Guantanamo Bay Naval Base
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base known as Naval Station Guantanamo Bay or NSGB, is a United States military base and detention camp located on 120 square kilometers of land and water at Guantánamo Bay, which the U. S. leased for use as a coaling station and naval base in 1903. The lease was $2,000 in gold per year until 1934, when the payment was set to match the value in gold in dollars; the base is on the shore of Guantánamo Bay at the southeastern end of Cuba. It is the oldest overseas U. S. Naval Base. Since the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the Cuban government has protested against the U. S. presence on Cuban soil and called it illegal under international law, alleging that the base was imposed on Cuba by force. Since 2002, the naval base has contained a military prison, the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, for alleged unlawful combatants captured in Afghanistan and other places during the War on Terror. Cases of torture of prisoners, their denial of protection under the Geneva Conventions, have been condemned internationally.
Headquarters, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Customer Service Desk Joint Task Force GuantanamoHeadquarters, JTF Guantanamo Joint Detention Group Joint Intelligence Group Joint Medical Group U. S. Coast Guard Marine Security Detachment Guantanamo Bay Marine Corps Security Force Company Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Atlantic Detachment Guantanamo Bay Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay Navy Supply Navy Security Forces SEABEE Detachment U. S. Coast Guard Aviation Detachment Guantanamo Bay Fleet Composite Squadron Ten U. S. Marine Corps Ground Defense Force Naval Security Group Activity Shore Intermediate Maintenance Activity Fleet Training Group YC 1639 Leeward Windward YON 258 USS Wanamassa LCU 1671 and MK-8: landing craft used as an alternate ferry for transportation to areas inaccessible by the primary ferry and for moving hazardous cargo. GTMO-5, GTMO-6 and GTMO-7: used for personnel transportation during off-ferry hours. Besides servicemembers, the base houses a large number of civilian contractors working for the military.
Many of these contractors are migrant workers from Jamaica and the Philippines, are thought to constitute up to 40% of the base's population. Major contractors working at NSGB have included the following: KBR Schuyler Line Navigation Company Satellite Communication Systems Incorporated Centerra EMCOR Islands Mechanical Contractor Munilla Construction Management RQ Construction MCM Construction J&J Worldwide Services Vectrus - https://vectrus.com Ocean Transportation is provided by Schuyler Line Navigation Company, a US Flag Ocean Carrier. Schuyler Line operates under government contract to supply sustainment and building supplies to the Base; the area surrounding Guantanamo bay was inhabited by the Taíno people. On 30 April 1494, Christopher Columbus, on his second voyage and spent the night; the place where Columbus landed is now known as Fisherman's Point. Columbus declared the bay Puerto Grande; the bay and surrounding areas came under British control during the War of Jenkins' Ear. Prior to British occupation, the bay was referred to as Walthenham Harbor.
The British renamed the bay Cumberland Bay. The British retreated from the area after a failed attempt to march to Santiago de Cuba. During the Spanish–American War, the U. S. fleet attacking Santiago secured Guantánamo's harbor for protection during the hurricane season of 1898. The Marines landed at Guantanamo Bay with naval support, American and Cuban forces routed the defending Spanish troops; the war ended with the Treaty of Paris of 1898, in which Spain formally relinquished control of Cuba. Although the war was over, the United States maintained a strong military presence on the island. In 1901 the United States government passed the Platt Amendment as part of an Army Appropriations Bill. Section VII of this amendment read That to enable the United States to maintain the independence of Cuba, to protect the people thereof, as well as for its own defense, the government of Cuba will sell or lease to the United States lands necessary for coaling or naval stations at certain specified points to be agreed upon with the President of the United States After initial resistance by the Cuban Constitutional Convention, the Platt Amendment was incorporated into the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba in 1901.
