"For our country, for our forefathers, united let us March.
Let there be no traitors in our ranks!
Let us be masters of our soil.
United let us march
For our country, for our forefathers." -Extract from the Haitian national anthem, La Dessalinienne, written by Justin Lhérisson and Nicolas Geffrard in 1904.
Gonaïves (Kreyol: Gonayiv) is a city in northern Haiti, the capital and most populous city of Artibonite department and of the Gonaïves Arrondissement. With 356,324 people (as of 2016), Gonaïves is the fifth most populous city nationwide, and the second most populous state capital in Haiti.By its strategic position and its participation in the Haitian Revolution, the city is recognized as the "Cradle of Independence". Every January 1st sees the parade of government authorities, to celebrate the day of independence. The population, estimated at about 400,000 inhabitants, makes it the third largest city in the country. It is sometimes known as Haiti's "Independence city" because it was there that Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Haiti's independence on January 1, 1804. Gonaïves Arrondissement is a crucial part of Haiti's Artibonite Department. It has faced a lot of challenges over the years but it remained strong. Located in the northern part of the country and 110 kilometers from the national capital of Port-au-Prince, Gonaives is an agricultural municipality. Cotton, sugar, coffee, mango, banana and cabinet wood are among its most common produce.
Gonaïves is the anchor of the Gonaïves metropolitan area, which in turn is a part of the Artibonite River Valley. The metropolitan area is the 2nd largest by population in the Haiti, with approximately 452,704 people as of 2010. In addition, Gonaïves is the seat of Gonaïves Arrondissement and, at 222 square miles (574 km2), it is the largest commune in the department, more than twice the size and one of the largest communes in the Haiti.
Settled in 1422 as an agricultural community near the mouth of the La Quinte River, Gonaïves incorporated as a city in 1738. Situated on a natural harbor, Gonaïves became the capital of Artibonite Department, as well as the commercial hub and port of the fertile Artibonite Plain. Located in the northwestern reaches of the Gulf Coast, Gonaïves has a local steppe climate. A steppe is a dry, grassy plain. Steppes are semi-arid, meaning they receive 10-20 inches (25 to 50 cm) of rain each year. Despite this, its agricultural sector led to a thriving farming community, many of the original crops remaining important parts of the Gonaïves economy for decades, such as spinach, corn, rice, bananas & plantains, papayas, and onions (including shallots). These industries remained the driving forces of the city, making Gonaïves' hot summers more bearable.
The city of Gonaïves was founded in 1422 by Indians who named it Gonaibo which meant a [locality of] Caciquat de la Jaragua. It is a historic city by its evolution and its characteristics. Moreover, it is there that Dessalines had proclaimed the Independence of Haiti on January 1, 1804. A century later, on January 1, 1904, it was the seat of the commemoration of the centenary of Independence.
Built in 1738, the city is now called "City of Independence"; in 1738, Gonaives was officially established as a parish. And in 1740, two years later, a church was built and dedicated to Saint-Charles and Saint-Mathurin. In 1744, the town of Gonaïves had only approximately 50 houses. In 1770, Gonaïves became a consistent agglomeration with a church, a rectory, a public square, a cemetery, and the local guard. On the eve of the Revolution of 1771, Gonaives had a population of approximately 10,700 inhabitants, divided into 940 white, 750 freedmen and 9000 slaves.
In August 1792, Gonaïves fell under the control of the Spaniards with Toussaint Louveture joining the latter. But a year later, in December 1793, Gonaïves was returned to France when Toussaint Louverture left the Spanish camp.
Despite the importance of Cap-Haïtien as the main city and capital of the colony, Toussaint chose Gonaïves as his strategic retreat location for his army. It was from Gonaïves he left in 1796 to rescue the governor Laveaux imprisoned in Au Cap by supporters of mulatto General Vilatte, in 1797 to force Commissioner Sonthonax out of the colony, in 1798 to go to dislodge French General Hédouville, and in 1800 to carry his battle in the South against his rival, General André Rigaud.
