Haiti Local

Grand Goâve (Kreole: Grangwav) is a city in the Western Department of Haiti. Located in the Léogâne Arrondissement, it's location is known as the "Heart of the Southwest". With an estimated population of 136,502 in 2015, it ranks 8th among the eighteen communes of the Western department. The city is also part of a smaller metropolitan statistical area called Region Des Palmes. Grand-Goâve is the one of the oldest cities in Haiti.


Taina Beach; Grand-Goâve, OU, Haiti


Location in Haiti

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Click here to visit the Grand-Goâve Facebook page.

The city of Grand-Goâve has existed since at least the 16th century (1500s). In 1590, the Spanish had built in this place a village they called "Aguava", which was burned two years later. The French restored it and gave it the name of Great-Goave, which is a alteration of the previous. When Grand-Goâve was resettled in 1627, it became the first city founded by the French explorers on the western part of the island.

The city is recognized as the cradle of democracy following the revision of the 1816 constitution establishing Haitian Bicameralism, and recognized the freedom of the press under the aegis of Legislator J.B Sabourin and Chery Artais Pompé. First colonized by the Spanish and then the French, Goâve was split into two cities, Grand-Goâve and Petit-Goâve.

Grand-Goâve borders the Canal de la Gonâve, and features a rustic beach waterfront. The air is healthy, the temperature is dry. The Rivière de Grand Goâve, which once irrigated the many sugar canes and fruit trees of the city, passes to the east of the center of town. It is bridged by Route Nationale 2 to the south and forded by Rue Tonnere to the east.

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The city of Grand-Goâve was founded in 1604 and was granted municipal status in 1687. Its origin is linked to that of Petit-Goâve since the two cities were one under the Spanish occupation and before the French found Petit-Goâve. Grand Goâve is the birthplace of Andre-Jean Simon who was minister under President Geffrard.

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View of the bay from Grand-Goâve heights

• In 1799, The armies of Toussaint-Louverture and Riguad met again. On the 15th of August, Riguad formed three columns of his army; the right one, consisting of 400 men, was entrusted to Colonel Faubert; this unit had to penetrate the woods of the Thauzin plantation, taking the enemy in line, after shooting up the place.

The one on the left, composed also of 400 men under the orders of General Geffrard, was to attack the right wing of the enemy along the seashore. General Andre Riguad, at the head of the center column, composed of 1,000 men, was to advance by the high road. He gave the order to attack at four o'clock in the afternoon.

The Northern Army had a front stretching from the Thauzin Woods to the ravage. Riguad flung himself impetuously at his center. The grenadiers of Dessalines fell, but sustained weak enemy fire.

Riguad redoubled his fury. Dessalines, in the front row, sustained the shock. Suddenly the Les Cayes regiment sang the "Marseillaise", the other corps responded to their enthusiasm; the bayonnet column rushed forward on the Northern army which, terrified, scattered, abandoned the battlefield, and crossed the Grand-Goâve River in disorder.

However, the regiment of Sans-Culottes du Nord, composed of 2,000 men, remained energetically in the canes of Thauzin. Riguad launched against them Lieutenant-Colonel Compas at the head of 200 grenadiers. Compas made a single discharge on the Sans-Culottes, and tackled them by bayonet. He was knocked down, holding a bullet. The melee became grim. 

Finally, Gabart Vaillant, who commanded the Sans-Culottes, was obliged to abandon the position and retreat to Grand-Goave. Compas, seriously injured, was transported to the ambulance. From the beginning of the action, Geffrard had defeated the right wing of Dessalines along the shore. Riguad had been wounded in the hand during the fight.

1,400 men from the south had just put to flight 10,000 men from the north. The first had lost 200 men and the second 1,000. Riguad would have been invincible if he had remained always at the head of his troops. Faubert went astray during the night with his column in the Thauzin woods and fell among the enemy battalions. From both sides there was a terrible carnage between the two troops who, in the darkness, slaughtered each other without recognizing each other. At a certain point, he was taken, but one of his officers, Jean-Louis Francois, would deliver him. At eleven o'clock in the evening, he fell back on Thauzin, and, Dessalines. Riguad ordered him to return to Thauzin, where his army was assembled, and went to Les Cayes, where his pleasures were still called.

Dessalines came to reoccupy Grand-Goâve. Toreau, who replaced Riguad, in front of the lack of food where his soldiers were, came out of Thauzin, again tumbled Dessalines, who was again obliged to abandon Grand-Goâve, and to remove from Papette that he fortified. The troops of the South found in Grand-Goave a quantity of provisions that the enemy had been forced to give up.

The two armies fought more battles, although less important.

