Haiti is situated on the island of Hispaniola, located 80 miles southwest of Cuba, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the North and the Caribbean Sea to the south Arthur, In its early history, Haiti was a flourishing island and was one of the richest colonies in the world. It was tenanted with thriving plantations and the prosperous exportation of mahogany and sugar, all of which was dependent upon slave labor from the African continent.
Today there are over 9 million people living in Haiti, a country with a landmass similar to the State of Maryland.
A Short History of Haiti
To understand the epic economic downfall of this small country, one must consider the historical progression of events from the first settlers to the present social structure. In the late 15th century, the Arawaks and Tainos Indians, indigenous peoples who populated most of the Caribbean Islands, inhabited Haiti. The Arawaks were entirely wiped out by both ill treatment borne by their Spanish captors and the spread of European diseases for which they had no natural resistance Arthur, The island of Hispaniola remained sparsely populated on the northern and eastern coastline by the Spanish and their African slaves, who were busily establishing and working in a number of sugar cane and cotton plantations.
Although, France and Spain had often been at odds in their pursuit of colonial empires, in a treaty between the two countries was signed and Spain ceded the western third of Hispaniola to France. Soon after, the French began importing large numbers of slaves from Africa to establish and operate more plantations and to provide the First French Republic with an economic engine.
A Short History of Haiti - Joy & Hope of Haiti : Joy & Hope of Haiti
By the late s, there were almost , slaves living in the French controlled colony, known then as Saint Domingue, now referred to as Haiti Arthur. In , the slaves revolted against their French owners. The next 13 years saw other groups of slaves fomenting discontent and mounting insurrections against their masters until in , the French were finally defeated and the slave population successfully gained independence, bringing about an end to slavery within Haiti.
After the rebellion, the ex-slaves could not bear to go back to work on the plantations; therefore, the once rich and cultivated land lay fallow Arthur, A new order was evolving from within the liberated population; the ascent to authority and governance by the mulatto group who asserted their will over the ethnic black inhabitants.
Black peasants were forced to carve out a meager existence on their own small plots of land in rural, mountainous areas while the militant and political elite remained in the cities Arthur. Those living in the rural areas maintained certain African traditions, practicing Voodoo beliefs and speaking the language of Creole, a mixture of African dialects and French. The urban-based population, many of whom were mulatto as the result of relations between owner and slave, were speaking French and following the practices of the Catholic Church.
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Under the rule of the mulatto elite, the 19th century witnessed massive deforestation of the land with the lucrative export of logwood and mahogany to Europe and North America Arthur, With the lack of tree cover, the soil eroded and the land became rocky. The importance of social and economic status is something that successive governments traditionally have either tried to strengthen or destroy during their occupation of authority.
Once elected, he mollified his supporters with public works projects financed by the World Bank and began siphoning foreign aid intended to rebuild his country. To protect his interests and quell any opposition, he established a violent, personal militia known as Tonton Macoutes, thus silencing the voice of the Haitian people. In fear of the repercussions of another revolution, the United States intervened and exiled Duvalier to France in Arthur, The result of the election prompted the former corrupt militia to attempt a coup against Aristede.
The coup was deemed unsuccessful after tens of thousands of Haitian citizens defended their new president in the streets of the capital city, Port-au-Prince. Eight months later, another coup was attempted, and this time Aristede resigned and exiled himself to Venezuela and the United States Arthur. This land deal doubled the size of the U. As the first black independent country with a story of a successful slave revolt, Haiti was a ray of hope for African-Americans in the United States during the nineteenth century.
There were several emigration movements led by leaders such as Martin Delany and James Theodore Holly, who encouraged African-Americans to settle in Haiti.
Although the majority of those who moved to Haiti returned to the U. In , the great poet Langston Hughes traveled to Haiti, where he met with one of the foremost Haitian intellectuals of the time, Jacques Roumain. Before current terms such as "transnationalism" and "Black national consciousness" were being used, such exchanges occurred between African-American and Haitian intellectuals.
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Friendly folks. A big city vibe. A beautiful, hilly campus is just one reason why Jayhawks fall in love with KU. Find out more. Skip to main content. Haiti: A brief history of a complex nation Located in the Caribbean, Haiti View: A Map of Haiti occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola, with the Dominican Republic in the eastern two-thirds.