Touring the Haitian Revolution

Mural on wall of Lycée Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Port-au-Prince.
Mural on wall of Lycée Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Port-au-Prince.

I’m in the middle of editing the new edition of my Haiti guidebook for Bradt, which will be hitting the shelves towards the end of the year. One thing I’m particulary pleased about are some of the new maps – a specific map to historic sites in the north, and plans of the Citadelle Henry and palace of Sans Souci.  Haiti’s history offers so much to the visitor.

With that in mind, I’ve just put together a photo journal for Age of Revolutions, touring the main locations of the Haitian Revolution. It was a fun exercise, and gave me the opportunity to throw in some of the historical footnotes there’s never space for in a travel guide. On the cathedral on Place d’Armes in Cap-Haïtien for example, witness to so many key moments in Haitian history:

The great chronicler of Saint-Domingue, Moreau de Saint-Méry, wrote that when the church’s bell rang, the blacks would cry, ‘A good white is dead, but the wicked ones remain.’

The photo journal can be found here.

The Bradt Guide to Haiti at the Citadelle Henry
The Bradt Guide to Haiti at the Citadelle Henry

I also spoke to the Haitian culture and lifetyle website Kreyolicious about the new guidebook, as well getting to take the temperature of the Haitian tourism right now. Overall I’m cautiously optimistic, although the continuing drama of that is Haitian politics makes it difficult to take a truly long-term view (to be fair, as a Briton writing in the days after Brexit it might be fair to equally turn the mirror on my own country). In the new guidebook there’s a lot more coverage of community-led tourism project, such as at Dondon, a little-visited town that has some great caves with Taíno carvings:

[The town] got together and formed a local tourist association so they could get organised to attract visitors so that those assets benefit the whole community. They weren’t waiting for the tourism minister to give them their blessing or for an NGO to come and do some capacity building, they just went ahead and set it up themselves. I was thrilled to be able to write about them in the new guidebook.

Efforts like this give me great hope for long-term tourism development in Haiti. You can read the complete Kreyolicious interview here.

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