The Constitution took effect in 1902, land for a naval base at Guantanamo Bay was granted to the United States the following year. USS Monongahela, an old warship which served as a storeship at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba was destroyed by fire on March 17, 1908. A 4-inch gun was put on display at the Naval Station. Since the gun was deformed by the heat from the fire, it was nicknamed "Old Droopy"; the gun was on display on Deer Point until the command disposed of it, judging its appearance less than exemplary of naval gunnery. The 1903 lease agreement was executed in two parts; the first, signed in February, consisted of the following provisions: Agreement – This is a lease between the U. S. and Cuba for properties for naval stations, in accord with Article VII of the Platt Amendment. Article 1 – Describes the boundaries of the areas being leased, Guantanamo Bay and Bahia Honda. Article 2 – The U. S. may occupy and modify the properties to fit the needs of a coaling and
3rd Special Forces Group (United States)
The 3rd Special Forces Group – abbreviated 3rd SFG and simply called 3rd Group – is an active duty United States Army Special Forces group, active in the Vietnam Era and reactivated in 1990. The 3rd SFG was responsible for operations within the AFRICOM area of responsibility, as part of the Special Operations Command, Africa, its primary area of operations is now Africa as part of a 2015 SOCOM directive but 3rd Group has been involved in the Caribbean and the Greater Middle East. The 3rd SFG has seen extensive action in the War on Terror and its members have distinguished themselves on the battlefield in Afghanistan. 3rd Group was first activated on 5 December 1963 at North Carolina. The four colors of the quadrants of 3rd Group's beret flash are derived from the flashes of the pre-existing SF units from which 3rd Group's members were drawn; these colors are: yellow, red and white. 3rd Group was oriented towards the Middle East and Africa during the 1960s. The unit trained the armed forces of Mali, Ethiopia, the Congo, Jordan – in addition to supporting the Gemini 6 and 7 space launches in 1965.
3rd Group worked with the 5th SFG in Vietnam. In 1966, 3rd Group transferred assumed control of the 403rd Army Security Agency Special Operations Detachment and the 19th PSYOP Company over to 5th Group. With the "Vietnamization" of the conflict, the 3rd SFG was inactivated in 1969 and its members were transferred back to the other Special Forces Groups; the 3rd Special Forces Group was reactivated in 1990. Its AO consisted of the Caribbean and West Africa. New group members were drawn from the 5th SFG. At the outbreak of the Gulf War, 3rd Group's only functioning battalion was deployed to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, for three months, its A-Teams carried out sabotage missions into denied areas of Iraq and Kuwait. In February 1991, 3rd Group was tasked with the mission of securing and occupying the U. S. Embassy in Kuwait City; the 2nd BN and 3rd BN of 3rd Group were reactivated in 1992, respectively. 3rd Group took part in the restoration of democracy in Haiti in 1994. In the late'90s, 3rd Group helped train forces in Senegal, Malawi, Mali and Trinidad and Tobago, among others.
In the fall of 2000, the 3rd SFG was involved in training and stabilization efforts in West Africa, dubbed "Operation Focus Relief" by the State Department. Since 9/11, the 3rd SFG has been involved in Afghanistan and Central Asia. Two of 3rd Group's battalions spend six months out of every twelve deployed to Afghanistan as part of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Afghanistan. In 2008, ten members of ODA 3336 were awarded Silver Stars for combat action during the Battle of Shok Valley, it was the largest set of citations for a single battle since the Vietnam War. After the citations were read then-commander of United States Army Special Operations Command, Lieutenant General John F. Mulholland, Jr. stated: As we have listened to these incredible tales, I am at a loss for words to do justice to what we have heard here, where do we get such men? … There is no finer fighting man on the face of the earth than the American soldier. And there is no finer American soldier than our Green Berets.
If you saw what you heard today in a movie, you would shake your head and say, "That didn’t happen." But it does, every day. Members of the 3rd SFG were involved in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, 26 Green berets from the group were given the task of securing a key crossroads near Debecka in Northern Iraq between the cities of Irbil and Kirkuk. If they succeeded, they would cut highway 2, preventing the Iraqi army moving north into Kurdistan and allow friendly forces to take the crucial Kirkuk oilfields; the 26 Green Berets were divided into two A-teams. The ODAs conducted battle training in Fort Bragg, North Carolina and Fort Pickett, Virginia between October and December 2002, On March 8, 2003, the ODAs flew from Pope Air Force Base to Romania and on 26 March 2003 they infiltrated northern Iraq via a MC-130 Combat Talon landing at Al-Sulaymaniya, some 60 miles east of Kirkuk. In their first few days in Iraq they participated in Operation Viking Hammer and on April 1, 2003, they moved to Irbil and onto a staging area where they linked up with ODA 044, 10th SFG and their Peshmerga allies.
