Christopher Columbus landed on the northern coast of the island of Hispaniola. There, he established the first European settlement in this part of the world. He and his men claimed this land for Spain. They enslaved the native inhabitants, the Tainos and set them to work.
Jan 1, 1509
African Slaves in Hispaniola *
Within a few decades, Columbus and his men wiped out the majority of the indigenous population. Because of this, the first African slaves were brought over to work in the sugar mills and plantations around this time.
French Settlements *
By the 1670's, France had created many permanent settlements on the western third of Hispaniola. This threatened the Spain's claim on the island.
Code Noir *
King Louis XVI of France issued the Code Noir, or Black Code, a set of codes that outlined France's position on slavery in it's colonies. These codes said that slaves were the property of their owners, limited the brutality of masters, and more.
Establishment of Saint Domingue *
The Treaty of Ryswick ended a war in Europe between France and Spain. This treaty gave France official control of the western third of Hispaniola. France named its new colony Saint Domingue.
African Slave Trade *
It is estimated that from 1700 to 1791, over 700,000 Africans were brought over to Saint Domingue.
Wealth in Saint Domingue *
By the mid 1700's Saint Domingue was the wealthiest colony in the Caribbean. It was also the world's largest sugar exporter. This was all possible due to the Africran slave trade for ever-increasing numbers of slaves.
François Makandal was a maroon leader who may have also been a Vodoo priest. At this time, he organized a plot to poison all the whites in the north of the colony. Makandal intended for the plot to spread to all parts of the colony. This rebellion failed, however, and Makandal was captured and executed. This rebellion influenced many enslaved people across the island, showing them that revolt was possible.
Affranchis vs. Whites *
In the 1760's, whites attempted to control the affranchis population. The colonial government created laws to control the ambitions of the free people of color and stop them from becoming too much like whites. The affranchis were upset when they found that many of their rights and freedoms were taken away.
Protecting the Slaves *
The abuses and violent excesses of planters were so bad that in 1784 the French government reissued many of the provisions to the Black Code to provide more protectection to the slaves.
Revolution Begins *
After months of planning and strategizing, the revolution officially begins. Dutty Boukman, a rebel leader, kicked off the revolution with a Voodou ceremony.
Also, leaders began to emerge, including Touissant Louverture.
Throughout these years, enslaved people led rebellions on plantations throughout the north, burning fields, sugar processing facilities and homes.
Cap Français *
By the end of September, the rebels had burned hundreds of plantations and killed hundreds of whites. They had even succeeded in burning the largest city in the colony, Cap Français, to the ground,
The People Want More *
Rebel leaders tried to negotiate with the colonists for better working conditions and an end to fighting. However, the troops forced them to return to battle. The troops vowed to keep fighting for freedom, with or without the leaders.
The French government declared that all free people of color would be given the full rights of citizenship. The whites opposed this decree- but the colonial government and affranchi armies work together to over power the whites.
Bye British *
Touissant Louverture, with the help of André Rigaud removed all the English from the island.
War of Knives *
Disagreements emerged over whose interests would be promoted in the new society. This was was between Rigaud (with his followers) and Louverture (with his own). Louverture overcame Rigaud with the help of the British.
Louverture's Constitution *
Touissant Louverture, a former slave and rebel leader created a new constitution for Haiti that abolishes slavery and gives all citizens equal rights. However, the constitution outlaws Voodou and does not declare Saint Domingue independent from France, which makes many of the people very angry.
Dessalines + The French *
Everything is chaos. The French have invaded Saint Domingue. Since Louverture convinced many people that they were French citizens, they begain fighting for the French.
Dessalines, one of Louverture's top generals joins the French. They trick Louverture and capture him.
However, Napoleon underestimated the people of Saint Domingue and the struggle continued.
Scorched Earth Policy *
The Scorched Earth Policy was used against the French. This defeated the French in Saint Domingue and led to Napoleon removing all troops from the western hemisphere.
The End of the Revolution
On this day Jean- Jacques Dessalines marked the creation of Haiti, and new nation.
Debt Payed *
As a price for independence, France forced Haiti to pay a debt. It took the country over a hundred years to pay France back.