Shopping Cart

CAONABO, the first to defend Haiti
CAONABO, the first to defend Haiti
  • March 21, 2024
  • | 0

CAONABO, the first to defend Haiti

We are all familiar with the words of this song: "Caonabo fut mis en prison à Isabella et quelques mois plus tard embarqué pour l’Espagne, il disparut en mer avec le bateau qui le portait...". But do you know the story of CAONABO, the first to defend the island?



On December 5, 1492, Christopher Columbus landed at Môle Saint-Nicolas after a long and perilous journey in search of new lands and in search of riches. Aboard three ships, La Santa Maria, La Pinta and La Niña, accompanied by a crew of 120 men, Columbus believed he had reached the Indies by sailing towards the West, basing this belief on the theory of the round earth. He claimed this new land in the name of Spain, erecting a cross on the shore and calling the inhabitants of the country "Indians".

During a brief exploration, Columbus collected numerous samples testifying to the surprising wealth of the island, even noticing similarities with Spain. This is how he decided to name the island under the name of Hispaniola (Little Spain).


The inhabitants of the island welcomed the Spaniards with joy and respect. Columbus came into contact with the chief of Marien, Guacanagaric, who was the first to speak to him. When La Santa Maria sank a few days later, Columbus informed Guacanagaric of the tragedy. The latter invited him to stay with him and Columbus became so close to Guacanagaric that he granted him land in his territory.

Columbus built the Nativity Fort with the remains of La Santa Maria, placing a garrison of 39 men there under the command of Diego de Arena, Pedro Gutierrez and Rodrigue Escoredo. He forbids them from mistreating the Indians or stealing their gold, ordering them not to leave the Marien.

After establishing this post, Columbus returned to Spain. He left La Nativité on January 4, 1493 and arrived on March 3. In the middle of a curious and enthusiastic crowd, impressed by magnificent samples of gold, rare plants and birds, he told the story of his astonishing discovery to Their Majesties Ferdinand and Isabella. As a reward, Christopher Columbus received on May 28, 1493 from the hands of Their Majesties letters patent naming him Admiral of the Ocean, VIceroy and Governor of all lands discovered and yet to be discovered.


Despite Columbus’s recommendations, the Spanish stationed at La Nativity began to brutalize Guacanagaric’s peaceful subjects and rob them of their gold. They even organized expeditions to the Maguana region, where gold abounded, particularly in the Cibao region.


CAONABO, learning of the ignoble conduct of the foreigners, swore to take revenge in an exemplary manner. He made an alliance with Guarionex at the head of a large army and attacked La Nativity one evening. The garrison, surprised, was massacred and the fortress completely destroyed. Guacanagaric, despite the mistreatment inflicted by the Spaniards on his subjects, came to their aid. Caonabo quickly defeated him, wounding him in the head and burning his village.

CAONABO, the first to defend Haiti

When Columbus returned to the coast of the island, he found only ruins at the site of The Nativity and Guacanagaric wounded in the head. On December 7, Columbus set out in search of a location to build a city to shelter the many adventurers who had followed him. He founded the city of Isabelle, the first in the New World, in the north of the island, in 1494.

Columbus forced the Indians to pay him tribute in kind, including food, cotton and gold dust. Faced with this oppression, Caonabo managed to organize a league of caciques against the Spaniards on both sides of the island and prepared to exterminate the foreigners. Caonabo besieged Fort St. Thomas, keeping it under siege for thirty days. La Magdalena was also attacked by a group of Indians, but they were repulsed, causing many casualties.


Columbus set a trap for the cacique of Maguana, into which he fell without difficulty. He requested an audience with Caonabo, who agreed to meet him. Using trickery, Ojeda kidnapped him from among his subjects and brought him to Isabella. In March 1494, the prisoner sailed for Spain but perished in a shipwreck.

The story of Caonabo and his fight for the freedom of his people remains a little-known chapter in the history of Haiti. Although defeated, his courage and determination to defend his land remains an example of resistance in the face of colonial oppression. It embodies the fierce desire of indigenous peoples to preserve their culture and identity in the face of foreign invaders. Thus, remembering its history is paying tribute to all those who fought for the freedom and dignity of their nation.