On April 4, 2003, they were given a new mission, code-named Northern Safari, they were to seize the Debecka intersection until relieved by the 173rd Airborne Brigade's artillery component, On April 5, they moved into position to seize the intersection and on April 6 they ran into Iraqi army forces and the Battle of Debecka Pass ensued, resulting in American and Peshmerga victory. The Special Forces secured the crossroads and endured two days of Iraqi artillery fire and into Kirkuk to secure the oil facilities to prevent their destruction by Iraqi forces. In October 2010, Staff Sergeant Robert James Miller was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. On January 25, 2008, Miller's team was ambushed during a comb
United States invasion of Panama
The United States invasion of Panama, codenamed Operation Just Cause, occurred between mid-December 1989 and late January 1990. The invasion was led by the administration of President George H. W. Bush, ten years after the Torrijos–Carter Treaties were ratified to transfer control of the Panama Canal from the U. S. to Panama by 1 January 2000. During the invasion, de facto Panamanian leader, military general and dictator Manuel Noriega was deposed, president-elect Guillermo Endara sworn into office, the Panamanian Defense Force dissolved. Timeline of main events:September 1987 U. S. Senate passes resolution urging Panama to re-establish a civilian government. Panama protests alleged U. S. violations of the Torrijos–Carter Treaties. November 1987 U. S. Senate resolution cuts economic aid to Panama. Panamanians adopt resolution restricting U. S. military presence. February 1988 Manuel Noriega indicted on drug-related charges. U. S. forces begin planning contingency operations in Panama. March 1988 15 March: First of four deployments of U.
S. forces begins providing additional security to U. S. installations. 16 March: PDF officers attempt a coup against Noriega. April 1988 5 April: Additional U. S. forces deployed to provide security. 9 April: Joint Task Force Panama activated. May 1989 7 May: Civilian elections are held in Panama; the election is declared invalid two days by Noriega. 11 May: President Bush orders 1,900 additional combat troops to Panama. 22 May: Convoys conducted to assert U. S. freedom of movement. Additional transport units travel from bases in the territorial U. S. to bases in Panama, back, for this express purpose. June–September 1989 U. S. begins conducting joint freedom of movement exercises. Additional transport units continue traveling from bases in the territorial U. S. to bases in Panama, back, for this express purpose. October 1989 3 October: PDF, loyal to Noriega, defeat second coup attempt. December 1989 15 December: Noriega refers to himself as leader of Panama and declares that the U. S. is in a state of war with Panama.
16 December: U. S. Marine lieutenant shot and killed by PDF. Navy lieutenant and wife detained and assaulted by PDF. 17 December: NCA directs execution of Operation Just Cause. 18 December: Army lieutenant shoots PDF sergeant. Joint Task Force South advance party deploys. JCS designates D-Day/H-Hour as 20 December/1:00 a.m. 19 December: U. S. forces alerted and launched. D-Day, 20 December 1989 U. S. invasion of Panama begins. The operation was conducted as a campaign with limited military objectives. JTFSO objectives in PLAN 90-2 were to: protect U. S. lives and key sites and facilities and deliver Noriega to competent authority, neutralize PDF forces, neutralize PDF command and control, support establishment of a U. S.-recognized government in Panama, restructure the PDF. Major operations detailed elsewhere continued through 24 December. JCS directs execution of Operation Promote Liberty.3 January 1990 Noriega surrenders to U. S. forces.31 January 1990 Operation. Operation Promote Liberty begins. September 1994 Operation Promote Liberty ends.
