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Port-au-Prince seen from outerspace.
Bicentennial celebrations in Port-au-Prince (2004).
Port-au-Prince, (Kreyòl: Pòtoprens; Spanish: Puerto Príncipe) (18°32′N 72°20′W) is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Haiti. It is located on a bay of the Gulf of La Gonave in the department Ouest (West). It's current population (2005) is estimated at 2.5 to 3 million people. Among it's larger suburbs are Carrefour, Delmas and Pétionville. Port-au-Prince is home to most of the countries assembly and manufacturing industries (electronics, garments and baseballs) and has major port facilities and the nearby Toussaint Louverture International Airport (PAP), renamed after Louverture during President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's last period in office.

Port-au-Prince is home to many cultural institutions such as the National Art Museum.

History of Port-au-Prince

The Bay of Port-au-Prince in 1798.
Port-au-Prince tramway car around 1922.
At the end of the 15th century, at the time of Christopher Columbus arrival, the region around Port-au-Prince was under the control of a Taíno ruler by the name of Bohechio, but there was no major settlement.

Port-au-Prince was founded in 1749 by French sugar planters, in what was then the French colony of Saint-Domingue. In 1770, it became the capital, replacing Cap Français, and in 1804 it became the capital of newly-independent Haiti. The city was captured by British troops on June 4, 1794. By October 1798 the British troops, led by Thomas Maitland, were defeated by Toussaint Louverture and his fellow revolutionaries and left the colony.

During colonial times, before the declaration of independence in 1804, the city was named Port-au-Prince, then Port Républicain in French (after the (French Revolution) and Port Republican in English before being renamed Port-au-Prince by Jean-Jacques Dessalines in 1804.

The name of the town is said to have derived from a vessel Le Prince (The Prince) that had anchored in the Bay of Port-au-Prince.

Dessalines assassination in 1806

Jean-Jacques Dessalines was assassinated in an ambush north of Port-au-Prince at Pont Larnage, (now known as Pont-Rouge) on October 17, 1806 while he was en route to battle rebels. Henry Christophe renamed the city Port-aux-Crimes (Port of Crimes) afterwards.

A woman by the name of Défilée, gathered the mutilated body of Jean-Jacques Dessalines to bury him. He was later interred in Port-au-Prince

In 1892 a marble monument for Dessalines was erected at the Cimetière Intérieur of Port-au-Prince and in March of 1936, it was moved to Pont-Rouge. For an image of the monument see: Jean-Jacques Dessalines.

See also


  • Port-au-Prince. (2005, December 1). Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:22, December 13, 2005 [1].
  • Tortuga. The Columbia Gazetteer of North America, edited by Saul B. Cohen. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000. [2] [accessed July 6, 2006].

External links

Embassies in Port-au-Prince

Miscellaneous links