A long time ago someone told me a story which is very unclear.

They said that Haiti got the name from the American Civil War after the slave trade when the slaves occupied the country it was or something like that. I think I remember Haiti's previous name being El something.

Does anyone know the in depth story as to how Haiti got its name?

  • wikipedia's article on Haiti, third sentence in. voted to close Aug 6, 2013 at 23:21

1 Answer 1


First, Haiti achieved independence in 1804, way before the US Civil-War. Haiti was originally called Saint-Domingue

Wikipedia says that name was originally "Ayiti" as derived from Taíno and African languages

At the end of the double battle for emancipation and independence, former slaves proclaimed the independence of Saint-Domingue on 1 January 1804,[26] declaring the new nation be named "Ayiti", both a Native American and African term, meaning "home or mother of the earth" in the Taíno-Arawak Native American language and "sacred earth or homeland" in the Fon African language, to honor one of the indigenous Taíno names for the island.

Ayiti (land of high mountains) was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island.

The book "A Brief History of the Caribbean" confirms this

Saint-Domingue finally belonged to the black majority after 15 years of devastation. On January 1, 1804, Dessalines and his generals proclaimed Haiti's independence, choosing an aboriginal word (meaning "the land of the mountains") to replace the French name Saint-Domingue.

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