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History of French Influence In Haiti
Transcript of History of French Influence In Haiti
In 1971, François Duvalier died and left his position to his nineteen year-old son, Jean-Claude. Nicknamed “Baby Doc,” he proved no better for the country’s welfare than his father had been.
He was better liked by the people then his father, but he was far more careless.
During his ruling the African Swine Flu came into play in Haiti's pigs. Complying with the requests of American officials who feared that the plague would spread, he culled every pig in the country, to be replaced by animals the U.S. supplied.
Also during Baby Doc’s ruling was the outbreak of AIDS in Haiti in the 1980’s, which not only hurt public health, but also dissuaded tourism. This drained Haiti’s economy and further reduced its public services.
Widespread discontent in Haiti began in 1983, when Pope John Paul II condemned the regime during a visit, finally provoking a rebellion, and in February 1986, after months of disorder, the army forced Duvalier to resign and go into exile.
"Papa" and "Baby doc" Duvalier
Conditions of Native people under French
The free black/ mixed races in this area were know as Affranchis. They were mostly mistreated by discrimination.
Plantation owners overworked and neglected their slaves, leaving many sickened or killed by malnutrition. Long work days, tropical diseases and injuries also claimed many lives. One-third of the people brought in for slave labor died within just a few years of entering the colony.
European agricultural methods were deforesting, eroding, and ruining the land, further worsening the slaves’ living condition.
Uprisings in Haiti
The first major military clash was when white colonials failed to honor French legislation which had been designed to improve the conditions of the slaves and affranchis. Vincent Ogé led an uprising of mulattoes (people of mixed black and white race) against the European settlers in 1790, but was quickly put down. Ogé was executed, and the rebellion was stopped.
In 1791, in the region of Le Cap, the slaves began organizing themselves for colony wide rebellion. They united and began to attack white settlements.
Both sides fought fiercely, and though the slaves outnumbered the settlers, they were under equipped. The death toll from the conflict was an estimated 2,000 European settlers, but 10,000 black slaves.
This revolt was a key turning point
in the Haitian Revolution.
The 1790's were a tumultuous decade
for everyone in Haiti.
France itself, which had just had its own revolution, showed support for the repressed black Haitians. In order to secure the help of black Haitians in restoring order to the province, France even agreed to liberate all slaves in the colony.
Toussaint l’Ouverture arose as a successful military leader. A former slave who had been instrumental in the slave revolt, he pledged his allegiance to the new French government. In his attempts to pull together the economy, he reinstated the plantation system that had gone during the revolt.
Napoleon Bonaparte did not like the idea of former slaves being allowed to run their own country. So he sent his brother, General Charles Victor Emmanuel Leclerc, to reinstate white control of the island. Toussaint was captured and killed. Jean-Jacques Dessalines and Henry Christophe, two of Toussaint’s generals, had originally surrendered to the French. Under their leadership, while Napoleon was preoccupied, the French forces were driven out. At last, the French colonization on Saint-Domingue was ended and Saint-Domingue declared independence.
On January 1, 1804 Haiti, the first free black republic in the world, was born.
"Papa Doc" Duvalier
François Duvalier, a doctor that the military favored, won a definitive victory in the election of October 1957.
He established a new constitution in 1957 that furthered his own power. Four years later, he violated that constitution to have himself reelected. He further declared himself to be president-for-life.
He founded the Volunteers for National Security. This militia was completely devoted to Duvalier, eventually growing to more than double their strength. This shift of power forced out the old elite class, allowing Duvalier reign over Haiti.
He incorporated many priests and sorcerers into various places of his government. Few would dare oppose a man with that kind of spiritual power.
Duvalier was a brutal man who ruled by terror, cruelly punishing any perceived insubordination. It is estimated that thirty thousand of his own people were killed under his regime.
His ruling is regarded as one of the most repressive and corrupt of modern times.
History of French Influence In Haiti
Spain released the western third of Hispaniola to France in 1697 by the Treaty of Ryswick.
When the French first came to the island they named it Saint- Domingue and turned it into a coffee and sugar-producing juggernaut.
By the 1780s, nearly 40% of all the sugar imported by Britain and France and 60% of the world’s coffee came from the small colony. For a short time, Saint-Domingue yearly produced more exportable wealth than all of continental North America.
Under French colonial rule, nearly 800,000 slaves arrived from Africa, accounting for a third of the entire Atlantic slave trade when the sugar and coffee production boomed.
By 1789 slaves outnumbered the free population four to one 452,000 slaves in a population of 520,000.