Haitian Creole is based on French, and like many creoles it developed from the need for slaves, mainly from west Africa and speaking various languages, to communicate with each other and French-speaking plantation managers. Hence the language is also influenced by African languages including Wolof, Fon and Ewe. It is now one of Haiti's two official languages, with French, and spoken by almost the entire population there. It is notable as a Creole for having being exported to a good number of other territories, largely due to the high levels of poverty in Haiti.
The number of speakers is roughly 8.3 million in at least 9 territories. Speakers numbering hundreds of thousands live in Cuba, the United States and the Dominican Republic. There are also a large number of speakers in the Bahamas, many of them there illegally, some on their way to the United States. Small Haitian Creole speaking communities are found in Canada, Puerto Rico, and France.