The name Haiti came from the word Ay-ti which means, land of mountains, derived from the Taino people who originally inhabited the island. During the reign of the Taino people, Hispaniola had Five Kingdoms. They lived peacefully and traded gold and ways of living with the Africans.
After Christopher Columbus crashed on Hispaniola in 1492, 90 percent of the population died. In 1501, Africans were brought to the island as slaves from the West Coast of Africa. Spain and France battled for the reign of the island. As a result, France ruled Haiti while Spain ruled the Dominican Republic. In January 1804, Haiti declared a free colony.
The nation of Haiti is amongst the oldest colonies in the Western Hemisphere yet claims a highly homogenous ethnic population. The population has grown steadily from 431,140 at independence in 1804 to the estimate of 6.9 million to 7.2 million in 2000. With 90 percent of the population is of African descent from Congo, Benin, and Nigeria.