In February 1802, French troops under General Rochambeau set to take control of the city, which was guarded by Haitian Commander Vernet. When General Toussaint Louverture got words of the French troops approaching, he quickly positioned his troops at Ravine-à-Couleuvres, near the town of LaCroix Perisse, just miles away from Gonaïves and valiantly engaged the French army. A bloody and lengthy struggle ensued and Toussaint was able to keep the French army from entering the city of Gonaïves long enough for General Vernet to set that city on fire before the latter fled with his troops to another strategic location. That was known at the Snake Gully Battle or Battle of Ravine-à-Couleuvres.
On June 6, 1802 Gonaïves witnessed one of the saddest events of Haitian history; It was in Gonaïves that Toussaint Louverture was arrested hours earlier on Habitation Georges. As he walked through the streets of Gonaïves to the frigate "Le Creole" that took the general to Cap-Haïtien, some of Toussaint's family was onboard waiting for him. He then embarked on the frigate "Le Hero", to France.
It is also through Gonaïves that the second phase of the War of Independence began. Having escaped an ambush in Petite Rivière de l'Artibonite on October 23, 1802, Dessalines who quickly took possession the fortress La Crête-à-Pierrot, subsequently joined General Vernet, Colonel Gabart and insurgents Comus and John Labarrière in the city of Gonaïves. There, they planned their next offensive against the French troops
On January 1st 1804, Jean-Jacques Dessalines surrounded by his generals and the indigenous army proclaimed Haiti’s independence from France at the Gonaïves' Place d’Armes, by reading the Act of Independence, drafted by Boisrond Tonnerre. Therefore, Gonaïves had the patriotic honor of witnessing the greatest event in history, that of the birth of the First Free Black Nation in the world ever. For that Gonaïves inherited the name of The Birthplace of Haiti's Independence.
In his Gazetteer of Haiti published in 1891, Semexant Rouzier reports that, "the Act of Independence was written and signed on Vernet's property in Gonaïves. The house until recently recently belongs to the Legros family." Precious relics which had been kept in this family - "the old brass candlestick that was used for as lighting by Boisrond Tonnerre and an old table with a broken foot, on which this memorable act was written .. " disappeared when the house caught fire in 1864.
Haiti's first First Lady, Marie-Claire Heureuse Félicité, widow of Emperor Jean-Jacques Dessalines died in Gonaïves on August 8, 1858 and was buried there as well. Her tombstone is located in the Rue Vernet's side of the cemetery, just feet away from Rue Lamatiniere.
The 1858 insurrection of Gonaïves was one of the highlights of this turbulent city's history. Preceded by confabulations and conspiratorial efforts, a revolutionary committee formed by Joseph Lamothe, Fenelon Geffrard, Legros (father) , E. Magny, Aimé Legros and Normil Sambour was formed to fight against the dictatorship of Faustin Soulouque and the restoration of the Republic. Responding to the appeal committee, General Fabre Geffrard, the Army Chief of Staff arrived clandestinely by sea in Gonaïves to take the lead on December 20. Two days later, the revolution was officially declared . It also rallied the Artibonite Department and the whole Northern Haiti. Three weeks later, the restoration of Republic, as well as the restoration of the Constitution of 1846 was proclaimed and Geffrard was appointed to president. Soulouque vowed to fight the rebellion and marched against them, but his troops disbanded at the first contact, and January 15, Geffrard entered triumphantly to the capital.
1879 was a very eventful year for Gonaïves, which had three attempts at insurrection: 1.) On February 7, Mont Morency Benjamin attempted to take possession of the city, but was driven away by the population; 2.) On July 3, General Hériston Hérissé in Gonaïves rebelled against Boisrond Canal, who was already overwhelmed by an inextricable political crisis; shortly after, Canal resigned; 3.) On the first days of August, the Bazelaisiste Liberals, defeated in Port-au-Prince, were chased away and landed in Gonaïves, where they believed they could count on the help of many friends. General Jean Jumeau and Hérissé, who received order from the provisional government to repel the Liberals, drove them out of the city. Gonaïves was burned down in that occasion.