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Grand-Goave, Haiti

• After the evacuation of Jacmel, the garrison of this city went to Grand-Goave. The Southern soldiers of Jacmel were warmly greeted by cheers. The Southern Army was considerably weakened. The figure could be estimated at 900 men. It was them versus 30,000 men led by Dessalines, the most daring of the generals of the time.

• On the evening of April 28, 1800, Dessaline's army left his camp at Bellevue, stopped at Claville, then the next day to Chéridan, and May 1st to Grand-Goave. Colonel Renaud Desruisseaux carried them to the ridge of the 5th Regiment of the South, and, encircling the vanguard of the North, defeated them. Dessalines then gathered all his flocks and threw them against the Riguadins. Renaud Desruisseaux vigorously sustainy the shock of these innumerable masses, but he was struck by a bullet at the head. His battalion, however, made an honorable retreat by taking away his leader who kept giving orders. The 5th retired to Grand Goave. Tight on all sides, the Riguadins destroyed all fortifications of the village which they abandoned after having delivered it to the flames. Dessalines entered Grand-Goâve on May 2nd and continued walking immediately. He rested on the Valué habitation.

• In 1802, Congé, un homme de couleur, put himself at the head of a band of farmers from the Grand-Goâve heights during the fight against the French. Congé was an experienced battalion commander in the troops of Riguad during the civil war against Toussaint-Louverture. He had come under the authority of Lamour Dérance, who had, like him, fought against Toussaint.

• On June 2nd, 1816, the Constitution of the Republic of Haiti of 1806 was revised at Grand-Goâve:

• The first citizen who has represented the commune of Grand-Goâve in the first Chambre of Commons, instituted in 1817, was Desnoyers jeune, who was one of the secretaries.


Grand-Goâve is located at 18.4248° N, 72.7703° W.

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Agape Island, off the coast of Grand-Goave

According to the IHSI, the Grand-Goâve city limits enclose a geographical region with a total land area of 242.79 square kilometers (93.74 mi²); 197.79 km² (81%) of it is rural, 43.47 km² (18%) of it is suburban and the remaining 1.5 km² (1%) is urban. Grand-Goâve is the 34th largest commune by land area in the Republic and the ninth largest of the eighteen communes in the Western Department. Grand-Goâve is located at the head of Grand-Goâve Bay, with the Grand-Goâve River running into the bay through past the center of the city. Greenspace and riverwalks line the river's banks by downtown.

The city's northern waterfront, away from the downtown core, is the location of several beach houses, villas, and resorts. The remaining boundaries are on the east by Léogâne, on the southeast by Jacmel, on the south by the town of Jacmel Valley, on the southwest by Bainet, and on the west by Petit-Goâve.

Grand Goave Map

Grand-Goâve Communal Map


GGV Grand-Goâve 136,502
VGG Ville de Grand-Goâve Urban 42,482
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Ville de Grand-Goave

TAB 1ère Section Tête-à-Boeuf Rural section 6,476 Abraham, Deschamp, Gentil, Glaise, Grand Caille, Mayotte, Nan Bonhomme, Tapion, Thosin, Thozin, Ticoma, Vieux Caille
TBF 2ème Section Tête-à-Boeuf Rural 10,262 Ca Avril, Décan, Decouvert, Dentiste, Grande-Ravine, Grande-Savane, Grand-Fond, Laporte, Mare Rouge, Nan Joute, Nan Palé, Picore, Pipiche, Tête-Boeuf, Vali
Maison a dufour 111318

Section Tête-à-Boeuf

MOU 3ème Section Moussambé 3,360 Rural Ca Georges, Etienne, Gori, La Brousse, Sory
MSB 4ème Section Moussambé Rural 6,767 Béraud, Béreau, Caille Bodin, Cilègue, Dano, Dupera, Lapal
GDC 5ème Section Grande Colline Rural 5,164 Bois Cochon, Colinette, David, Fond-Baptiste, Gérard, Hess, Lompré, Martel
GCO 6ème Section Grande Colline Rural 4,594 Bodin, Bourdon, Chéridant, Clavi, Gérard, Gilbert
Meyer 1

Section Grande-Colline

GER 7ème Section Gérard Rural 57,397 Bois Néguesse, Bonhomme, Buteau, Carrefour Fauché, Charles, Dent-Puce, Dimini, Diny, Fauché, Grand-Trou, Gros-Chaudière, Gros-Jacques, Larot, La Vange, Mayombé, Mosemberg, Picolet, Rapette, Soulager, Ti Paradis
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Fauche Beach

The relief of the city consists of plains and that of the communal sections is of mountainous terrain. Its climate varies according to the place where one is.

