The city was founded in 1749 by French sugar planters. In 1770, it replaced Cap-Haïtien as capital of the French colony of Saint-Domingue (as Haiti was then known), and in 1804 it became the capital of newly independent Haiti. Port-au-Prince has remained unsanitary and economically backward, however, and has suffered frequently from earthquakes, fires, and civil warfare. In Jan., 2010, a devastating earthquake destroyed or damaged many of the city's buildings, including landmarks such as the National Palace, the National Assembly building, and other government buildings and the cathedral.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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