Sources : C. Fombrun, Courtesy: David Cardozo.
The Republic of Haiti occupies the Western third of Hispaniola, the Caribbean island which Christopher Columbus visited in 1492 and which was under French rule after 1664. Black slaves declared their independence in 1804 and established a Republic in 1820, the second in the Americas. The capital had two urban railway eras: a horsecar network between 1878 and 1888, and a second system which started with steam locomotives in 1897 and ended with internal combustion engines in 1932.
The first franchise for the construction of a street railway was awarded in 1876 to a group of New York financiers, who founded the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer de Port-au-Prince. The CCFPP ordered six open cars from the J. G. Brill Co. in Philadelphia in October 1877 and inaugurated a tramway service on 17 January 1878. The first line, which connected Croix des Bossales with the Champ de Mars [see map], was probably the first railway in the country.