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Coordinates: 18 ° 33 ′  N , 72 ° 20 ′  W
Map: Haiti
Port-au-Prince on the map of Haiti
Basic data
Country HaitiHaiti Haiti
Department Ouest
City foundation 1749
Residents 1,275,000  (2018)
- in the metropolitan area 2,637,000
City insignia
Armes de la Ville de Port-au-Prince.svg
Flag of None.svg
Detailed data
height 98  m
Waters Caribbean
Post Code HT6110
Time zone UTC -5
City Presidency Jean-Yves Jason
Satellite image of Port-au-Prince (2005), the airport runway clearly visible
Satellite image of Port-au-Prince (2005), the airport runway clearly visible
City map (situation after the earthquake)
City map (situation after the earthquake)
Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince (before it was destroyed by the earthquake)
Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince (before it was destroyed by the earthquake)

Port-au-Prince [ pɔroˈprɛ̃s ] ( Haitian Pòtoprens , Spanish Puerto Príncipe ) is the capital and largest city of Haiti . It is located on the Gulf of Gonaïves . The city has about 1,275,000 inhabitants (2006). Around 2,637,000 people live in the metropolitan area (as of 2018). The majority of them live in poor conditions in slums on the slopes around the city.


The area around Port-au-Prince was settled by the Taíno long before the arrival of the first Europeans , who lived around 2600 BC. Came from the area of ​​today's Venezuela in the country. When Christopher Columbus took possession of the land for the Spaniards in 1492 , several settlements were founded, all of which were abandoned or destroyed by the French (1535) or the English (1592). In the more than 50 years that followed, the population of the region around the present city decreased rapidly, until it was finally used as a base for some buccaneers and Dutch fur traders, and later also by French pirates . They also founded the most important city in the region at the time: Hôpital. The French influence on the area grew with it, and the Spaniards, who still claimed the area for themselves, tried to clarify their claim with an attack on the French settlements. Since this failed, however, the Peace of Rijswijk forced them to give up their claims to the area of ​​today's Haiti (and thus also today's Port-au-Prince) completely. When the region was still inhabited by a large number of basically independent pirates, the French crown finally decided to make the country a colony of their own country. The majority of the pirates reacted by emigrating from the area, which brought it more and more into the focus of English conquerors. To counteract an English conquest, the French finally founded the city of Port-au-Prince in 1749. In 1770 it replaced Cap-Haïtien as the capital of the French colony and in 1804 it became the capital of the independent state of Haiti.

In 1861 Port-au-Prince became the bishopric of the first Haitian archbishopric . In 1944 the Université d'État d'Haïti was founded. The first census took place in August 1950 . Port-au-Prince then had 119,270 inhabitants, which was 3.8% of the total Haitian population (3,111,973 inhabitants).

On January 12, 2010, occurred at 16:53 local time a strong earthquake measuring 7.1 M W that much of the city destroyed. Haiti's Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive spoke according to europapress.es on January 12, 2011 that the death toll was around 316,000. The hypocenter was 25 kilometers southwest of the capital at a depth of around 13 km.


In Port-au-Prince there is predominantly a savannah climate with consistently constant annual temperatures. The rainy season lasts from March to November, but there is an interruption in June. During the rainy season, the average temperatures are higher than those of the dry season.


The current mayor of Port-au-Prince is Jean-Yves Jason . The seat of the head of state is on the Champ de Mars, a large square in the city. Their headquarters are in Port-au-Prince and the Police Nationale d'Haiti and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti , one of the United Nations established peace mission .

US soldiers with an aid convoy in Port-au-Prince, April 5, 2004


There are two main highways in Haiti that connect one end of the country to the other. The Route Nationale 1 starts in Port-au-Prince and leads to Cap-Haitien on the north coast. The Route Nationale 2 connects the capital with Les Cayes on the Tiburon Peninsula . The Route Nationale 3 connects Port-au-Prince also with Cap-Haitien , but leads over Mirebalais and Hinche .

