Haiti , Caribbean Sea



The island of Hispaniola, of which Haiti occupies the western third, was originally inhabited by the Taíno Arawaks, a seafaring branch of the South American Arawaks. Christopher Columbus landed at Môle Saint-Nicolas on 5 December 1492, and claimed the island for Spain. Nineteen days later, his ship the Santa Maria ran aground near the present site of Cap-Haitien; Columbus was forced to leave 39 men, founding the settlement of La Navidad. Ayti, which means "mountainous land", is a name used by the Taíno-Arawak people, who also called some sections of it Bohio, meaning "rich villages". Kiskeya is yet a third term that has been attributed to the Taínos for the island.