Little Haiti has historically been the cultural heart of the Haitian diaspora, and its community leaders have been instrumental in effecting change in U.S.-Haiti relations. The Haitian American community in Miami-Dade County is the largest in the United States. Reaching at least 100,000 residents by 2000, the county had become home to 41% of Florida’s Haitian population, according to the Brookings Institution. No other county came close, with King’s County in New York City and Broward coming far behind.
In 1791, Haiti was known as Saint-Domingue, a French colony. It was the most profitable colony in the world, a top supplier of the world’s sugar. Slaves made up a majority of the population, and in an unprecedented feat, they rebelled and overthrew their colonizers, becoming the Republic of Haiti by 1804.