Cap-Hatien, often known as Le Cap or Au Cap, is a commune of around 190,000 inhabitants on Haiti’s north coast and the seat of the Department of Nord. Previously known as CapFrançais, CapHenri, and historically renowned as the Paris of the Antilles, this city demonstrates its riches and elegance via its gorgeous architecture and creative life. During the colonial era, it was an important city, serving as the capital of the French Colony of Saint-Domingue from the city’s official founding in 1711 until 1770, when the seat was relocated to Port-au-Prince. It served as the capital of the Kingdom of Northern Haiti under King Henri Christophe until 1820, after the Haitian Revolution.
Cap-long Hatien’s history of independent thinking, as well as its proximity to Port-au-Prince, have contributed to its reputation as a famous incubator of anti-establishment groups. For example, between February 5–29, 2004, the city was taken over by militants opposed to Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s government. They ultimately built up enough political pressure to push him and the nation out of government.
Cap-Hatien is close to the old Haitian town of Milot, which is 12 miles (19 kilometers) to the southwest via a dirt road. Milot served as Haiti’s first capital under self-proclaimed King Henri Christophe, who climbed to power in 1807, three years after the country obtained independence from France. CapFrançais was called CapHenri by him. Milot is the location of his Sans-Souci Palace, which was destroyed by the 1842 earthquake. The Citadelle Laferrière, a large stone stronghold replete with cannons perched atop a local mountain, is 5 miles (8.0 km) distant. On clear days, its shadow may be seen from CapHatien.
Hugo Chavez International Airport, situated on the city’s southeast outskirts, is operated by numerous minor domestic airlines and has been monitored by Chilean UN soldiers from the “O’Higgins Base” since the 2010 earthquake. The airport is being enlarged right now. As part of the continuing United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, several hundred UN personnel, including units from Nepal and Uruguay, are stationed in the city (MINUSTAH).