About the Author
Appolon Guy Alain

Full Stack Developer, Créatif, expérimenté, passionné des nouvelles technologies et de l’art.

See other articles from Appolon Guy Alain
Leave a comment

Recently Posted

Haiti: Camp Louise: A Hidden Treasure in the Heart of Acul du Nord Bay

At the entrance to Haiti’s beautiful Baie de l’Acul du Nord lies an oasis of tranquility and natural beauty: Camp Louise, more affectionately known as Saint Michel Beach. With its black sand and rushing swells, this beach offers a spellbinding experience that captures the wild spirit of nature. As soon as you set foot on this enchanting shore, you are enveloped by an atmosphere of mystery and serenity. The "ajoupas" dotted along the beach are home to modest restaurants serving local delicacies, from fresh grilled fish to succulent conch. With every bite, you taste the exquisite fusion of authentic flavors that celebrate Haiti’s culinary richness. On your right, majestically sits the "M&M" restaurant, ready to delight your taste buds with its irresistible specialties, available to serve you at the end of the week, to crown your beach days with an exquisite gastronomic note. Despite its proximity to the bustling town of Cap-Haïtien, located just 26 kilometers away, Camp Louise seems like a world apart. Accessible both by road and by sea, by jet ski from the neighboring beaches of Gaderas and Labadie, this beach offers a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you are looking for adventure, relaxation or simply connection with nature, Camp Louise will meet all your desires. Its turquoise waters invite you to swim, its sandy beaches invite you to relax, and its warm atmosphere inspires wonder. For travelers seeking authentic experiences and breathtaking scenery, Camp Louise proves to be a hidden treasure worth discovering and celebrating. So, let yourself be carried away by the captivating magic of this rare pearl in the heart of the Bay of Acul du Nord, and let your worries float away with the waves that gently caress its shores.


Subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed of all our activities and news on Haiti.

Haïti Wonderland: How to Rewrite the Narrative of Haïti on the Web?

For the last three decades the internet has transformed the way people live, access information and promote worthy causes. Institutions that embrace this technology lead the way in their respective industries and last, while countries that embrace this technology and wisely implement it enable themselves to thrive and build sustainable economies. After decades of existence, the internet has been shared with mainly two groups of people; those who use it as a tool to build, and those who use it as a tool of destruction. Those who see the internet as a bridge to make a positive impact in the world and those who see it as the comfy bed to never leave, hence, the difference between the consumer and producer. Unfortunately our beloved home, Haiti, has been of the former mindset. Is it a lack of vision, lack of skills and competences or is it lack of hard working individuals? Regardless what it is or had been for decades, now is the time to change the paradigm on all fronts necessary and reshape the future. If the past decades have been ruled by non-production and negative press, now is the time to change the paradigm by producing and using the limitless of the web to sell the beauty, the culture and the greatness of Haïti to the rest of the world. If the past has been ruled with a selective truth and an effort to showcase the worst and by extension create the worst narrative, now, my fellow Haitian, regardless of where you are on this planet, is the time for us to undertake this mission, to take responsibility and recreate the narrative of our mother land. A narrative based on truth and transparency, a narrative that tells the story of who we are and certainly who we are not, a narrative to invite the world to explore and see for themselves. It is our duty. If not now, when? If not you and I, then, who? Our main mission at Haïti Wonderland is to rewrite the narrative of Haïti on the web. Then use the internet to bring Haïti back to the top of the touristic destination map once again. Those are what motivate us, the oxygen that we breath, they are the reason we wake up in the morning and fight. We didn’t choose this path because we know it will be easy but we choose it because: 1. It is a noble cause 2. It is necessary and 3. It must be done. But must importantly we take this path because we know you and every Haitian in this world, who knows the truth about Haïti are tired with what you see when typing Haïti on the web, and at the same time understand that something must change, and it must be done as soon as possible. We know you are ready for this, and together we will change the narrative of Haïti on the web and we will bring Haïti back to the top of the touristic destination map. This is a call of duty to you, regardless of your field of endeavor or where you’re located in this world. This is a call to join ( to first see for yourself the movement you’re joining, then create your own account and start creating and sharing. Together we will rewrite the narrative of Haïti on the web. Thank you for joining this worthy cause. Let’s invite the world to discover the true face of Haiti.

