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Kathryn Leslieon 4 December 2012
Transcript of Haitian Massacre
long after the Haitian people had gained
not only independence, but also their freedom. The Haitian Revolution was basically a slave revolt
that led to the founding of a state, and is the only slave revolt
ever to have such results, it is also one of the two revolutions against any European power to end in permanent independance But through propaganda and under the leadership of a man
called Jean-Jacques Dessalines who played on the lasting prejudices of newly freed slaves, what should have been a time of
victory was about to turn deadly Three Days After the French had surrendered and the bulk of their military forces evacuated, Dessalines gave the orders for the French soldiers who had remained behind due to illness to be drowned. Bringing the death toll up to 800 people in only a few days The remaining French civilian population was promised safety, but the power of words and propaganda was about to be proven. Statements made by Dessalines such as "There are still French on this Island, amd yet you still consider yourself free" spoke volumes about his resentment toward the French population Rumors that some white citizens where thinking of fleeing to some foreign country and returning with reinforcements to reinstate slavery spread, This caused open discussiom between Dessalines and his advisers about putting the French people to death "for the sake of national security." All white citizens where barred from fleeing the island. January 1, 1804 Haiti was declared an independant nation, not soon after, the word was sent out by Dessalines that all white men should be put to death. He apparently even went as far as to suggest the use of knives and other "quieter weapons" so the other victims would not be alerted and given the opportunity to escape. During February and March Dessalines traveled from town to town to ensure that his orders where being carried out. In every town that he visited very few people had been killed despite his orders The first thing Dessalines did when he entered the towns was to talk about the horrible things that had happend in the past because of white officials such as Rochambeau and Leclerc. He also went directly to the unwilling people, particularly those of mixed race and ordered them to participate, because he didn't want the blame to fall solely on the black population Following his visits to towns the murders picked up speed by an estimated of at least 80%, In addition to the killings, plantations where burned, the stores owned by white people and the homes of the white citizens where pillaged, rape also occurred. Women and children where generally the last to be killed as Dessalines didn't specifically say that they had to be killed and the people where hesitant to do so. Eventually the argument was made that if the women where allowed to live they could have more Frenchmen and the race would not be completely eradicated from the island and they where killed. Some women where spared if they agreed to marry non-white men. Some people who had hidden effectively where eventually smuggled off the island by foreigners By the end of April, 1804 the majority of white haitians had been killed, only few where spared:
- People with connections in the Haitian army
- Women who married black men
- Polish soldiers who had abandoned the french during the revolution
- A small group of German colonists A few of the places where the massacres where the most prominent where Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien, 800 people where killed in Port-au-Prince and anywhere from 1700-3000 people where killed in Cap-Haitien One of the most enthusiastic participants was a mulatto from Port-au-Prince known for his brutality called: Jean Zombi. Among multiple reports people described his killings as "horrifying." To put that word into perspective there has been speculation that the modern day "Zombie" was actually based on him and his part in this massacre. Dessalines didn't remotely try to hide the massacre from the world, calling it a political necessity and the white people where a threat to peace. He regarded this as a act of national authority and justifiable vengeance. In an official proclamation on 8 April 1804, he stated, "We have given these true cannibals war for war, crime for crime, outrage for outrage. Yes, I have saved my country, I have avenged America". The Aftermath In 1805 when the Haitian constitution was created all citizens where classified as "Black" and all white people that remained where barred from owning land The 1804 Massacre In Haiti was an ethnic cleansing that resulted in the death of 5-6000 White Haitian people