Haitian History

By admin ~ April 25th, 2010 @ 10:26 am


In 1492 Christopher Columbus wrote about Haiti: “The most beautiful in the world”. Certainly, Haiti is a wonderful country in the Caribbean. I think that has a special beauty, with a geography and traditional culture that is totally different from all the other countries in Latin America.
Since then, the dictatorships have destroyed Haitian society, economy, ecology and sport. Since 1950, two million Haitian people emigrated to the United States and other countries. Haitian-American arrived from Haiti with nothing more than their clothes. If we compare the Haiti of today to Haiti of thirty years ago, we see a change: a new multiparty democracy. Today, a vast part of the Third World and more than a billion people are under dictatorships.

Eventually, I would like to finish my introduction with a message by Albert Mangones: “Haiti is unique in history, going directly from slavery to nationhood”.


1492: Columbus discovered Haiti in the 15th Century.

1520-1697: Haiti is a Spanish territory. In the late 1500 and early 1600, African slaves flocked to Island.

1697-1790: Haiti is a French colony. After 16th Century, Haiti became the most important French colony in the Americas. Island?s export to Europe included sugar, coffee and corn. The beauty of Haiti is recognized by the French in the mid-1700 Century, when they called it “Pearl the Caribbean”.

1790-1803: During the French colonization slaves suffers from maltreatment. By the late 1790, pro-independence demonstrations. An Anti-slavery movement under Toussaint L?Ouverture began. L?Ouverture is one of the most important black leaders in the history.During this period of time, Haitian slaves attack villages. Anti-French protests riots brutally suppressed. By the late 1803, under leadership of Jean Jacques Dessalines, Haiti army defeated the French forces at the Battle of Vertieres.

1804-1806:A French colony for more than hundred years, Haiti becomes independent, one of the most important events in the history. Jean Jacques Dessalines became the first president of new republic of Haiti, the first black republic in the modern history. Dessalines is the “Father of Modern Haiti”. Haiti occupies the Western third of Hispaniola, the second-largest Island in the Caribbean.
1804-1820: Unfortunately; Haiti is divided into two zones. Northern Haiti is occupied by Henri Christopher, who is named Emperor, while the north is occupied by Alexander Petion. Petion is probably the greatest Haitian politician who ever lived.
1880: Haiti has one of the richest ecosystems in the Caribbean.

1900: Haiti?s modern political has been tumultuous, marked by dictatorships

1915-1934: Haiti has not had an effective national government Invasion by United States forces. US troops sent to Haiti during civil sub-war.

1918: The Presidential Palace, one of the best national palaces in the world, is originally designed by the Haitian Georges Bassan. Bassan is inspired to White House Washington.

1926: Emily Greene Balch, a human rights activist, went to Haiti.

1928: Cator is the only Haitian ever to win olympic silver medal. After, Haitian athlete Sylvio Cator breaks the men’s long jump record in Paris. Cator was given a hero’s welcome when he returned to his country.

1937: In the Dominican Republic, Rafael Leonidas Trujillo ordered national troops to massacre of 20000 Haitian emigrants.

1940-1950: Haiti is one of the most popular travel destinations in the Caribbean.

1944: Dewitt Peters, an American school-teacher, founded the Centre d’Art in Port -au-Prince Since 1944, Centre d’Art became the centre of the Haitian painting. It is now one of Haiti?s biggest tourist attractions, and every year thousands of people came to see the paintings and other work of Haitian art.

1945: Haiti becomes the 26th member of the United Nations in October.

1956: Haiti establishes diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan).

1956: Daniel Fignol? is President of the Provisional Council and Head of State of Haiti

1957-1971:After working for a time as a traditional doctor, Francois Duvalier became one of Haiti’s most famous doctors. In 1957, Duvalier is elected President of the Republic of Haiti. President Duvalier announced: “My government will guarantee the exercise of liberty to all Haitians”. Francois Duvalier, also known for his nickname “Papa Doc”, emerged as Head of State and quickly gained nearly absolute power. In 1961 “Papa Doc” rewrote the National Constitution. After, he became the first “President for Eternity of Haiti”. In the 1960s and 1970s “Papa Doc” popularizes superstitions ideas to Haiti through a series of important voodoo rites. The Duvalier dictatorship instituted rig press censorship. International agencies accuse government of grave human rights abuses. His regime of terror resulted in the deaths of least 30000 Haitian. The Island is one of the most dangerous countries in the Third World.

1957-1981: Haitian First Lady Simone Ovide became one of the most dominant women in the history of Haiti. Simone, wife of the most famous dictator of Haiti, gained in influence and power through corruption and crime.

1957-1989: For many decades, Haiti does not have diplomatic relations with the USSR, People’s Republic of China, Cuba, Hungary, South Africa and East Germany.

1960: The Tonton Macoutes, the brutal secret police, initiated a “Haitian genocide” in which political prisoners were tortured and executed.

1964: Joseph Eduard Gaetjens, the idol of millions of Haitians, is arrested and killed by the Tonton Macoutes, the sinister Haitian secret police. Like John Barnes (Jamaica) and Everald “Gally” Cummings (Trinidad Tobago), he was a great footballer in the Caribbean. After, Gaetjens become a world symbol of the struggle against dictatorship in the Third World. He had dual Haitian and American nationality and played at 1950 World Cup for the United States. Son of Haitian mother and Belgium father, he played for many clubs in the United States. The year 1950 was a very important year for Gaetjens: the United States beat England 1-0, the birthplace of the modern football.

1964: Francois Duvalier changed the national flag. Black and red are the colors chosen by Duvalier. Black, which is similar to the Angolan flag, represents the descendants of the patriot Francois Toussaint L’Ouverture and is also the traditional color of the Haitian people. While, red symbolizes the country`s independence. But the original flag, used since 1803, was removed in 1986 by order of the new government.