There are several reasons why a foreign national might be interested in visiting Haiti

There are several reasons why a foreign national might be interested in visiting Haiti: Rich and diverse culture: Haïti has a unique culture resulting from a mixture of African, European (particularly French) and Caribbean influences. This is reflected in its music, cuisine, art and traditions. Fascinating history: Haïti was the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean to gain independence in 1804 after a successful slave revolt. Its history is rich in significant events and important historical figures. Magnificent natural landscapes: The island of Haïti offers a variety of breathtaking landscapes, from white sandy beaches to lush green mountains, picturesque waterfalls and isolated islands. Hospitality of the locals: Haitians are known for their warmth and hospitality towards foreign visitors, making the travel experience very pleasant and enriching on a human level. Opportunities for Sustainable Tourism: Haïti offers opportunities for sustainable tourism, including encouraging visits that directly benefit local communities and environmental conservation. Exploring historic sites: Historic sites such as the UNESCO-listed Citadelle Laferrière offer visitors a chance to discover colonial architecture and remains from pre-Columbian times. VIbrant cultural celebrations: Haïti is famous for its colorful festivals and cultural celebrations throughout the year, such as Carnival, where music, dance and traditional costumes are in the spotlight. In summary, visiting Haïti can offer a deep and authentic cultural experience, as well as an exploration of the unique natural and historical beauties of this Caribbean nation.

Living in Prose and Poetry: an unmissable summer event in Port-au-Prince.

Living in Prose and Poetry is an artistic and cultural event organized by the cultural organization Salon de Livre de Port-au-Prince (OCSLPAP) with the aim of bringing together young artists from the Haitian capital to exhibit them to a large audience . This edition will take place on Saturday July 27, 2024, at the pyépoudré cultural center, located at number 332 on the Route de Bourne. This year the organizers announce their mission is to bring together talents from various categories of arts, always with the aim of helping them to become familiar with each other, and to help create a solid link between them and the Haitian public. . The categories targeted by the organizers for this second edition are young poets, slammers, comedians, rappers, dancers, singers, painters, and writers who have already published at least one work. Living in prose and poetry will also be an opportunity to encourage Haitian youth to think. The first part of the event will be devoted to a discussion around a text by the famous Haitian writer Louis Philippe Dalembert, entitled The Other Face of the Sea. It is a novel which carefully addresses the subject of immigration and detachment that goes with it in the immigrant’s skin. It is a book that speaks openly to the reality of the Haitian people today. It has already been announced that this first part will be moderated by the journalist and literary critic Carl Pierrecq who works for the short story writer, and moderation will be provided by Pierre Marie, a young sociology student at the Faculty of Human Sciences (FASCH). After a largely successful first edition which took place in May 2023 in the premises of the municipal library of Delmas, the organizers of living in prose and poetry say they are determined and have made the promise for this year to deliver to the public port-au -princien, a cultural event of exceptional scale for the second outing. Once again, this will be the perfect opportunity to celebrate the great richness of Haitian culture through the organs of our young talents. Given the difficult context, manifested by the almost daily situation of insecurity which has prevailed for some time, in a good part of Port-au-Prince, the announcement of this event comes as a fresh breath of oxygen, scattered throughout the within the lungs of the city. It is yet another opportunity to remind through this artistic festivity that even in times of deep unrest, art will remain an indispensable light, because even in times of crisis, the latter and the artist (its channel of diffusion) will become refuges, sources of comfort and appeasement for all human souls.



First black nation to free itself from slavery and gain independence from France in 1804 and influenced other liberation movements around the world, inspiring struggles for freedom and equality.

Natural beauty

Natural beauty

Haïti is blessed with spectacular natural landscapes, including white sand beaches, mountains and rich biodiversity.



Haïti has a rich historical heritage, including sites like the Citadelle Laferrière and the Sans-Souci Palace, listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.



Haïti has a rich and diverse culture, influenced by African, European and indigenous elements. Haitian music, dance, art and cuisine are celebrated around the world.