"Bay kou bliye, pote mak sonje."
He who strikes the blow, forgets; he who bears the bruises, remembers."
-A Haitian proverb


Location in proximity to Florida


Location in Haiti


City limits

Cap-Haïtien (or Le Cap) (pronounced 'Cap-Hay-Shen') is a city of about 275,000 people on the north coast of Haiti.

Pic 14034

"The Capital of the Northern Region", officially and often known by its nickname Au-Cap, is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Northern Haiti. Widely regarded as Haiti's "second city", it is actually the sixth most populous city in Haiti (after Gonaïves), and the most populous city in the Northern Department. Located in a large coastal basin surrounded on three sides by mountains reaching up to and over 6,000 feet (2,000 m), Cap-Haïtien covers an area of about 21 square miles (44 km2). The city is also the seat of Cap-Haïtien Arrondissement, the 7th most populated arrondissement in the country.

Cap-Haïtien is the anchor of Haiti's Northeast Corridor, the geographical region stretching from Cap-Haïtien to Ouanaminthe, with 650,000 inhabitants.

Cap-Haïtien is also the capital of Northern department and Haiti's third most populous state capital. Due to its proximity to wide Caribbean beaches to its northwest, Cap-Haïtien has traditionally been a resort and vacation destination for Haiti's upper classes. In 2013, Cap-Haïtien came in at No. 5 on MondoBlog magazine's, annual top-ten list of the "most beautiful communes" of Haiti.



Historic Map of Le Cap


It is to the east of this city, formerly known as 'Guarico' by the Amerindians, that Christopher Columbus built a fort named La Navidad with the debris of Santa María, shipwrecked on the Christmas Eve of the year 1492. He left behind 39 of his men, who, before the return of Columbus, were all killed by the natives exasperated by their exactions. The fort, which had been burned down, will never be rebuilt and was forgotten until some remains were discovered by a peasant in 1977.

The city of Cap-Haitien was founded in 1670 under the administration of Governor Bertrand d'Orgeron during the French colonial period. The city was founded on what was the Taino village called 'Guarico' by a dozen adventurers under the command of Pierre Lelong. This important city is located on the middle of the north coast of the Plain-du-Nord. Not long after the French took over the western half of the island from Spain it became the colonial capital of the French colony of Haiti (Saint-Dominique). It was recognized as a city by the royal decree of 1711 and soonafter became the economic capital of the colony. It successively bore the name of Cap-Français or Paris de Santo Domingo from the time of the colony, Cap-Henri during the reign of Henri Christophe and Cap-Haïtien after the war of independence. It became known as the richest colony of the 17th century due to it being located in the center of where half of the world’s sugar was produced. This was achieved with heavy exploitation of African slaves imported from Africa. Cap-Francais was known as the 'Paris of the Caribbean' . Raised to the rank of commune in 1804, Cap-Haïtien has three communal sections and a district.

In May 1695, Le Cap was attacked and pillaged by the British, in retaliation for the Jamaica expedition led in 1694 by Jean-Baptiste du Casse.

In 1739, Fort Picolet was built, consisting of two stacked batteries, a walkway and a wall along the coast. Nearby there are other fortifications: Fort Magny (in which General Magny is buried and defended by batterie du Gris-Gris), Fort Belly, Fort-aux-Dames and Fort Saint-Joseph.

The population reached 15,000 inhabitants in 1790 .

The city was burned for the first time from June 21 to 23 1793 during a Franco-French clash between Republican troops and white separatists.

On February 5 or 6, 1802, during the unloading of the Santo Domingo Expedition, General Henri Christophe, facing French military superiority by a scorched earth policy, allegedly unleashed the fire that destroyed the city in its entirety.

The city

The central area of the city is located between the Bay of Cap-Haïtien to the east, and nearby mountainsides to the west, which are increasingly dominated by flimsy urban slums. The streets are generally narrow and arranged in grids. As a legacy of the US occupation of Haiti from 1915-1934, Cap-Haïtien's north-south streets were re-named as single letters (beginning with Rue A, a major avenue), and its east-west streets with numbers. This system breaks down outside of the central city, which is itself dominated by numerous markets, churches, and low-rise apartment buildings (3-4 floors each) constructed primarily before and during the US occupation. Many such buildings have balconies on the upper floors which overlook the narrow streets below, creating a an intimate communal atmosphere during the Haitian dinner hours.

Cap-Haïtien is also the nearest sizeable city to the historic Haitian town of Milot, which lies 12 miles to the south along a gravel road. Milot was Haiti's former capital under the self-proclaimed King Henri Christophe, who ascended to power in 1807, three years after Haiti had gained independence from France. As a result, Milot hosts the ruins of the Sans Souci palace, wrecked in an 1800's-era earthquake, as well as the massive Citadelle Laferrière, an immense stone fortress bristling with cannons. The Citadelle is located five miles from Milot, atop a nearby mountain.



CAP distance 904 Michael Vedrine

Cap-Haïtien is a port city located on the Haiti's northern coast and was considered in the nineteenth century as the Haiti's safest port. The city lies on the west coast of Cap-Haïtien Bay , at the mouth of the Haut-du-Cap River and is dominated by the mountain Morne Jean which rises to 718 meters above sea level. To the west of the agglomeration of Cap-Haïtien lies the deep Acul Bay .

