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Les Cayes

Trip Planner Caribbean  /  Haiti  /  Sud Department  /  Les Cayes
Les Cayes, is a commune and seaport in southwestern Haiti, with a population of 71,236. Due to its isolation from the political turmoil of the capital, Port-au-Prince, it is one of Haiti's major ports, with export trade concentrating on mostly coffee and sugarcane. As the world's largest supplier of vetiver, it exports 250 tons annually of this ingredient of perfume and fragrance manufacturing. Minor exports include bananas and timber.HistoryThe island of what was known by the Spanish as Hispaniola was inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous peoples. The first European settlement in the southwest area was the town of Salvatierra de la Sabana, founded by the Spanish explorer Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar in 1504. Vasco Núñez de Balboa was a co-founder of this town and lived there for several years trying to raise pigs as a business. Balboa gave up that enterprise and left the town hiding in a barrel of a Spanish expedition going to explore the Gulf of Uraba, Panama. Vasco Núñez de Balboa, later on September 25th, 1513 would discover the South Sea, today known as the Pacific Ocean. This settlement was abandoned in 1540.The area was uninhabited until the French colonial administration founded the town of Aux Cayes ("On the cayes"), so named due to its proximity to Île à Vache. The town was destroyed twice by hurricanes in 1781 and 1788.
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