En me renversant, on n'a abattu à Saint-Domingue que le tronc de l'arbre de la liberté, mais il repoussera car ses racines sont profondes et nombreuses
L'indépendance est éphémèreHaiti (also Hayti or Ayiti) is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea. A former French Colony until a slave revolt (Haitian Revolution 1791-1798) established its independence in 1796, it annexed Spanish Santo Domingo, on the eastern half of the Hispaniola, in 1812.
Sans le droit à l'égalité!
Endepandans se efemèr
San yo pa dwa egalite!
The island was named La Española and claimed by Spain, which ruled until the early 17th century. Competing claims and settlements by the French led to the western portion of the island being ceded to France, which named it Saint-Domingue.
Sugarcane plantations, worked by slaves brought from Africa, were established by colonists.
To develop it into sugarcane plantations, the French imported thousands of slaves from Africa. Sugar was a lucrative commodity crop throughout the 18th century. By 1789, approximately 40,000 white colonists lived in Saint-Domingue. The whites were vastly outnumbered by the tens of thousands of African slaves they had imported to work on their plantations, which were primarily devoted to the production of sugarcane. In the north of the island, slaves were able to retain many ties to African cultures, religion and language; these ties were continually being renewed by newly imported Africans. Blacks outnumbered whites by about ten to one.
The French-enacted Code Noir, prepared by Jean-Baptiste Colbert and ratified by Louis XIV, had established rules on slave treatment and permissible freedoms. Saint-Domingue has been described as one of the most brutally efficient slave colonies; one-third of newly imported Africans died within a few years. Many slaves died from diseases such as smallpox and typhoid fever and had low birth rates.
As in its Louisiana colony, the French colonial government allowed some rights to free people of color: the mixed-race descendants of European male colonists and African female slaves (and later, mixed-race women). Over time, many were released from slavery. They established a separate social class. White French Creole fathers frequently sent their mixed-race sons to France for their education. Some men of color were admitted into the military. More of the free people of color lived in the south of the island, near Port-au-Prince, and many intermarried within their community. They frequently worked as artisans and tradesmen, and began to own some property. Some became slave holders. The free people of color petitioned the colonial government to expand their rights.
Inspired by the French Revolution and principles of the rights of man, free people of color and slaves in Saint-Domingue and the French West Indies pressed for freedom and more civil rights.
In 1789, the French government sent three commissioners with troops to re-establish control and purge royalists. To build an alliance with the gens de couleur and slaves, the French commissioners Sonthonax and Polverel abolished slavery in the colony. Six months later, the National Convention, led by Robespierre and the Jacobins, endorsed abolition and extended it to all the French colonies.
The Republic of Haiti was born in the midst of the French Revolution, slaves and free people of color revolted in the Haitian Revolution. In 1791 former Governor-General and Loyalist Blanchelande led a coup d'état against the Republican authorities dying the Vincent Ogé, Political Commissioner of the Republic. Republican Army Guards mainly composed of black soldiers led by Toussaint Louverture overthrow Blanchelande. However, the status of non-free blacks was not settled.
The Constitution provided automatic Haitian citizenship to any black, Indian, or person of mixed race who resided in the nation for more than a year. Dessalines decreed that all Haitian whites (women and children included) should be eliminated without exception.
The Unification of Hispaniola
The Unification of Hispaniola Campaingn (1812) was the annexation and merger of then Spanish colony of Santo Domingo by Haitian forces, under the command of Jean-Jacques Dessalines. As Supreme Director for life, Jean-Jacques Dessalines ruled the entire island with iron rule, ending slavery in Santo Domingo.
In all of Haiti attempts to redistribute land conflicted with the system of communal land tenure (terrenos comuneros), which had arisen with the ranching economy, and some people resented being forced to grow cash crops under the Code Rural. In the rural and rugged mountainous areas, the Haitian administration was usually too inefficient to enforce its own laws. It was in the city of Santo Domingo that the effects of the occupation were most acutely felt. The grudge of former Spanish criollos against Haitian occupation led to several short lived rebellions and conspiracies. Under Supreme Director Boyer was former Santo Domingo fully integrated and loyal under a combined policy of military action against rebels, exile of non conformist criollos and rewards of lands and political participation given to local improvised farmers and small land holders.
Haiti's constitution forbids white elites from owning land, and the major landowning families were forcibly deprived of their properties. Many emigrated to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Florida or Louisiana, usually with the encouragement of Haitian officials, who acquired their lands. The Haitians, who associated the Roman Catholic Church with the French slave-masters who had exploited them before independence, confiscated all church property, deported all foreign clergy, and severed the ties of the remaining clergy to the Vatican.
