Haiti History

By | December 14, 2021

Republic of Haiti. Country of the Caribbean, located in the western part of the island the Spanish limits, with Dominican Republic. It is also made up of the Isla de la Gonâve, Isla de la Tortuga, the archipelago of the Cayemites Islands and the Isla de Vaches, as well as other islets located in territorial waters. It has an area of 27,750 km² and a population of 10,033,000 residents (2009). The capital and main city is Port-au-Prince, badly damaged by an earthquake on January 12, 2010. Haiti comprehensive information can be found on simplyyellowpages.

According to The World Factbook, 80% of the population lives below the poverty line and two thirds of it is dependent on a sector of agriculture and fishing, traditionally organized in small subsistence farms, weakened by the lack and impoverishment of available land, and foreign aid. This state of misery and impoverishment is the result of more than three hundred years of agricultural overexploitation, colonial and neocolonial plunder, North American military interventions and corrupt governments in the service of the United States, of more than a century of employment of human resources in the most important jobs. hard.

A former French colony, it was the first country in Latin America to declare independence and the first in the world to make an antislavery revolution triumph, which it paid at the price of aggression, blockade and compensation.

On January 12, 2010, it suffered a devastating earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale, which has aggravated the situation in which the residents live. It is one of the last on the list of countries with unfavorable human development indices, life expectancy does not exceed 52 years and only 1 in 150 Haitians receives a salary, while deforestation of their forests exceeds 95%.

Haiti’s economy is the poorest in the entire American continent, the population depends almost 50 percent on family remittances received from abroad. It was the first country in which 400,000 Africans enslaved and trafficked by Europeans rose up against 30,000 white owners of sugarcane and coffee plantations, carrying out the first great social revolution in the Western Hemisphere. Napoleon’s most eminent general was defeated there.


The 5 of December of 1492 Christopher Columbus top Spanish, part of which will be called Greater Antilles and the island becomes part of the Spanish empire. Before the arrival of the Spanish, it was inhabited by the Arawak, Carib and Taino ethnic groups; its estimated population at the time was about 300,000 residents.

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, due to the boom that the informal trade of the island’s Creole settlers had acquired and that went against the monopoly that the metropolis intended, the Spanish governor Antonio de Osorio ordered, between 1605 and 1606, the depopulation of the northern and western bands of the island in order to stop this practice. Over time, buccaneers settled in the depopulated areas of the western part, men who lived by hunting cattle and bighorn pigs, the fur trade and tobacco cultivation, as well as filibusters, both of French origin. They first occupied Tortuga Island and later these settlements determined that the western part of the island was claimed by France.

In 1697, Spain ceded that part of the island to France by the Treaty of Ryswick, constituting the French Saint Domingue and in less than a century it became the richest colony in the world, producing enormous profits for France with the production of sugar and coffee from the slave plantation.

In the middle of the 18th century, colonial Haiti, occupied by France under an iron and cruel slave system, had a population of 300,000 slaves and only 12,000 free people, mainly white and mulatto.

The revolution

Main article Haitian Revolution

The 14 of August of 1769 would have occurred in Bois-Cayman ceremony voodoo priest Boukman, which is considered the starting point of the Haitian Revolution. The long emancipatory process has as its protagonist François Dominique Toussaint – Louverture, who between 1793 and 1802 led the Haitian revolution with sagacity, confronting the Spanish, English and French, until his capture, exile and death in France.

The triumph of the French Revolution, on July 14, 1789, had repercussions in Haiti. In 1791, due to the internal situation in Saint Domingue and the renewing winds that came from France, great slave insurrections took place in the north of the island, and this is considered the beginning of what would be the Haitian Revolution. The city Cap Français was burned by slaves.

In 1792, the French monarchy, Louis XVI, fell, and the French Republic was proclaimed. The Jacobins, the left wing of the French Revolution, decree equal political rights for all free blacks and mulattoes; Which, of course, has enormous repercussions in Saint-Domingue, where the majority of the population was black.

