Independent republic occupying the western part of the island of Haiti in the West Indies; area, 10,204 square miles.
The island was discovered in 1492 by Columbus who returned in 1493 bringing several Dominican missionaries; since then the western part of the island has never lacked pastors.
In 1511, it was divided between the dioceses of Santo Domingo and Concepción de la Vega.
Settlements were established, 1659, by the French, who took possession of the western part of the island in 1697.
Continual insurrections against French and Spanish rulers were disastrous to the missions, and the massacre of whites in 1804 when Haitian independence was established caused nearly all the clergy to leave the colony, though several missionaries returned in 1806.
There was no hierarchy from 1804 until 1860 when a concordat was signed with Rome, guaranteeing the protection and support of the government for the Catholic religion, which is the only source of order and progress in a country hampered by disorder, illiteracy, and instability.
In 1861 five sees were erected.
Haiti is represented at the Holy See by an envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, and an internuncio resides in Port-au-Prince.
Dioceses, past and present, include:
- Les Cayes
- Les Gonaïves
New Catholic Dictionary