On October 2, 1888 Hippolyte arrived in Gonaïves in a German boat. The city cheerfully welcomed him. The resistance was organized. It was the starting point of a new division of Haiti. At first, the city, due to its geostrategical location, played an important role in the initiation of the new northern state and in the conduct of the action against the West. Gonaïves hosted (on November 13, 1888) the dissidents who refused to endorse decisions of the Constituent Assembly that elects Legitime and proclaimed the Constitution of 1888. The civil war ended in favor of the North in 1889 and Gonaïves was designated as the seat of the Constituent Assembly, which was to draft the Constitution of 1889.
On September 2, 1902 after the Haitian rebel ship Crête-à-Pierrot hijacked the German steamer Markomannia in the Port of Cap-Haïtien and seized weapons destined for the Haitian government of Nord Alexis; Offended, Germany sent their warship The Panther to Haiti. The Panther found the rebel ship, La Crête-à-Pierrot, in Gonaïves. Richard Eckermann, the German commander of the warship The Panther, ordered La Crête-a-Pierrot to surrender, but in a heroic and patriotic act, Admiral Hamerton Killick, commander of the Haitian warship La Crête-à-Pierrot, evacuated his crew and blew up the Crête-à-Pierrot instead of surrounding it to the German warship The Panther.
In 1904, the Musée du Centenaire (Mémorial de l’Indépedance) was inaugurated in Gonaïves to commemorate the nation’s first century of independence.
During the American occupation of Haiti, the city witnessed with honor the presence of a good contingent of nationalists on its soil. This includes Raymond Cabêche, a representative (député) for Pilate in 1915, which in a dramatic move of an outraged patriot threw official insignia the floor of the House after the vote of the Haïtian-American Convention; Dr. Justin Latortue, Mayor of Gonaïves in 1921, also signaled its nationalist passion. It was one of 11 senators elected in 1930 who formed the opposition majority to the "Grand Corps", but whose fate was sealed by a coup d'etat by President Vincent in 1935.
The resurgence of Gonaïves political action was occurred mainly after 1946. The movement that led to the fall of the Elie Lescot on January 11, 1946 found social and political buzz in Gonaïves and Dr. Justin Latortue was an important figure.
In 1950, it wass Gonaïves, by the clergy and its bourgeoisie, that gave impetus to the candidacy of Colonel Paul Magloire to the presidency. In return, Magloire gave Gonaïves the privilege of hosting the Constitutional Convention of 1950. In the fall of Magloire in 1956, the people of Gonaïves, faithful to the memory Estimated seduced by the speech “NOIRISTE” gave an enthusiastic welcome to François Duvalier. This is where Duvalier was formed the bastion.
The city that attended the meetings of the insurgents on January 1, 1804 before the altar of the Motherland to declare independence and grant Jean-Jacques Dessalines the supreme authority. The official act was drawn up and signed at the Vernet dwelling. Dessalines' secretary, Louis Boisrond Tonnerre, passed on to posterity, pronouncing the following tirade: "To draw up the birth certificate of our liberty, we need the skin of a white man for parchment, his skull for writing, and for pen a bayonet ". Today, at the corner of the Rue Liberté and Rue Toussaint Louverture, is the memorial of independence. The city was twice, in 1889 and 1950, seat of the Constituent Assembly which would write the constitution of these years.
In 1961 or 1962, the population in a fury lynched a macoute by the name Big Fefe who killed a Gonaïvien named Emmanuel Jules Denis, resident of the troubled neighborhood of Raboteau.
Gonaïves also literally witnessed the first dechoucage in 1972. "Dechoucage" means to extirpate or pull out from its roots. Residences of the Delva brothers, Prophet and Zacharie, were ransacked and looted.
It is in Gonaïves again that the movement to overthrow the Duvalier dictatorship began, following the riots of May 21 to 24, 1984. And the following year, in November 1985, it is from Gonaïves that the final episode of the anti-Duvalier rebellion unfolded before spreading other cities.
On Thursday, November 28, 1985 during an anti-government manifestation in Gonaïves, armed forces loyal to Duvalier shot killed 3 teenagers (Jean Robert Cius, Mackenson Michel and Daniel Israel), who are dubbed the 3 martyrs to the struggle for dignity and freedom. With the death of these 3 students, the popular uprising simply intensified with frequent looting and ransacking of government buildings in Gonaïves and other cities until the departure of Jean-Claude Duvalier on February 7, 1986.
