HAITI, republic on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, with a Jewish population of less than 30 persons (2002). Columbus landed there during his first voyage in 1492. In the second half of the 17th century the French gained control of the western part of the island of Hispaniola. By the treaty of Ryswich   in 1607, Spain officially ceded this part of the Hispaniola to France which named it Saint Domingue or Haiti. Individual Jews who left Dutch Brazil in 1654 used their expertise in sugar growing and settled on French plantations but never founded a congregation. The "Black Code" of 1685 ordering the expulsion of the Jews from the French islands caused them to leave Hispaniola. Only Jews holding special "Lettres patentes" could settle there. Most prominent were the members of the Jewish Gradis company, which had offices in Cap Francois (today's Cap Haitien), Sain Louis, Fond de l'isle a Vache, and Leogan. With the required permission, Jews arrived from Bayonne and Bordeaux (including the distinguished Mendes France family). They were joined by Jews from Curaçao, who settled mainly in Cap Francais (where they employed a cantor and a circumciser), Jeremie, Les Cayes, and in smaller numbers in Port au Prince. Jews also came from Jamaica and St. Thomas of the Virgin Islands. All of them were either Dutch, English, or Danish citizens. With the nomination of Jean Baptiste Charles Henry Hector Comte d'Estaing as governor of the French Windward Islands (Isles de Vent), the tolerable, semi-legal existence of the Jews in Haiti was put under the yoke of heavy taxation. Jews had to pay for the financing of infrastructure projects and for the maintenance of the army. An attempt was made to expel the Jews from Cap Francais. In day-to-day life there was no real discrimination. Dr. Michel Lopez de Pas of Leogan was nominated as "Medecin du Roy" (Royal Physician), others were named as judges and to other public functions. Moron, a town of 12,000 in habitants, is named after the Curaçao Jew Simon Isaac Henriquez Moron, who owned a plantation there. The Haitian slave rebellion at the end of the 18th century caused the exodus of the Jews to New Orleans, to other Caribbean islands, or to France. It is almost impossible to estimate the exact number of Jews residing legally or illegally in Haiti in the 18th century. In the 1920s Jews from Syria and Lebanon, later joined by Jews from Germany and Eastern Europe, settled in Haiti. In time they numbered some 30 to 40 families, but no congregation was formed. With the unstable political and economic situation, in the 1990s only five or six families remained. Relations of Haiti with Israel are usually friendly. In the 1970s Israel maintained an embassy in Port au Prince, which was later closed for financial reasons. In the early 21st century relations between the two countries were governed by non-resident ambassadors. Israel's technical cooperation with Haiti is fruitful; Israel helped develop several regions in Haiti. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Z. Loker, "Were there Jewish Communities in Saint Domingue (Haiti)," in: Jewish Social Studies, 45/2 (1983: 135–46); Z. Loker, "Un Juif portugals: fondateur de Moron?," in: Conjonction: Revue Franco-Haitienne, 139 (1978): 85–91; A. Cahen, "Les Juifs dans les colonies francaises au XVII siecle," in: REJ, 4 (1882): 127–45, 238–72; M. Arbell, The Jewish Nation of the Caribbean (2003). (Mordechai Arbell (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Haiti —    Haiti was the second colony in the Americas, after the United States, to win its independence from European control. Initially a Spanish possession peopled in large part by slaves imported from Africa, Haiti was ceded to France in 1697. A… …   Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914

  • Haiti — n. 1. a country on the island of Hispaniola. [WordNet 1.5] 2. an island in the West Indies. Syn: Hispaniola, Hayti. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Haiti — oder San Domingo, nach Cuba die größte Antille zwischen Cuba, Portorico und Jamaica gelegen, etwa 1300 QM. groß mit fast 1 Mill. meist farbiger Einw. Das Cibaogebirge erstreckt sich von W. nach O. und geht nach S. O. in grasreiche Flächen über.… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Haiti — er beliggende på den vestlige trediedel af øen Hispaniola i det Caribiske Hav, øst for Cuba. Landet er en tidligere fransk koloni og var et af de første amerikanske lande, efter USA, som erklærede deres uafhængighed. Hovedstaden er Port au Prince …   Danske encyklopædi

  • Haiti — from Arawak haiti land of mountains, and probably originally the name of the whole island …   Etymology dictionary

  • Haiti — Haiti, s. Hayti …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

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