Here's the insider's take on this hot spot.‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
 
7 Things You Didn’t Know about Haiti
1. Over 10 million residents live on an island barely larger than the state of Maryland
 

Haiti itself measures more than 10,000 square miles. That space holds delights for adventure travelers, foodies, art collectors and shoppers, and for anyone who enjoys visiting historical sites, magnificent scenery, unique cuisine and more.

2. It was the first European settlement in the Americas
 

Christopher Columbus sailed to Haiti on his first voyage to “the new world” in 1492 and named it La Navidad after one of his early shipwrecks to the island.

3. It was also the first Caribbean country to abolish slavery 
 

And the first country to declare independence from its overseer, France, in 1804.

4. Haiti is rich in culture 
 

Noted individuals like Franketienne, arguably Haiti’s greatest author and a candidate for the Nobel Prize in 2009; Jean Lafitte, swashbuckling pirate of lore and a prototype for the recent spate of the film series, Pirates of the Caribbean; John James Audubon, internationally acclaimed ornithologist and author; Wyclef Jean, award winning Grammy hip-hop recording artist and educator, were all born in Haiti. And this is only a short list.

5. There’s an abundance of historical sites
 
Two of the majors are Sans-Souci, Haiti’s national park and the Citadelle Laferriere, the largest military fortress in the Americas, built in 1805 and expanded in 1820. Both are World Heritage sites and are open to the public year-round.
6. There are more than 20 spices in Haitian-Creole cooking
 
That’s perhaps more than any other island in the Caribbean. Cumin, bay leaves, clove, chili pepper, gumbo file, mustard seed, nutmeg, oregano, celery seed, allspice, lemon, chives, and garlic are the most popular. Haiti enjoys an abundance of native fruit and vegetables, like no other, along with its varied supply of rich spices and flavorings. Try  maps moulu, a corn-meal type of grain eaten with sauce pois, a puree made of of as many as five different types of beans and  banana pesee, flattened plantain deep-fried in coconut oil, usually eaten with  tassot and  girt, fried goat, pork, or lamb, or all of the above. For the more adventurous types there’s soup  joumou, a hot dish of savory meats and vegetables served with rice and beans, a staple component of every Haitian. Many dishes include freshly picked tomatoes, cabbage, avocados, bell peppers, and an abundance of fresh fruit. Rhum Barbancourt is the national drink here. So while Haiti’s roots are heavily African, the mix of French and Spanish influences are noted in the their homes and restaurants in every part of the island but with a heavy accent on rich spices and flavorings.
 7. It’s the safest destination in the Caribbean right now
 
The 2017 Global Peace Index named it such this week.
We've Got More.

Our podcast this month features experts weighing in on the Caribbean destination. Listen to long-standing art collector and appraiser  Myriam-NaderSolomon, along with Julio Jean from the COMBE Dance Company, Charly Gonzalve from the Haiti Not La travel service, Michael McGuigan from the Bond Street Theater, Sabin Blaizin, popular DJ and performer, and Joshua, General Manager of the LaCaye Creole restaurant in Brooklyn dish about their favorite destination and their contributions to all things Haitian.

 
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