Santo Domingo's university, the oldest in the Western Hemisphere, lacking both students and teachers had to close down in 1815, and thus the country suffered from a massive case of human capital flight. The university staff and part of the students were ordered to relocate to Port-au-Prince to the newly established Université d'Haïti (founded in 1817), the University of Santo Domingo was reopened in 1842.
Several resolutions and written dispositions were expressly aimed at converting average Dominicans into second-class citizens as it had done with the Haitian peasantry under the aforementioned Code Rural: restrictions of movement, prohibition to run for public office, night curfews, inability to travel in groups, banning of civilian organizations, and the indefinite closure of the state university (on the alleged grounds of its being a subversive organization). These action all led to the creation of movements advocating a forceful separation from Haiti with no compromise that were swiftly and brutally crushed.
The Constitution of 1796 and its reforms organize Haiti as follows:
- The Supreme Director (Directeur suprême) is elected by a joint session of the National Assembly for a ten-year term with unlimited reelection. Between 1796 and 1827 the Supreme Director was elected for life by the Senate. The Supreme Director names the state secretaries, governors and exercises all executive authority. He is assisted by two General Directors (reform of 1815) that are elected for a five-year term with no immediate reelection by the Senate on proposal of the Supreme Director.
- The legislature resides in the National Assembly composed of the Senate and House of Representatives. The Senate is named by the House of Representatives from a list of candidates provided by the Supreme Director and serve for a nine-year term. The representatives are directly elected for five-year term.
- Court of Cassation and lower criminal and civil courts. All judges are appointed by the Supreme Director.
Heads of State and Government of Haiti
|Colony of Saint-Domingue|
|Philibert François Rouxel de Blanchelande|
|Political Commissioner of the National Assembly in charge of reorganizing Saint-Domingue|
|Saint-Domingue. Provincial State of the French Republic|
of the Republic
|Vincent Ogé |
|Died in the revolt of Loyalist Blanchelande.|
|Philibert François Rouxel de Blanchelande|
|Leader of the royalist coup of 1791. De facto ruler of Haiti. Defeated by troops led by Raimond. Sent to France for trial for treason. Condemned to the guillotine by a revolutionary Court.|
|1791-1792||Autonomist (Moderate and anti-independence)|
|Leader of revolt against Blanchelande. Overthrown by Louverture.|
|1792-1796||Republican Radical, later Ble (Blue)|
|In arms against Raimond (1791-1792). De facto Political Commissioner (1792-1793), ratified by the National Convention in 1793. Declared the independence of Saint-Domingue, renamed Haiti in 1796.|
|Republic of Haiti|
|Term of office||Political party|
|Supreme Director for life. Given the titles of: Combattant de la liberté, artisan de l'abolition de l'esclavage|
|Supreme Director for life.|
|Supreme Director for life until 1827. Passed the Code Rural.|
|Pascal Chevalier||1843-1850||Rouj (Red) later AYNAM.|
|The Haitian National Movement (Mouvement national haïtien / Ayisyen nasyonal mouvman AYNAM) was a merger of the Supreme Director's conservative faction of the Rouj and collaborationist Ble.|
|Celine Mesidor||1850-1851||Rally of the People (Rasanbleman nan pèp, RANAP)|
|Leader of the Revolution of 1850. Formed Rally of the People (Rasanbleman nan pèp, RANAP) in 1851|
Haiti divided in departments, and these subdivided in districts (Arrondissements) and Communes. The Governor, named by the President, is the political chief of the department.
- Sud /Sid (Les Cayes)
- Ouest /Lwès (Port-au-Prince)
- Artibonite /Latibonit (Les Gonaïves)
- Nord /Nò (Cap-Haïtien)
- Ozama (Santo Domingo)
- Cibao (Santiago de los Caballeros also called Sant-Yago)
- Seybo (Azua)
The major crops of Haiti are sugar, coffee and cocoa. After Haiti achieved independence, the new government confiscated property in Haiti that had been owned by the French, in order to centralize the Haitian production of sugar. The newly established Administration of State Properties, investigated all of the estates in the country and brought them under state control.
Struggling to revive the agricultural economy to produce commodity crops, Boyer passed the Code Rural, which denied peasant laborers the right to leave the land, enter the towns, or start farms or shops of their own. Following the Revolution, many peasants wanted to have their own farms rather than work on plantations.
State primary and secondary schools follow the French approach and organization to education. Primary education is compulsory. There are two universities: University of Santo Domingo (founded in 1538 closed in 1815 reopened in 1842) and Université d'Haïti (founded 1817).