Between 1792 and 1793, France went to war with Austria, Prussia, Great Britain and the Netherlands, and felt threatened by Spain. The French Assembly sent three representatives to Saint-Domingue: the most famous of them, Sonthonax. Without consulting France, on August 29 In 1793, Sonthonax publishes – for the first time in the history of mankind – the decree of emancipation of the slaves in the north of Saint-Domingue. August 29, 1793, I repeat, will have to be celebrated by humanity as one of its great dates. That year, 1793, in France is known as the Year of Terror. The purge and execution of many Girondists took place, but it was not until February 4, 1794, that the French Assembly – still dominated by the Jacobins – accepted the decree that Sonthonax had adopted.

In 1795, fueled by the struggles taking place in Saint-Domingue, great slave rebellions occurred in other parts of the Caribbean, including Cuba.

In 1797, on May 2, Toussaint Louverture was appointed Governor General, a man who had been a slave and became a General and organized a great army. In 1799, the year in which Napoleon dissolves the Directory, Louverture occupies the eastern side of the island and on July 8, 1801, proclaims a new Constitution that does not recognize slavery. That same year, Napoleon sent Saint-Domingue, his brother-in-law Leclerc at the head of a very powerful army to crush those who had been black slaves and were at that time, who best embodied the slogans of freedom, equality and fraternity that had been born with the French revolution.

The 27 of April of 1802, Napoleon issued the decree reestablishing slavery and the slave in the French colonies in the Caribbean. On May 6 of that year 1802, Toussaint Louverture, deceived, accepts Leclerc’s proposals – in a way he surrenders to him – and is sent on June 7 to France, where he is imprisoned at Fort de Joux.

In 1803, on April 7, in that Fort Toussaint Louverture will die, ignoring what was happening and of course what would happen as a result of their struggles. That year 1803, in compliance with the Napoleonic decree, slavery was reestablished in the French colonies, which made many Saint-Domingue political-military leaders who had hesitated thinking that Leclerc was carrying independence projects to Saint-Domingue, understand that this it was completely false, that what he was carrying were plans to reestablish slavery.

Leclerc died of a tropical disease, and hence it has been claimed that it was tropical diseases that defeated the French troops, but the reality is that it was the former slaves who defeated them in 1803. As a result of the defeat of the French troops. French troops, on January 1, 1804, the independence of what was no longer going to be called Saint-Domingue was proclaimed, but was renamed Haiti, as the country was originally called by the aborigines.

After Louverture’s death, Jean Jacques Dessalines became the General-in-Chief of the independence troops and proclaimed the independence of Haiti on January 1, 1804. Thus a unique event occurred in the history of Humanity: the triumphant slave revolution and the first black republic, which opened the way to independence for the subjugated peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Blocking, sanctions and compensation

After being defeated in Haiti, Napoleon Bonaparte found the project of a French colonial empire in America impossible, and proceeded to sell Louisiana to the United States in exchange for the United States government joining the French government in the blockade. Haiti, which it accepted: all the colonial powers of the time – which means, together with the colonies, practically the entire world – blocked the destroyed Haitian economy, with a soil devastated by the monoculture of sugar cane and devastated by the calamities of the war against France, and a third part of the population died in the combats. The newly born republic was not recognized by any country and was excluded from international trade.

The recognition of independence by France, would not come until 1826 against an indemnity of 150 million gold francs – equivalent to 15 billion euros today – which would force Haiti to live to pay that debt for a long period. In 1822, Haitian troops invaded the eastern part of the island of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic), which did not regain its independence until 1844.

Military interventions and dictatorships. From the Duvaliers to Cedras

The erosion of the soils due to agricultural overexploitation, the penny by penny payment of compensation to France, isolation and economic sanctions, placed the country in a situation of poverty and social instability that served the United States as a pretext to invade and exercise it. thus an absolute control from 1915 to 1934.

In 1957, François Duvalier, known as Papa Doc, was elected as President of Haiti, who ruled dictatorially with military and financial aid from the United States, and even in 1964 he had himself proclaimed president for life. His son Jean Claude Duvalier (Baby Doc) succeeded him in 1971. In January of 1986 a popular uprising forced him into exile and the army took control of power through the formation of a National Governing Council, chaired by General Henri Namphy. In January of 1988 he was president Leslie François Manigat, deposed in July of the same year by Namphy. Overthrown by Prosper Avril.

Haiti History