—Haiti: A French colony for almost two centuries, this country became the first independent black republic in the world and the only French-speaking territory in the Caribbean when it gained independence in 1803 after defeating Napoleon Bonaparte’s army. France would only recognize its independence in exchange for several million Francs in compensation, which left the country severely impoverished and led to the economic problems that have only got worse over the years. As well as the political instability that has marked its history, an earthquake in 2010 damaged the majority of government buildings, schools, hospitals and houses. It’s currently number 14 on the list of the poorest countries in the world.
—Creole: Also known as Haitian creole, this language is spoken by the majority of the country’s inhabitants and is a mixture between French and western African languages.