The United States had maintained numerous military bases and a substantial garrison throughout the Canal Zone to protect the American-owned Panama Canal and to maintain American control of this strategically important area. On September 7, 1977, U. S. President Jimmy Carter and the de facto leader of Panama, General Omar Torrijos, signed Torrijos–Carter Treaties, which set in motion the process of handing over the Panama Canal to Panamanian control by 2000. Although the canal was destined for Panamanian administration, the military bases remained and one condition of the transfer was that the canal would remain open for American shipping; the U. S. had long-standing relations with General Noriega, who served as a U. S. intelligence asset and paid informant of the Central Intelligence Agency from 1967, including the period when Bush was head of the CIA. Noriega had sided with the U. S. rather than the USSR in Central America, notably in sabotaging the forces of the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, the revolutionaries of the FMLN group in El Salvador.
Noriega received upwards of $100,000 per year from the 1960s until the 1980s, when his salary was increased to $200,000 per year. Although he worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration to restrict illegal drug shipments, he was known to accept significant financial support from drug dealers, because he facilitated the laundering of drug money, through Noriega, they received protection from DEA investigations due to his special relationship with the CIA. In the mid-1980s, relations between Noriega and the United States began to deteriorate. In 1986, U. S. President Ronald Reagan opened negotiations with General Noriega, requesting that the Panamanian leader step down after he was publicly exposed in The New York Times by Seymour Hersh, was implicated in the Iran-Contra Scandal. Reagan pressured him with several drug-related indictments in U. S. courts. S. were weak, Noriega did not submit to Reagan's demands. In 1988, Elliot Abrams and others in the Pentagon began pushing for a U. S. invasion, but Reagan refused, due to Bush's ties to Noriega through his previous positions in the CIA and the Task Force on Drugs, their negative impact on Bush's presidential campaign.
Negotiations involved dropping th
United Nations Security Council Resolution 940
United Nations Security Council resolution 940, adopted on 31 July 1994, after recalling resolutions 841, 861, 862, 867, 873, 875, 905, 917 and 933, the Council permitted a United States-led force to restore President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and authorities of the Government of Haiti, extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Haiti for an additional six months. The Council began with condemnations of the military regime in Haiti because it had refused to co-operate with the United States; some concern was expressed at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country, violations of civil liberties and expulsion of staff from the International Civilian Mission. The resolution claimed an extraordinary situation in Haiti, it was determined. The Council authorised, under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, for Member States to form a multinational force under US command to overthrow current leaders from Haiti, for previous ones to return to an environment in which a United States agreement could be implemented.
An advance team of no more than 60 personnel was established in order to co-ordinate and observe the American operations, requesting the Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to report back on developments relating to the advance team within 30 days. Once the multinational force had completed its mission, UNMIH would take over its functions when a suitable environment had been secured. After extending UNMIH's mandate for six months, it was decided to increase the size of the mission to 6,000 troops with the aim of completing it by February 1996; the safety of United Nations personnel and those from diplomatic missions and international humanitarian organisations would be guaranteed. International sanctions imposed on Haiti would be lifted once Aristide had been returned to power. Resolution 940 was controversially adopted by 12 votes to none, with two abstentions from Brazil and China, while Rwanda was not present when voting took place. There were accusations of US pressure; the vote was the first time the United Nations sanctioned the use of an invading force to "restore democracy."
It was the first time the US has sought and gained UN approval for a military intervention in the Americas. Many Latin American countries were opposed to the resolution. Mexico's UN ambassador, Víctor Flores Olea, spoke out against the resolution, saying that "it sets an dangerous precedent in the field of international relations” because the crisis "does not constitute a threat to peace and international security." Cuban Foreign Minister Roberto Robaina said that the resolution furthers "the repeated attempts by the Security Council to amplify its powers beyond those which were granted it by the Charter." Brazilian President Itamar Franco opposed the UN decision, saying "The Security Council's special powers should not be invoked in an indiscriminate manner in the name of a'search for more rapid means' to respond to attacks on democracy, because it violates the basic principles of peaceful co-existence between nations and normal UN legal procedures." After a visit to Brazil from U. S. Under Secretary of State Peter Tarnoff the week before the vote, Brazil's decision to abstain instead of oppose the resolution can be seen to be the result of enormous U.
