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|Welcoming Our Haitian Neighbours (OnPedia.com)|
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|Posted by:||Jul 27th 2006, 01:53:58 pm|
|Fig Tree News Team||1492-1804: Years following colonization
Hispaniola's indigenous Arawak (or Taino) population suffered near-extinction in the decades after Christopher Columbus's arrival in 1492. The island was eventually repopulated by the late 17th century with African slaves to work the sugar plantations. In 1697 Spain ceded the western third of the Hispaniola - which was then called Saint-Domingue - to France.
It became one of the richest colonies in the 18th century French empire. On August 22, 1791, the slave population revolted, which led to a war of attrition against the French. They defeated an army sent by Napolon Bonaparte and declared independence on January 1, 1804.
Haiti then established the world's first Black republic, making a commitment to end all slavery everywhere along with helping Venezuela, Peru and Colombia to achieve independence under such revolutionary leaders as Bolvar and Miranda. Toussaint L'Ouverture abolished slavery in the neighboring Dominican republic. Threatened by this attack on slavery and colonialism, the United States and Western Europe instated sanctions against Haiti. In addition to this economic blow, in 1825 France demanded "reparations" to former slaveholders, amounting to 90 million gold francs (equivalent to $21.7 billion today). Haiti continued to make payments to France until the 1950s.
Haiti has since become the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and has been plagued by political violence and corrupt dictators for most of its history.
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