On April 22, 1994, during the military dictatorship that came to power after a coup against Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a group of Aristide supporters were beaten and killed by civilians and paramilitary forces in Raboteau, a populous neighborhood of the city (including the Front for Progress and Progress of Haiti, FRAPH).
In the early 2000s, Gonaïves was the scene of substantial rioting and violence primarily motivated by opposition to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. On 21 September 2003, following the assassination of rebel leader Amiot Métayer by the ruling power, a rebellion began in the city. Then, it gained ground and an armed opposition led by Buteur Métayer, Amiot's own brother, regrouped in a Front for Liberation and National Reconstruction which led to the departure of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide February 29, 2004. And on February 5, 2004, a group calling itself the Revolutionary Artibonite Resistance Front seized control of the city, starting the 2004 Haitian rebellion that ousted Aristide. Because of the 2 aforementioned successful uprisings, which started or found ground in Gonaïves, the city is often nicknamed, City of Freedom, City of the Braves, or City of Resistance.
In the same year, September 18, 2004, the City of Independence of Haiti has experienced the darkest hours, the most catastrophic of its existence [ref. necessary], due to the passage of a cyclone. Approximately 2,000 people died when Tropical Storm Jeanne unleashed torrential rain on northeastern Haiti, triggering devastating floods and mudslides in Gonaïves. The city was totally destroyed by Hurricane Jeanne, which has bereaved Haitian families and destroyed more 80% of houses. The city has recorded enormous and incalculable losses.
In September 2008, four years later, the city was again devastated by a series of storms, mainly Hurricanes Hanna and Ike, which killed over 500 people, mostly in flooded sections of Gonaïves. According to then Gonaïves Mayor, Stephen Topa Moise, at least 48,000 people from the Gonaïves area were forced into shelters due to the that catastrophe.
The climate in Gonaïves is referred to as a local steppe climate. During the year there is little rainfall. In Gonaïves, the average annual temperature is 26.4 °C. The rainfall here averages 536 mm.
The least amount of rainfall occurs in December. The average in this month is 6 mm. Most of the precipitation here falls in June, averaging 95 mm (4 in).
The temperatures are highest on average in July, at around 27.7 °C (82F). January is the coldest month, with temperatures averaging 24.5 °C (76F).
The variation in the precipitation between the driest and wettest months is 89 mm. Throughout the year, temperatures vary by 3.2 °C (38F).
The flag of the city of Gonaïves is composed of two horizontal stripes, yellow at the top and green at the bottom, in the middle is a vertical white band on which the picture of a conch is drawn. Green represents the color of the rice in the rice fields, the yellow represents the rice which is ripe. The bench symbolizes sea salt from the Gonaives region.
Gonaives is a city with hot springs located on a salty land overlooking the Bay of Gonaives. The port city of Gonaïves is also a crossroads leading to Cap-Haïtien, Port-de-Paix, and Hinche via Saint-Michel-de-l'Attalaye. The relief of the city is dominated by plains. Its climate varies from normal to warm, depending on the period. The population of the commune was estimated at 130,122 in 1998 and more than tripled in 2015. At 5 square miles, Downtown Gonaïves has a density of 55,718 per Sq. mi. (21,579 per km2)
|VGV||Ville des Gonaïves||278,584|
|QPB||Quartier Petite Rivière de Bayonnais||2,496|
|PTM||1ère Section Pont Tamarin||17,809|
|BSS||2ème Section Bassin||11,199|
|PRB||3ème Section Petite Rivière Bayonnais||20,654|
|POX||4ème Section Poteaux||14,949|
|LAB||5eme Section Labranle||10,633|
Hurricanes and floods are common in Gonaives as it is situated in a valley with many hills and mountains surrounding it. Not only that, it is also adjacent to the Caribbean Sea. Different natural disasters have already wreaked havoc in the town. In September, a tropical storm named Jeanne hit Gonaïves, killing over 2,500 people. The storm triggered floods and mudslides that affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
The river La Quinte, which bypasses the city of Gonaives from the east, is regularly responsible for the catastrophic floods that flood the city, causing major damage and loss of life. This river receives the waters of several important tributaries (Bayonnais, Ennery, La Branle rivers, Head Source.) For several years, projects of rehabilitation of this watercourse are started, with curettage, canalization, consolidation of the banks and widening bed.