S. pressure. Pointing out that the situation in Haiti posed no threat to world peace and security, Uruguay's UN representative Ramiro Piriz Ballon said his country "will not support any military intervention, unilateral or multilateral." Argentina offered to send four marine and infantry companies to join the U. S.-led invasion forces. However, after popular discontent over the decision, President Carlos Menem was forced to back down on the offer. On 17 January 1995, UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali issued a 17-page report on the result of the intervention: the report noted the ongoing repression in Haiti, the complete lack of justice for victims of the September 1991 coup d'état, the deteriorating economic situation, the growing impatience of the Haitian people. History of Haiti List of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 901 to 1000 Operation Uphold Democracy Raboteau Massacre Text of the Resolution at undocs.org
President of Haiti
The President of Haiti called the President of the Republic of Haiti is the head of state of Haiti. Executive power in Haiti is divided between the president and the government headed by the Prime Minister of Haiti; the current president is Jovenel Moïse, who took office on February 7, 2017. The qualifications for the presidency are specified by Chapter III Section A of the 1987 Constitution of Haiti; the president is elected to a five-year term by popular vote. The president is not to be elected twice in a row: he may serve a second term only after an interval of five years, must not run for a third term. To be elected president, a candidate must: be a native-born Haitian and never renounced that nationality. Elections are held on the last Sunday in November in the fifth year of the current president's term. However, the election time is not fixed according to the election held in 2015. If no candidate receives a majority, a runoff election is held between the top two candidates. Runoff candidate who have not withdrawn before the runoff, who have the highest number of votes will become the next president.
Each presidential term in office begins and ends on the first February 7 after presidential elections are held. However this is altered after Michel Martelly became the president on May 11 of 2011; the qualifications for the presidency are specified by Articles 136 to 147, part of Chapter III Section B of the 1987 Constitution of Haiti. The president has no powers except those accorded to him in the Constitution; the Constitution mandates that the president see to: the respect for and enforcement of the Constitution and the stability of the institutions. When there is a majority in Parliament, the president must choose a prime minister from the majority party. In either case, the choice must be ratified by Parliament; the president terminates the duties of the prime minister. The president declares war and negotiates and signs peace treaties with the approval of the National Assembly, signs all international treaties and agreements, submitting them to the National Assembly for ratification; the president accredits special envoys to foreign powers.
With the approval of the senate, the president appoints the Commander-in-chief of Haitian armed forces, Haitian police forces and consuls to foreign states. With the approval of the Council of Ministers, the president of the Republic appoints the directors general of the civil service, delegates and vice delegates of Departments and Arrondissements; the president is the head of Haitian armed forces. The president has the right to choose between ratifying a law or not; the president could perform or commune sentences in all res judica cases, except ones carried by Supreme Court judges. The president, cannot grant amnesty to non-political prisoners; the National Palace in the capital Port-au-Prince served as the official residence of the President of Haiti, but it was damaged in the 2010 Haiti earthquake, demolished in 2012. List of heads of state of Haiti Prime Minister of Haiti ^ citations are Article numbers of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of Haiti. A government-issued but unofficial English translation is available at http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3ae6b542c.html and http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Haiti/haiti1987.html and the French original is available at http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Haiti/haiti1987fr.html Schutt-Ainé, Patricia.
Haiti: A Basic Reference Book. Miami, Florida: Librairie Au Service de la Culture. P. 165. ISBN 0-9638599-0-0
7th Transportation Brigade (United States)
The 7th Transportation Brigade is a Transportation brigade of the United States Army. It is known and referred to as "the most deployed unit in the Army" because of its continuous mission to provide logistical support to all branches of the service for both training and war-time activities. 7th Transportation Brigade, Fort Eustis 10th Transportation Battalion 11th Transportation Battalion 53rd Transportation Battalion The 7th Transportation Group was the "Army's Navy." The 7th Transportation Group was the only Composite Transportation Group within the Active Component of the U. S. Army; the 7th Transportation Group has served around the world in time of conflict since its activation in 1942. The 7th Transportation Group executes missions like the annual Joint Logistics-Over-the-Shore operations; the 7th Transportation Group's mission is to "conduct multi-modal transportation operations in support of the reception and onward movement of joint and/or combined forces into a theater of operations".