In Cap-Haïtien's suburbs is the city of Vertières where the battle of Vertières took place in 1803.

It is coastal, its dominant relief is the plain and its climate is normal. Its inhabitants bear the name of Capois.


Year Population Change
1790 15,000
1890 35,000
1950 29,190 +95%
1982 64,406 +121%
1992 92,100
1998 128,973 +100%
2003 111,094 -14%
2009 155,505 +29%
2015 274,404 +76%

Rue A

Neighborhoods Edit

CAP Cap-Haïtien 274,404
VCH Ville du Cap-Haïtien 170,994
QPA Quartier de Petit-Anse 98,042
BNO 1ère Section Bande-du-Nord 23,256 Bel-Air, Cormier, Doco, Ducroix, Falaise, Fort-Bely, Georges, Grand-Doco, Labadi, La Fague, Plateau-François, Poirier, Saint-Martin, Vigie.
HCP 2ème Section Haut-du-Cap 150,176 Barière-Bouteille, Bréda, Camp-Fort, Charrier, Fort-Durocher, La Coupe Brada, La Voûte, Patasson, Vertières.
PAS 3ème Section Haut-du-Cap 2,930 Balan, Bruno, Charut, Haut-du-Cap, La Petite Anse, Magaeline.



The small Cap-Haïtien airport, located on the southeast edge of the city, is currently served by several small domestic airlines, and is patrolled by Chilean UN troops. International service to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is provided five days per week by Lynx Air International.



College Notre-Dame

The King Henri Christophe University, a new campus of the State University of Haiti, was inaugurated on January 12 , 2012 in Limonade after more than 17 months of work (first stone laid on July 31, 2010). Funded by the Dominican Republic, it is to host 10,000 students in what will be considered Haiti's most modern university infrastructure. It will consist of several three-story buildings comprising: 72 classrooms for 30 students each, a library, meeting rooms, computer labs, accountants, scientists, as well as academic, administrative and recreational facilities.

There are several other private public universities in Cap-Haïtien. Such as Notre Dame University of Haiti, the Franco-Haitian University of Cap-Haitien, the University King Henri Christophe, Antenor Firmin University, the Public University du Nord - Cap-Haitien, the Faculty of Law, management and economics of Cap-Haïtien, and so many others.

The Ministry of National Education of Youth and Sports is represented in the commune by a departmental directorate. The distribution of schools is as follows: twenty-three Kindergarten, primary schools are 29 public, numerous private, and congregational. At the secondary level, there are 5 public schools and numerous private and congregational schools. In addition, the town of Cap-Haitien contains 8 vocational schools, five 5 private universities and seven other colleges.


The Ministry of Public Health and Population is represented in the commune by a departmental office. As a provincial town, Cap-Haïtien is privileged with regard to health services. It enjoys access to quite satisfactory primary health care. This department is, according to the state results, among the best served in basic health care provision, with a service level above the average.


Regarding water availability, the municipality of Cap-Haïtien has one river, seven springs and a lagoon. The water distribution system built in 1922 and extended throughout the municipality in 1952 is in poor condition: the storage tanks are very old two for example date from 1896 and most are out of service. Other water features include three artesian wells, a number of traditional colonial-type wells, and public fountains with twenty taps and pumps. The entire city of Cap-Haitien is electrified; however, the feeding frequency averages 42 hours per week.


At the level of the administrative and judicial infrastructures, the commune has a police station and two sub-police stations. Information on the penitentiary center is not available. A court of appeal, two peace tribunals and one a registry office were also listed. The city hosts several hundred UN personnel as part of the ongoing United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).


Cap-Haïtien, Haiti



On the side of religion, 44 churches (chapels and temples included) were listed in the City of Cap-Haïtien.


Data on political representations, popular organizations, etc. are not available. Six non-governmental organizations with headquarters in the city of Cap-Haïtien and one international organization have been identified.


In terms of communication, the municipality has a telephone exchange,12 radio stations, 2 television stations and a newspaper / magazine.

Social cohesion

Top four issues that generate conflict in the city:

Sovereignty, poverty, insecurity and crime


Heros de Vertieres; Cap-Haïtien, Haiti


With regard to leisure, the commune of Cap-Haïtien has two libraries, four theaters and five cinemas. The old museum that existed until the 70s-80 no longer exists. The sports practiced are football (soccer), volleyball, basketball, tennis, athletics, judo, and karate, amongst others.

The walled Labadie beach resort compound is located six miles to the city's northwest, and serves as a brief stopover for Royal Caribbean cruise ships. It is connected to Cap-Haïtien via an unimproved and mountainous dirt and gravel road.

Cap Map

Cap Map

Twin towns and Sister CitiesEdit

Cap-Haïtien currently has three sister cities:

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States

Portland, Maine, United States

Columbia, Maryland, United States

Development issuesEdit

Protect the plain against the extension of the city
Protect the historic center
Structuring the growth of the city
Find the river and the coastal strip
Develop port infrastructures
Build the RN1 / RN3 link and a train station
Unclog the entrances of the city

External link Edit

Michael Vedrine