Gonaïves (gōnäēv`), city (1995 est. pop. 59,000), W Haiti, a port on the Gulf of Gonaïves and capital of Artibonite dept. The region's agricultural products (including coffee, cotton, sugar, and bananas) are exported from the city's natural harbor. Gonaïves is also an important commercial center. In 1804, Haiti's independence was proclaimed there. Flooding from heavy rains from tropical storms and hurricanes devastated the city in Sept., 2004, and again in Aug.–Sept, 2008.