1966: Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia, arrives in Port-au-Prince. Under the leadership of Dictator Francois Duvalier, many African countries maintain official diplomatic relations with Haiti.
1967: The Comedians, a film by British director Peter Glenville, inspired in the cruel Haitian dictatorship by the Duvalier family.

1971: After Duvalier’s death, power passed to his son Jean Claude Duvalier, the man who became known throughout the world as “Baby Doc”. Baby Doc is as dictatorial as his father. Haiti is ruled by iron hand. Duvalier, best known for his anticommunist political, is omnipresent. Many opposition leaders were arrested. He is accused of human rights abuses. Thousand of Haitian people fled the country. Corruption is prevalent at all levels of government. The health system is one of the worst in the Americas.

1974: The sporting system is one of the worst in the Third World, but Haiti qualified for the 1974 FIFA World Cup. Haiti beat Trinidad-Tobago in the World Cup qualifiers. Is one of the greatest sporting moment, in the chronology, comparing it to something like Sylvio Cator, who won a silver medal in long jump in the 1928 Olympics Games in Holland.

1975: In El Salvador, Miss Haiti, Gerthie David, is named first runner up at Miss Universe Pageant… transmitting live to millions by CBS. After, Gerthie David is acclaimed in Port-au-Prince as a national heroine. Miss Haiti competed with 71 other women from around the world for the title of Miss Universe, including Miss USA, Summer Barthollomew.

1980: Like Canada, West Germany South Korea and Kenya, Haiti boycott the Moscow Olympic Games in protest for Soviet invasion of Afghanistan

1980-1986: Jean-Claude Duvalier, Haiti’s longtime dictator, married Michelle Bennett, an aristocratic lady. A little more than three months later, Bennett-Duvalier becomes First Lady of Haiti. Like Eva Peron (Argentina) or Jiang Qing (People’s Republic of China), she was a woman with great power. Michelle Bennett promoted her mulatto countrymen to positions of leadership in the dictatorship at his expense of the African-Haitians.

1982: The National History Park (La Citadelle Laferriere, Sans Souci Palace and Ramiers) is designated as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. Like Machu Picchu (Peru) and Angkor What (Cambodia), the National History Park is considered among the wonders of the world.

1982: Ronald Agenor wins a gold medal in men’s tennis singles at the Central American and Caribbean Sports Games La Havana. He captures the hearts of the Island.

1983: Pope John Paul arrives in Haiti for a visit. “Things most change here”, said John Paul II.

1986: As Jean-Claude consolidated his power, he consistently refused to consider constitutional reform. The insurrection against the dictator Jean Claude Duvalier began…Antigovernment protesters in the capital. Many deaths, injuries and arrests. Seeming end to long Haitian dictatorship with fall of Duvalier regime.

1987: Haiti has one of the America’s rates of HIV infection

1987: The New Constitution restored many of the liberties abolished by the Duvalier family. The National Constitution recognizes both French and Creole as official languages. A new opposition emerged under Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

1988: Writer Rene Depestre wins the Prix Ranandot. Depestre, a Haitian dissident now living in France, was cited his novel Hadriana dans tous mes reves. By the mid-1980s Rene Depestre had become well known in literacy circles outside Haiti.

1990: Ertha Pascall-Trouillot becomes the first black woman elected of Head of State in the world.

1990: First multi-party elections. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a charismatic black leader, was elected president of Haiti. Aristide is the first democratic president since 1804.He was elected with the most popular support of any Haitian presidential candidate in the history.

1991: Military coup in the country. Raoul Cedras, leader of the coup, emerged as head of the new government. This year marked the end of eight months of democracy. Under new government, all political parties were dissolved.

1991-1995: Like Equatorial Guinea, Cuba and North Korea, Haiti has one of the most serious human rights problems in the Third World.

1993: United Nations imposed economic sanctions on Haiti, one of the most densely populated nations in the Americas.

1994: Peaceful occupation by United States forces to restore democratic electoral system. Raoul Cedras and his family went into exile in Panama City. Aristide was restored to power.

1995: In Port-au-Prince, sub-war violence includes assassination of Meireille Durocher Bertin.
1995: In Beijing, the capital of city of the People’s Republic of China, Haiti participated in the UN`s Fourth World Conference on Women

1996:More than 5,000 Haitians had been killed and miles more fled to abroad, United States, Canada, Bahamas and Dominican Republic, since 1991.

1998: Haitian president Ren? Garcia Preval arrives in Taipei (Taiwan) for a four-day state visit. He and President Lee will sign a communiqu? to strengthen bilateral friendship and cooperation.

1999: Dominican president Leonel Fernandez visit to Haiti as part of a new diplomacy.

2002: In Paris, Dudley Dorival finished 3rd in the 110 hurdles at the World Championships. He becomes the 1st Haitian to win an individual international medal since 1928.Dorival was born in New Jersey, United States, to Haitian parents on 1 September 1975. He in 2000 officially became a citizen of Haiti.

2000: Haiti is one of the thirty poorest countries in the Third World.

2000-2001: The elections were boycotted by the main opposition political parties. Aristide was again elected President. Widespread violent in Haiti allege that Aristide’s election victory is fraudulent. Total political censorship exists in national media.

2004: This year Haiti is celebrating the 200th Anniversary of their National Independence. President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti flees to Central African Republic following anti-government demonstrations. Haiti has one of the most violent conflict areas in the Americas. After, UN troops sent to Haiti during civil sub-war.

2006: Rene Preval is sworn in as President of Haiti. Since the peaceful transfer of power in February, Haiti is the newest democracy in the Third World.
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