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Pont Grand-Goâve - Fauche

GGV MtoF ration

Demography The inhabitants are called Grand-Gôaviens / Grand-Gôaviennes.

Year Population +/-
1890 10,000
1950 38,078
1971 49,184
1982 53,024
1998 65,951
2000 107,000
2003 49,288
2009 124,135 +90%
2015 136,502 +10%


The ground consists of rock crystal and clay.


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Traffic jam along Route Nationale 2, Grand-Goave, Haiti

Grand-Goâve is a center of business and trade.

Several economic and financial infrastructures are located in Grand-Goâve, more so than other communes in the department. It has hotels and restaurants, attracting capital, business, and tourists. This capacity to attract financial and institutional support helped Grand-Goâve structure its place among of the Community of Municipalities known as the Region Des Palmes.

Other important amenities include credit unions, gas stations, pharmacies, a photocopier, hair salon and photo studio. Horticulture accounts for a significant but deciding share of employment. Food gathering is an industry that utilizes more than numerous occupants.

Coffee is Grand-Goâve's leading specialty-food export, with up to 2,000,000 pounds worth of exports each year, at its peak. Other exports include cotton, logwood, jugs, clay pipes, cachimbo, and biscuits. Its exports out of Petit-Goâve, the only port open in the borough, and Port-au-Prince.

Subsistence farming and fishing remain the most practiced activities of the Grand-Goâviens. Regarding a municipality that is mainly mountainous, it is traditionally familial agriculture for food production (congo peas, maize, pearl millet, yam, and beans). The products are not processed but consumed or sold in the markets located near the RN2 (Sentra market) or in town.

Small trade and small crafts (construction materials, food, everyday products, etc.) – largely informal – is very present in urban areas. Beach tourism is also developed. Some hotels or restaurants are very frequented.


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Route Nationale 2 at Grand-Goâve


Lycee National Fito Garcia de Grand Goave 724

Lycee National Fito Garcia de Grand-Goâve

The Ministry of National Education of Youth and Sports is not represented in the municipality of Grand-Gôave.More than Two kindergarten, several primary schools, more than five secondary schools and one vocational school were counted.

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Primary school at Grand-Goâve


The Ministry of Public Health and Population is not represented in the municipality of Grand-Gôave. A hospital (HGG), a clinic, and three dispensaries were inventoried. Medical staff consists of nine physicians, a dentist, two nurses and five assistants.


The municipality of Grand-Goave has a river, 43 springs, six traditional wells and public fountains equipped with eight taps and a dozen pumps. The City of Grand-Goave and part of the 1st and 7th communal sections are electrified by means of an electric motor. The feeding frequency is 84 hours per week.


With regard to the Administrative and Judicial Infrastructures, the commune has a police station, a court of Peace and a registry office.

Grand-Goâve is under the financial administration of Petit-Goâve, the military and school inspection of Léogâne and the jurisdiction of the civil court of Port-au-Prince.


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LEFT: A typical historic house in Grand-Goâve; RIGHT: Grand-Goâve Central Park


Nearly 100 Churches (Chapels and Temples included) have been inventoried in the commune of Grand-Gôave. The Pentecostal churches (46) turn out to be more numerous.


The Lodge of the Orient of Grand-Goave, under the Grand Orient of Haiti is located in the commune. It is called No°33.

Plant with a purpose. It's local partner Floresta Ayiti aims at transforming the lives of rural farming families through environmental restoration, economic empowerment, and spiritual renewal.

The commune also has two senior clubs (ASGG / Inter GG), several junior clubs like AGEFOOT, UNIONFOOT and ASPP.

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Taina Beach - Grand-Goave, Haiti


A telephone office exists with a limited number of employees.

The commune has a postal office and the distribution of mail for the city is done by bicycle or on foot.

There are radio stations located in the city. There is a high-performance communication network with around 7 radios and two TV channels such as SAKA radio, TV Radio Caciquat (TRAC FM), Radio Aguava FM, radio democracy, Creation FM, and Zanset FM. It has no newspaper / magazine.

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Football (soccer field) Grand-Goave, Haiti


As for Leisure, the Municipality of Grand-Gôave has no Library, museum, theater, nor cinema. Football (soccer) is the sport practiced in the municipality. There is a park (Parc Ferrus) for the practice of soccer, it is in fair condition. In addition, three night clubs, 29 gaguères, three public places, beaches and a notorious vodun temple have been listed in the town.



Grand-Goave [1]

Des Palmes [2] [3]


Arrondissements and Communes - [5]

La campagne, comme la ville, est émancipatrice - [6]

Michael Vedrine