Citadelle Laferrière – A symbol of Haitian independence in Milot

The largest fortress in the Americas, situated on the Bonnet à l’Evêque mountaintop in Nord, Haiti. Its construction was commissioned in 1805, by the Haitian revolutionary and leader Henri Christophe, and was the axis of Haiti’s new independent defense strategy against possible French invasions.

The location enabled Haitian forces to strategically keep watch over a vast distance, from the nearby valleys to the coastline. The Citadelle Laferrière took more than 20,000 workers, and about 15 years to complete.

The enormous stockpiles of cannonballs still sit in pyramidal stacks at the base of the fortress walls / Image source

The fortress walls rise 40 meters from the mountaintop and the entire complex, including cannonball stocks but excluding the surrounding grounds, covers an area of 10,000 square meters. The structure is angular and assumes different geometric forms based on the viewer’s orientation. The stronghold was equipped with hundreds of cannons of different sizes, collected from the abandoned ammunition left by the European forces that occupied the island.

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