Gonaïves also felt the lash of three storms - Gusta, Hanna and Ike. This series of calamity led to the deaths of 530 people and affected a total of 50,000 residents. Though Gonaives was not that affected by the devastating earthquake in 2010, it still struggled with the disaster's aftermath. More than 35,000 people were forced to go to the city in order to receive medical and housing assistance. This made it difficult for hospitals in the area to cope with the rush of people in need of treatment. Also, Gonaïves' resources were not enough to provide assistance to everyone as it has yet to recover from the effects of a previous hurricane.
Regarding Economic and Financial Infrastructures, nine hotels, twelve restaurants, three banks, five caisses populaires and two marketing cooperatives were counted in this commune.
The Ministry of Education of Youth and Sports is represented in the municipality by a departmental directorate. The person in charge is a director in charge of the supervision of the activities concerning him. The distribution of primary schools is 32 public, numerous private and two congregational. At the secondary level, there are two public schools, many private and three congregational.
Gonaïves has some training centers of which the Université Publique de l'Artibonite aux Gonaïves (UPAG); and The Law and Economics School of Gonaïves.
Gonaives is home to the recently renovated La Providence Hospital.
The Ministry of Public Health and Population is represented in the commune by a departmental directorate. As a health facility, there are four health centers without beds, three health centers with beds, five dispensaries and a hospital. In addition, (23) doctors, a dentist, 26 nurses, 64 auxiliaries and two laboratory technicians provide the health service at the commune level.
Regarding water availability, information is not available for Goanïves. Other water points included three artesian wells, 10 kiosks with nearly two thousand (2000) taps. Water taps is the most used, it is for domestic use. A large part of the town is electrified. The Electricity of Haiti (EDH) which is the institution responsible for the distribution of electrical energy in the municipality provides an average of 130 hours / week.
At the level of Administrative and Judiciary Infrastructures, the commune has a police station and four Sub-Commissariats. Information on the existing penitentiary center in the Commune is not available.
Nearly 113 temples of all beliefs have been counted in this commune. These denominations are: Catholic, Episcopal, Baptist, Adventist, Pentecostal, Churches of God, Wesleens, and Jehovah's Witness.
Eight political parties, six grassroots organizations, two peasant groups, three women's groups and an international organization were counted at the commune of Gonaïves.
In terms of communication, seven radio stations, two newspapers / magazines and three television stations were recorded.
Regarding leisure, the town is quite well equipped. The gagueres are (23). For the entertainment venues, two theaters, one soccer pitch, five volleyball courts (mostly located in schools in the city) were registered and eight night clubs.
Concerning the cultural heritages, five monuments and sites were enumerated at the level of the commune. Finally, it should be noted that the municipality of Gonaïves is one of the municipalities that has well-known places recognized both in the country and abroad.
In terms of musical performance, there are groups that exist sporadically. The Kind Branch of Geffrard and St Rose are the two oldest carnival groups in the city of Gonaïves.
SportGonaives has some major league teams of which Eclair AC and Racing FC (Gonaives).
Sténio Vincent Park, commonly known as Parc-Vincent, and the Morne Blanc sports center are the places where teams from the city, namely the Racing Football Club and the Eclair Athletic Club, host other sports clubs from other cities of the world. country.
Currently, the Gonaïves Racing Football Club and the Eclair Athletic Club are the two Gonaivian teams participating in the national first division tournament. After spending nearly a decade in the lower division, Eclair Athletic Club advanced to the first division of the national championship at the end of 2017.