While the focus is on the group's ability to operate common-user seaports and inland waterway MSRs, theater rail terminals and local and line haul truck transportation, the group's capabilities extend far beyond these functions. Watercraft are just one tool the 7th Group uses in its multi-modal mission to support reception and onward movement; the group is structured with one two Terminal Battalions. All three battalions are multi-functional. In total, the group has a current strength of just over 4000 soldiers and operates 59 vessels and in excess of 1100 ground vehicles. A quarter of these vehicles are material handling equipment; the unit supports all branches of the service by moving troops and supplies. It performs humanitarian missions. To do this, the 7th Transportation Group operates ports, rail terminals, coastal and inland watch ways all over the world. Operation Uphold Democracy Haiti/Retrograde is an example of deployment of 7th Transportation Group personnel. During World War II, the 7th Transportation Group commanded ports in the United Kingdom.
During the Korean War, the 7th Group was redesignated as the 7th Medium Port and was responsible for all port operations in Pusan, Korea, in support of UN Forces. During the Vietnam War, the command provided a training base for the deployment of all watercraft and terminal service units deployed to the Republic of Vietnam. During the Grenada evacuation operation, elements of the group deployed on two separate occasions to discharge and load cargo by sea and air; the command was called upon again during Operation Just Cause in Panama, where it deployed to provide airfield and control group support and functional services. During the period of 1990 and 1991, the 7th Transportation Group played a key role in the success of Operations Desert Shield and Farewell. Within days of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, elements of the group began pouring into the Saudi desert. After the 82d Airborne Division, transporters from the 7th Transportation Group, Fort Eustis, Virginia were the next soldiers to deploy to the Middle East, readying the ports, air terminals and lines of communication for the rest of the U.
S. military. Once the troops were in place, the 22d Support Command had to provide materiel and stores to the forward units; until the arrival of the 32d Transportation Group in January, the 7th Transportation Group served as the Support Command's long-distance trucker as well as manager of the ports. Opening the first seaports and airfields, the command grew to 9,200 soldiers. Little more than a year after the return from Saudi Arabia, the group became involved in the deployment of over 1,100 soldiers in support of Operation Restore Hope in December 1992; the last rotation of soldiers departed the Port of Mogadishu in April 1994 after the United Nations assumed command of the humanitarian operation. Four months the group was again involved in another humanitarian mission in Mombasa, providing relief support to Rwanda during Operation Support Hope. In September 1994, at the onset of Operation Uphold Democracy, the group deployed over 1,500 soldiers to Haiti, providing transportation support to U.
S. and allied forces. During October 1994, the group deployed over 580 soldiers to southwest Asia in support of Operation Vigilant Warrior. Craney Island was one of several strategic landmarks in the 7th Transportation Group exercise called "Resolute Shamrock'95." The battalion-sized training event involved about 500 soldiers, from the group's four battalions. They included the 10th and 24th Trans. Battalions from Fort Eustis, the 11th Trans Bn. from Fort Story, whose 309th Transportation Company is the only active-duty unit in the Army that operates the LARCs, the Army's only amphibious vehicles at that time. About 100 soldiers from the U. S. Army Transportation School at Fort Eustis participated in the exercise. Resolute Shamrock began 6 March, when the 24th Transportation Battalion was alerted to a simulated crisis situation. Within 24 hours, it had set up a processing center at Fort Eustis, where soldiers received shots and updated wills. About 300 of them underwent DNA testing, the results of which remain in their personnel files for identification purposes.
