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Railway in Gonaïves.
Gonaïves (Kreyòl: Gonayiv) is a coastal city in northern Haiti, located 150 km (93 miles) Northwest of Port-au-Prince. It is the capital of the Artibonite department. The Gulf of Gonaïves is named after the town.

The Battle of Ravine-à-Couleuvres

In 1802 an important battle of the Haitian Revolution, the Battle of Ravine-à-Couleuvres was fought near Gonaïves.

Haitian independence

Gonaïves is also known as Haiti's City of Independence because it was there that Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Haiti, the former Saint-Domingue, independent from France on January 1, 1804 by reading the Act of Independence, drafted by Boisrond Tonnerre, on the Place d'Armes of the town.

Marie-Claire Heureuse Félicité, the wife of Jean-Jacques Dessalines died here in August of 1858. In September of 1892 José Martí, a leader of the Cuban independence movement and a poet and writer, visits the town.

José Martí visits Gonaïves

In September of 1892 José Martí, a leader of the Cuban independence movement and a national hero, visits Gonaïves, [Fort Liberté]] and Le Cap on his way to join the war for Cuban independence.

Hammerton Killick and the German Navy

In 1902 the Haitian Admiral Hammerton Killick, to avoid to surrender his vessel "Crête-à-Pierrot" (named after Crête-à-Pierrot) to the german gunship Panther, blew it up and sank with it after ordering everybody from the ship.

In September of 2004, Hurricane Jeanne caused flooding and mudslides in the city and the surrounding area. Over 3,000 people died as the result of the hurricane.

See also


  • Gonaïves. The Columbia Gazetteer of North America, edited by Saul B. Cohen. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000. [1]. [accessed March 11, 2006].