Dondon is located right below the Citadel Laferrière. With spectacular views , encircled by huge mountains, Dondon is the ideal place for eco -tourism. Dondon's recorded history begins on September 11, ...1698 when this paradisiac portion of land was given to filibuster surgeon André Minguet . Its Mountains display sloping rocks that sometimes lean on each other in perfect harmony or disharmony. The complete order or disorder of those masses are tangible manifestations of major earth agitations and changes . And Moreau de Saint -Mery was right to say, " there is perhaps no place in the colony with a more picturesque site than this parish ."
The village has a population of 30,000 people. It is situated at an altitude of about 425 m above sea level, is surrounded on all sides by mountains . Some of Dondon's mountains are part of " Bonnet a L' Eveque " 's mountains chain which houses the Citadelle Laferrière . The highest point of the municipality is located in Haut-du - Trou at 1028 meters above sea level. In general, the air is cool, temperate and healthy. Dondon is located in the department of Nord , about 30 km south from Cap- Haitien, and 290 km from Port -au- Prince (106 km by plane) . Adjacent to the following municipalities: the Grande Rivière du Nord to the east, Saint- Raphaël ( east and south) , Saint -Michel de l'Attalaye (south and west), Marmalade ( West ) Acul North , the Plaine du Nord and Milot ( north). Dondon is divided into five rural juridictions: Brostage, Bassin-Caiman, Matador, Laguille and Haut-du-Trou which is the highest point at 1028 meters above sea level.
Dondon was a gateway between the north and the rest of the country and played a leading role in the war of Independence. It is true that Dondon is better known for being Vincent Oge and Gabart Le Vaillant 's birthplaces. Ogé as one of the first martyrs of freedom and Gabart Le Vaillant as one of Haiti's Independence War heroes. The public square is named after Oge and the coffee Cooperative in the rural section of Matador. Whereas, Dondon's coffee cooperative in Brostage, the oldest in the country is named after Gabard. History tends to associate Dondon with these two heroes and "voûte a Minguet" which in pre-Columbian times was a place of pilgrimage for the Indian Tainos of the island. History however seems to have omitted other important stories such as:
1 - The Jesuit, Le Pers who provided Charlevoix most of the information of his "History of St Domingo" , died in Dondon
2 - Father Hague after having been arrested and accused of promoting and engineering the slave insurrection in the North, was drowned by order of Rochambeau in Cap_Haitian harbor. He was Dondon's priest in 1792
3 - In 1791 , Jean -Francois and Biassou , leaders of slave rebellion attacked Dondon and killed hundred whites.
4 - In 1794 , Toussaint Louverture attacked Dondon , took it from the Spaniards and made it a French territory. This feat greatly contributed to increase Toussaint's influence.
5 - Roume was prisoner in Dondon
6 -After the arrival of the St-Domingue Expedition , General Hardy attacked Dondon and Christophe was forced to retire in disorder in Marmelade after leaving a portion of his troops to delay Hardy .
7 - In 1802, The Dondonnais , after chasing Christophe as commander Dondon , accusing him of having terribly hunted them as a French officer , was visited by Dessalines. Dessalines wanted to indulge them into accepting Christophe . Dessalines worked out a deal with the Dondonnais by sending Christophe to Milot .
Dondon is a modest but idyllic town, with more than 10 caves, including the "Voute a Minguet" which is historic and still retains pre-Columbian fingerprints of Tainos Indians. In addition, it lies in the shadow of the largest Caribbean fort, the Citadel and the Ramiers sites of the National Historic Park of Haiti (PNH) a World heritage classified by UNESCO since 1983. More than 50% of the historic National Park is found at Dondon. Dondon felt on hard time after its coffee-based economy was lost in the 90's due to an infestation of mites.
The town was isolated and suffered for basic needs like water, food and healthcare. The weak infrastructure was further weakened. The housing stock was neglected and further deteriorated over time. ODID’s annual festival and social initiatives have been a source stimulus for improving the economic and social status of the community.
It is the history, the geography, the small stories mixed with the landscape and the hospitality of his sons and daughters, that have inspired ( ODID ) to work toward the betterment of Dondon worthy of its history and natural resources.