The Port international de Port-au-Prince is home to more ships than any other port in the country. Port facilities include cranes and warehouses. The harbor was badly damaged by the earthquake on January 12, 2010 .

The Aéroport international Toussaint Louverture opened in 1940 and expanded in 1965. It is located 10 km north of the city. It is the only airport in Haiti that can be approached by jet aircraft and therefore handles most of the international air traffic.


Port-au-Prince is one of the most important economic and financial centers in the country. The city's most important export goods include coffee and sugar , but also soap , textiles and cement . Despite political unrest, branches of the economy such as tourism and the construction industry also play a role, albeit less than before the unrest. Unemployment in Port-au-Prince is very high as many people in the slums do not have a permanent job. B. Earn the money necessary to survive with street shops.

In a ranking of cities according to their quality of life , Port-au-Prince was ranked 228th out of 231 cities worldwide in 2018.


Well-known buildings in the city were the Presidential Palace of Haiti ( French Palais National ) and the cathedral , both of which were destroyed by the earthquake in January 2010. The Hotel Oloffson is also one of the culturally and architecturally significant buildings in the city. The cultural part of the city is mostly concentrated in the center. For example, the National Museum, founded in 1838, was located in the Presidential Palace. Other important cultural institutions are the Musée d'Art Haïtien du Collège Saint-Pierre and the Bibliothèque Nationale (national library).


Despite six years of compulsory schooling and a school system ranging from small vocational schools to universities, the illiteracy rate is around 50%, as in the whole of the country. The most important educational institutions in the city include the Université d'Etat d'Haïti, the Union School, the Quisqueya Christian School, the Lycée Français for French-speaking students, and the Anís Zunúzí Bahá'í School.


Sons and daughters of the town:

Famous mentions in literature


  • George Corvington: Port-au-Prince au cours des ans , 8 volumes, Henri Deschamps, Port-au-Prince 1972–2009
    • Vol. 1: La ville coloniale (1972, 2nd verb. Edition 1992)
    • Vol. 2: Sous les assauts de la révolution, 1789–1804 (1972, 2nd verb. Edition 1992)
    • Vol. 3: La métropole haïtienne du XIXe siècle, I: 1804–1888 (1977, 2nd ed. 1993)
    • Vol. 4: La métropole haïtienne du XIXe siècle, II: 1888-1915 (1994)
    • Vol. 5: La capitale d'Haïti sous l'occupation, I: 1915-1922 (1984)
    • Vol. 6: La capitale d'Haïti sous l'occupation, II: 1922-1934 (1987)
    • Vol. 7: La ville contemporaine, I: 1934-1950 (1991)
    • Vol. 8: La ville contemporaine, II: 1950–1956 (2009)

Individual evidence

  1. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA): The World's Cities in 2018 , p. 24.
  2. Gorry, Conner; Miller, Debra: Caribbean Islands . Lonely Planet, 2005, ISBN 1-74104-055-8 , pp. 245–246 ( online in Google Book Search - USA ).
  3. Roland Devauges: Une capitale antillaise: Port-au-Prince (Haiti) . In: Les Cahiers d'Outre-Mer , 1954, pp. 105-136, here p. 123.
  4. Magnitude 7.0 - Haiti region - Earthquake details ( English ) United States Geological Survey . January 12, 2010. Retrieved January 13, 2010.
  5. ↑ The port of Port-au-Prince can be reused to a limited extent , Deutsche Welle . January 22, 2010. Archived from the original on December 11, 2011 Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.dw-world.de 
  6. Simon M. Fass's research book, Political Economy in Haïti: The Drama of Survival
  7. Mercer's 2018 Quality of Living Rankings. Retrieved July 30, 2018 .
  8. ↑ Interesting facts about Haiti ( Memento of the original from July 26, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Haiti aid Heinz Kühn @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.haitihilfe.org

Web links

Commons : Port-au-Prince  - collection of images, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: Port-au-Prince  - on the news