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Les Cayes is at about 196 km southwest of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince. It is also the chief town of an arrondissement (a part of a department) with the same name. The arrondissement has six communes (a commune is like a municipality): Les Cayes, Camp-Perrin, Chantal, Île à Vache, Maniche and Torbeck.
The town had the name of Aux Cayes ("On the cays") because the small Île à Vache island and other cays (Grande Caye and Petite Caye) are near the town. Now the name is just Les Cayes; Kréyòl still keeps the old name.
In 1504, Diego Velázquez founded the town of Salvatierra de la Sabana (or Salvatierra de la Zabana) where is now Les Cayes. From here, he left for Cuba to take control of that island on 7 November 1511.
On 28 December 1815, Simón Bolívar came to Les Cayes looking for help to fight against the Spanish government in South America. Bolívar left Haiti on 10 April 1816 for Venezuela, but came back in September of that year to this Haitian town when he lost some battles in South America. He went back to South America in December of the same year.
Les Cayes is one of the most important port of Haiti, where coffee, sugar, bananas and timber are sent to other countries and other parts of Haiti. There is also an airport, Antoine Simon Airport, with the name of a president of Haiti that was born in Les Cayes.
People born in Les Cayes
- 1761: Laurent Geffrard, officer during the Haitian Revolution
- 1761: André Rigaud, a mulatto chief during the Haitian Revolution
- 1785: John James Audubon, who studied and made paintings of birds in United States
- 1789: Charles Riviere-Hérard, president of Haiti from 1843 to 1844
- Michel Domingue, president of Haiti from 1874 to 1876
- 1815: Lysius Salomon, president of Haiti from 1879 to 1888
- 1832: Pierre Théoma Boisrond-Canal, president of Haiti from 1876 to 1879
- 1843: François C. Antoine Simon, president of Haiti from 1908 to 1911
- Incháustegui, J. Marino (1955) (in Spanish). Historia Dominicana, Tomo I. Ciudad Trujillo, República Dominicana: Impresora Dominicana. pp. 72.
|Department capitals of Haiti|
|Cap-Haïtien • Fort-Liberté • Gonaïves • Hinche • Jacmel • Jérémie • Les Cayes • Miragoâne • Port-au-Prince • Port-de-Paix|