under the palms a trophy with the legend: In Union there is Strength (L’Union Fait la Force)." (Flag and Coat of Arms, Embassy of the Republic of Haiti)

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