Milot is a small town in the north of Haiti, about 20 kilometres to the southwest from Cap-Haïtien. It was Haiti's first site capital under the self-proclaimed King Henri Christophe, who ascended to power in 1807, three years after Haiti had gained independence from France, renaming the city as Cap-Henri.
As a result, Milot hosts the ruins of the Palace Sans-Souci ("without worry"), construction of which started in 1810 and completed in 1813. Crippled by a stroke, King Henri I committed suicide on the grounds of the palace on October 8, 1820; according to Haitian legend, he shot himself with a silver bullet. A severe earthquake in 1842 destroyed a considerable part of the palace; it was never rebuilt.
Eight kilometres uphill from Milot looms the Citadelle Laferrière or Citadelle Henri Christophe, a large mountaintop fortress, built between 1805 and 1820 as part of a system of fortifications designed to keep the newly-independent nation of Haiti safe from French incursions. The Citadel was built atop the 910 metres Bonnet a L'Eveque mountain, to deter attacks and to provide a lookout into the nearby valleys. The fortress was outfitted with 365 cannons of varying sizes. Large stockpiles of cannonballs still sit in pyramidal stacks at the base of the fortress walls. The cannons were never fired in anger: a French attack never came and France recognised Haiti's independence in 1820.