Soldiers from the Causeway Company began reconfiguring one of the causeway piers, towed by tugboat from Fort Eustis to Craney Island. Back at Fort Eustis, 24th Transportation Battalion soldiers began moving a token number of their vehicles and equipment to Lambert's Point in Norfolk, Virginia. There other 7th Group soldiers and U. S. Army Transportation School students uploaded the materials, via another causeway pier
Haiti the Republic of Haiti and called Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola, east of Cuba in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island. Haiti is 27,750 square kilometres in size and has an estimated 10.8 million people, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean Community and the second-most populous country in the Caribbean as a whole. The region was inhabited by the indigenous Taíno people. Spain landed on the island on 5 December 1492 during the first voyage of Christopher Columbus across the Atlantic; when Columbus landed in Haiti, he had thought he had found India or China. On Christmas Day 1492, Columbus's flagship the Santa Maria ran aground north of what is now Limonade; as a consequence, Columbus ordered his men to salvage what they could from the ship, he created the first European settlement in the Americas, naming it La Navidad after the day the ship was destroyed. The island was claimed by Spain, which ruled until the early 17th century.
Competing claims and settlements by the French led to the western portion of the island being ceded to France, which named it Saint-Domingue. Sugarcane plantations, worked by slaves brought from Africa, were established by colonists. In the midst of the French Revolution and free people of color revolted in the Haitian Revolution, culminating in the abolition of slavery and the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte's army at the Battle of Vertières. Afterward the sovereign state of Haiti was established on 1 January 1804—the first independent nation of Latin America and the Caribbean, the second republic in the Americas, the only nation in the world established as a result of a successful slave revolt; the rebellion that began in 1791 was led by a former slave and the first black general of the French Army, Toussaint Louverture, whose military genius and political acumen transformed an entire society of slaves into an independent country. Upon his death in a prison in France, he was succeeded by his lieutenant, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who declared Haiti's sovereignty and became the first Emperor of Haiti, Jacques I.
The Haitian Revolution lasted just over a dozen years. The Citadelle Laferrière is the largest fortress in the Americas. Henri Christophe—former slave and first king of Haiti, Henri I—built it to withstand a possible foreign attack, it is a founding member of the United Nations, Organization of American States, Association of Caribbean States, the International Francophonie Organisation. In addition to CARICOM, it is a member of the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, it has the lowest Human Development Index in the Americas. Most in February 2004, a coup d'état originating in the north of the country forced the resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. A provisional government took control with security provided by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti; the name Haiti comes from the indigenous Taíno language, the native name given to the entire island of Hispaniola to mean, "land of high mountains."
The h is silent in French and the ï in Haïti has a diacritical mark used to show that the second vowel is pronounced separately, as in the word naïve. In English, this rule for the pronunciation is disregarded, thus the spelling Haiti is used. There are different anglicizations for its pronunciation such as HIGH-ti, high-EE-ti and haa-EE-ti, which are still in use, but HAY-ti is the most widespread and best-established; the name was restored by Haitian revolutionary Jean-Jacques Dessalines as the official name of independent Saint-Domingue, as a tribute to the Amerindian predecessors. In French, Haiti's nickname is the "Pearl of the Antilles" because of both its natural beauty, the amount of wealth it accumulated for the Kingdom of France. At the time of European conquest, the island of Hispaniola, of which Haiti occupies the western three-eighths, was one of many Caribbean islands inhabited by the Taíno Native Americans, speakers of an Arawakan language called Taino, preserved in the Haitian Creole language.
The Taíno name for the entire island was Haiti. The people had migrated over centuries into the Caribbean islands from South America. Genetic studies show, they originated in Central and South America. After migrating to Caribbean islands, in the 15th century, the Taíno were pushed into the northeast Caribbean islands by the Caribs. In the Taíno societies of the Caribbean islands, the largest unit of political organization was led by a cacique, or chief, as the Europeans understood them; the island of Haiti was divided among five Caciquats: the Magua in the north east, the Marien in the north west, the Xaragua in the south west, the Maguana in the center region of Cibao and the Higuey in the south east. The caciquedoms were tributary kingdoms, with payment consisting of harvests. Taíno cultural artifacts include cave paintings in several locations in the country; these have become national symbols of tourist attractions. Modern-day Léogane started as a French colonial town in the southwest, is beside the former capital of the caciquedom of Xaragua.