After the 1988 Red Eagle, which was crowned national champion, Racing won its first national championship on December 24, 2008, a few months after hurricanes Hanna and Ike hit the city. On May 29, 2016, the yellow and blue team took a second national title at the expense of the Football Inter Club Association (FCIA) thanks to a goal from Steevenson Guillaume in the 52nd minute in the final return to the sports center Morne Blanc fluently called Miguel St. John Park. This second title was obtained without any defeat recorded at Parc Miguel Saint-Jean, the playground where Racing has welcomed the visiting teams since its opening. The 2016 season was fabulous for Racing, which also won the championship title, still at the expense of FICA with another goal by Guillaume Steevenson, a Racing player in the country's under-20 selection. Thanks to his second title, the Gonaïvian club participates in the CONCACAF Champions League for the year 2017 and has already won the only place available in its group for the second phase of the competition.
Places and monuments
- The cathedral Saint-Charles-Borromée
- The port of Gonaïves was once used to ship agricultural products from the Artibonite plain such as coffee, rice, cotton, sugar cane and guaiac wood. Around the harbor, the fishing village with its alignment of "boat-country" and the construction of lobster traps.
- The Vodun Sanctuaries of Gonaïves
Vodun sanctuaries in the region of Gonaïves where great ceremonies are held dedicated to the spirits of the royal family of Dahomey; songs, dances, sacrifices of oxen and goats are in the game.
|VGV||Ville des Gonaïves||Urban||278,584|
|QPB||Quartier Petite Rivière de Bayonnais||Urban||2,496|
|PTM||1ère Section Pont Tamarin||Urban
|Aufilier, Bélance, Bigot, Bois Marchand, Bongris, Cadet, Casoleil, Chatelain, Cocherel, Déronville, Des Cahos, Descordes, Desmurailles, Dessources, Dolant, Gatereau, Georges, Grammon, Guimbi, Jacquet, Les Dattes, Le Tiro, Mandrin, Marotte, Nandrin, Nan Piquet, Savane-Désolée, Savane-Jong, Souvenance, Tarras, Terre-Salée, Ti Coupe-Nandrin, Trois-Ponts, Yon|
|BSS||2ème Section Bassin||Urban
|Bassin, Carrefour Coutant, Carrefour Joffre, Colonne, Décossière, Dédin, Désiré, Duclerac, Fond Grangeur, Grande-Savane, Jean-Jules, Laferrière, La Hatte-Rocher, Lano, La Pierre, Mare-Colas, Marose, Mataka, Michel, Morin, Nan Chame, Nan Sedren, Odino, Phaeton, Ramper, Vieux Cabrouet.|
|PRB||3ème Section Petite-Rivière-de-Bayonnais||Urban
|Annivert, Barrade, Batardo, Bayonnais, Bois Saint-Martin, Bouilli, Cachotte, Ca Lacoupe, Canalle, Castor, Champelot, Chapelet, Chapelle, Cilo, Clavin, Coquillot, Croissy, Danache, Descodes, Docine, Fond-la Coupe, Fond-Morel, Forestier, Foucade, Gasse, Grande-Source, Guibert, Guimbi, Jean Charles, Jean-Nite, Lacet, La Couleuvre, La Coupe Pintade, Lagon-Bazile, La Source, Laurent, Margot, Medecignin, Odigé, Oranger, Petite Rivière Bayonnais, Phaeton, Saint-Martin, Sarazin, Saut-d'Eau, Savane-Pangnol, Savane-Ronde, Seguin, Terre-Rouge, Ti Coupe|
|POX||4ème Section Poteaux||Rural||14,949||André, Badon-Marchan, Bois Boulé, Brésson, Chevalier, Coutant, Derrière-l'Etang, Deux-Barrières, Dubedou, Duquesnin, Funel, La Coupe, Les Poteaux, Madame-Charle, Mapou, Prunelle, Sanse, Terre-Blanche, Terre-Sonnain, Tête Canal.|
|LAB||5eme Section Labranle||Rural||10,633||Auguste, Bassin-Figuier, Bauvrai, Bodin, Bois Pin, Boulaile, Brunette, Cadette, Calebassier, Ca Robert, Castanette, Corossol, Couveret, Derrière-Morne, Dolant, Doucement, Dubois, Duperrier, Fond-Chatelin, Fond-Nicole, Fond-Sanse, Gouillomet, Gounotte, Guillaume, Imbo, Jean-Noel, Jean-Pierre, Mare-Printemps, Maro, Mérac, Nan Bois, Ramier, Roche-Plate, Vedrine.|
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