The City Of Cap-Haitian And Its Long History
Columbus' Santa Maria ran into a coral reef in 1492 and still, supposedly, lays there today, as much a ruin as the once-great city that was Cap Haitian.
The Spanish crew ultimately decided to settle in Santo Domingo in what is now the Dominican Republic, leaving Cap Haitian to the pirates who would influence its first name, Cabo Francés. The French revolution would inspire one in Haiti as well, as the 'freedom and liberty' so valiantly touted by the French masters about the French in France told of an unbearable hypocrisy to the African-descended slaves in Haiti. A 13 year war began and ended near Cabo Francés, with the resulting independence of the enslaved and the country of Haiti. Proudly, they renamed the cape Cap-Haitien after naming their country Haiti, considering it, the site of the most important struggles, the birthplace of their independence.
The importance of Cap Haitien would soon peak. From the last part of the 1800's to the early 1900's, its reputation as a starting point for revolutions, usually in opposition to movements happening in the growing city of Port-au-Prince, saw it lose considerable ground, hastened by the effects of urbanization.
As a result of being too long on the losing side of Haitian politics, Cap Haitian is no longer the city it used to be. Once called the Paris of the Antilles, with the type of architecture befitting the wealthiest French colony, very little except ruins remains of its former glory. Its saving grace is its attraction to tourists for this same reason. The city was blessedly spared by the 2010 earthquake, leaving such attractions as the glorious, imposing Citadelle intact.
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