The exhibition of the Republic of Haiti has the peculiarity that the government is the only exhibitor, with the exception of Mr. E. Nau, of Port-au-Prince, who has sent a very interesting mineralogical collection.
Far from it, it shows splendid samples of everything that man can desire in a climate of the nature of Haiti.
It is truly regrettable that Haiti has only occupied a small showcase in the Champ de Mars Palace, so small and so poorly placed that, in order to find it, it was necessary to have a very determined intention to discover it.
We will not stop at the ceramics or the camp objects; we will come straight to the wood collections.
The amazed visitor will find there mahogany, campêche, iron, gayac, ebony, cedar, pine, mancenilla, latanier, red wood, mule wood, tin, spearhead, guava, lace, etc., etc., etc.
Among the food products, we find rice, corn, manioc, beans, sugar cane; orange, pineapple and coconut jams; sugar from the Port-au-Prince plain; and rum and tafia.
In addition, here are some details that we find in the Special Catalogue of the Republic of Haiti and that will certainly interest the reader:
"The Republic of Haiti occupies more than the western third, or almost half, of the large island of Haiti, or Santo Domingo, in the West Indies. The island of Haiti is situated between the 17th, 55th and 20th degrees of north latitude, and between the 71st, 77th degree of west longitude of the Paris meridian. It is bounded on the north, west and south by the Caribbean Sea. A wavy line, running from the mouth of the Massacre River in the north to the Anse à Pitre River in the south, separates the Republic of Haiti from the Dominican Republic, both of which are independent. The population is 800,000.
"The coasts of the Haitian Republic are deeply indented and form safe shelters for ships on all sides. The bay of Mancenillo, the mole Saint-Nicolas, the gulf of Gonaïves, the bays of Port-au-Prince, Leogane, Cayes, Anse d'Heinault, Aquin and Jacmel, correspond to the principal indentations of this coastal line.
"The main ports are : Port-au-Prince, Les Cayes, Jérémie, Gonaïves, Cap Haïtien, Saint-Marc, Jacmel.
"The total area of File is 753 square kilometres. It is about 160 leagues long, from east to west, and the width, from north to south, varies from 7 to 60 leagues; the circumference is 360 leagues.
"The island is watered by medium-sized rivers and by a large number of streams; mineral and thermal springs gush out of various mountains, and a few lakes, of which the most important is that of Assuey, also contribute to giving the land a salutary freshness and to developing a magnificent vegetation there.
The soil is mountainous and presents alternately wooded heights where the altitude and the proximity of the sea maintain a salutary breeze, and deep valleys, where the hot temperature of the tropics provokes the development of an exuberant vegetation.
"Some islands near the coast belong to the Haitian Republic.
"Ferruginous, salty or sulphurous mineral waters; marble, jasper, agates, opal, sulphur, bitumen, earth coal, anthracite, are abundant in File. Iron, tin, copper, antimony, manganese, mercury in the native state; silver, gold and platinum are found there, and all these products of the mineral kingdom could give rise to very advantageous exploitations.
"As for the vegetable kingdom, mahogany, oak, pine, fustic, satinwood and a host of other woods, suitable for civil and naval construction and for cabinet-making, form immense forests on the mountains, which can give fruitful products for export.
"To these products must be added the wax of the palm tree, dividivi and many other products of the country, such as the orange tree with all its varieties, the pineapple, the banana, the sapodilla, the mango, the cherimoya, etc., etc., which provide the table with excellent fruit.
. "The great wealth of the country, as remarkable, abundant and exceptional products of the soil, is above all the coffee, which is rightly appreciated on all the markets of the world and which holds a place of first order by its quantity and its quality.
"Coffee is a natural product of the Haitian soil and one of the greatest riches of the Republic. The annual production of this product is about 63 million pounds and its export, both to Europe and America, reaches the enormous figure of 60 million pounds annually. Haitian coffees on the major European markets are classified as follows:
"1° Saint-Marc; 2° Gonaïves; 3° Cap and Port-de-Paix; 4° Port-au-Prince, Léogane and Jacmel; 3°Miragoane; 6° Jérémie, Cayes and Aquin.
"The products which appear at the Exhibition, although naturally sorted, perfectly represent the average type of their origin, and they are classified by district without comment, in order to leave to each one the share which is due to him.
"The government is at present making great efforts to achieve the complete cleaning of this precious product, by bringing in machines to shell and sort the coffees, to distribute them as premiums.
coffee, to distribute them as premiums to the farmers. We can therefore rightly expect, in a very short time, a rapid improvement and a natural increase in the value of Haitian coffees on the commercial markets of Europe.
"The coffees of Haiti are rightly highly esteemed by French consumers; few types, in fact, combine the same degree of aroma and strength.
"Next come cocoa and cotton, dyewoods, tobacco, tortoiseshell, rum and tafia, roucou, turmeric, pite, cochineal, aloe, etc., etc.
"The territory of the Republic is divided into two parts: the first part of the island is a large area of land, and the second part of the island is a large area of water.
"The territory of the Republic is divided into five departments, themselves subdivided into arrondissements and communes.
"The main cities are Port-au-Prince, the first port of the Republic, situated at the end of the bay of Gonave; the other most important cities are: Cap Haïtien, Jacmel, Cayes, Gonaïves, Môle-Saint-Nicolas, Jérémie, Saint-Marc. There are a number of industrial establishments in and around the towns, such as foundries, distilleries, breweries, tanneries, and shoe factories; ten ports open to foreign ships carry on a very important import and export trade.
"The countries with which Haiti trades are, in order of importance: the United States, France, England, Germany and almost all the other countries of the world.
"The climate is healthy and temperate. The political and civil legislation is the French legislation, more or less modified.
"Education is in honour in the State. The inhabitants use the French language and profess the Catholic religion, without excluding any other worship.
"This island has thus been magnificently endowed by nature, and it is up to the free populations who possess it today to develop more and more so many gifts of Providence.
©Les Merveilles de l'Exposition de 1878