Haiti History

Haiti History

In the first half of the 17th century. French buccaneers settled in the western part of Hispaniola, then belonging to Spain, thus giving rise to the colony of Saint-Domingue, also known by the indigenous name of Haiti. The colony, officially recognized by Paris in 1661 and by Madrid in 1697, met in the 18th century. strong economic and demographic growth and, at the turn of the century, it was the richest in the New World. The revolution in the motherland paved the way for a general uprising of slaves (1791), to which was added the intervention of Great Britain and Spain (1793), which entered the war with France. Slavery abolished (1794), the leader of the insurgents, F.-D. Toussaint Louverture, forced Spain and Great Britain to withdraw from the country (1795; 1798). Occupied the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo (1801), Toussaint Louverture was proclaimed governor for life of the whole island. He reconfirmed the sovereignty of Paris over the colony, but in 1802 he was deported to France at the behest of Napoleon. The black revolt then resumed until the defeat of the French troops (1803) and the proclamation of the independence of the whole island (1804) with the name of the Republic of Haiti.

According to localcollegeexplorer, with the liquidation of the white oligarchy, the conflicts between the black population and the mulatto minority, which tended to establish itself as the new ruling class by taking over the army, administration and commercial activities, led to a long period of civil wars, which ended only in 1820 when the mulatto president J.-P. Boyer he succeeded in affirming his dominion. In 1822 it also annexed the eastern part of Hispaniola, but the unity of the island ended in 1844, following the rebellion of the residents of the former Spanish colony who proclaimed the Dominican Republic. France recognized Haiti’s independence in 1825, in exchange for a heavy financial compensation which contributed to aggravate the already exhausted economic conditions of the country. After the overthrow of Boyer in 1843, political instability remained very high (almost all presidents until 1915 were deposed by insurrections or coups).

From the end of the nineteenth century, economic and financial difficulties favored the growth of foreign interference: in particular, the United States established important interests in Haiti and in 1915 took advantage of yet another internal conflict to invade the country, which they occupied militarily until 1934. After the US withdrawal (but Washington retained indirect control over Haiti’s finances until 1946), the mulatto oligarchy held steady power until 1946, when a new period of political instability began, which ended only in 1957 with the advent to the presidency of the Republic of François Duvalier, exponent of a new rising black middle class.

Using a ferocious militia loyal to him, the tonton-macoutes (“Ogres” in Creole), Duvalier (nicknamed Papa Doc) firmly seized power and in 1964 assumed the title of president for life. After his death in 1971, his son Jean-Claude (Baby Doc), who succeeded him as president for life, tried to improve the external image of the regime, but kept its violent and corrupt character unchanged. The moderate economic recovery of the 1970s did not alleviate the living conditions of the population, exasperated by unemployment, corruption and the inequitable distribution of income. The explosion of popular discontent in the autumn of 1985 resulted in a revolt that forced Duvalier to take refuge in France (1986). Power was assumed by a junta chaired by the Army Chief of Staff Haiti Namphy, deposed in 1988 by General P. Avril, in turn forced to resign in 1990.

In the general consultations held in 1991 under the supervision of international observers, J.-B. was elected President of the Republic. Aristide, a former Salesian priest. In September of the same year the military regained power and forced Aristide into exile, sparking a repression that caused over 2000 deaths. In June 1993 the UN Security Council imposed a trade embargo on Haiti and in 1994 authorized the United States’ armed intervention. Aristide took over the leadership of the country and gave birth to a broad coalition executive. At the end of his mandate (February 1996), having pledged not to reappear, he supported the election of R. Préval. Immediately afterwards, however, relations between the two leaders became conflicting and in November Aristide formed a new party, which in July 2000 prevailed in the elections, bringing him back to the presidency. Immediately the opposition began to accuse him of corruption and repression of human rights.

In 2004, an extensive revolt forced Aristide to flee the country again (also under pressure from the United States and France) but the clashes between his supporters and opponents continued for a long time, prompting the UN to send a peacekeeping force. keeping. In a climate of widespread violence, Préval was re-elected president in 2006. A new crisis opened in April 2008 when massive street movements led to the dismissal of the prime minister, J.-E. Alexis. Only after a few months Préval was able to appoint M. Duvivier Pierre-Louis in his place, later replaced in 2009 by J.-M. Bellerive.

The precarious socio-economic conditions of the island were aggravated by the devastating earthquake that in Jan. 2010 resulted in the deaths of over 200,000 individuals, also destroying large sectors of the capital, and the cholera epidemic that occurred on the island in October of the same year. The presidential elections, which should have taken place in February 2010 but which due to the very serious situation have been postponed to November, recorded a very low turnout; protests over fraud and international pressure also forced the declared winner and candidate of the ruling party J. Celestin to withdraw; the ballot held in March 2011 decreed the victory, with over 60% of the preferences, of the singer M. Martelly over the center-right candidate M. Manigat; in October of the same year the Senate approved the appointment as premier of G. Conille, which was replaced by L. Lamothe (2012-14) and E. Paul, appointed by Martelly in December 2014. In January 2015, following the bankruptcy of the negotiations for a new electoral law, Parliament was dissolved, and in the following August, after about four years of postponements and for the first time since Martelly’s rise to power, the country returned to vote for the election of the representatives of the Chamber of Deputies and two thirds of the Senate, providing for a second round set for 25 October, to coincide with the first round of the presidential elections. The candidate supported by the outgoing president J. Moïsee J. Célestin of the Ligue alternative pour le progrès et l’émancipation haïtienne, which respectively reported 32.81% and 25.27% of the votes, and which should have compared themselves to the ballot scheduled for December and then postponed; in February 016 Martelly reached an agreement with the Chambers to elect a head of state ad interim, and Parliament has appointed former President of the Senate J. Privert as temporary president. In June the results of the vote were canceled due to irregularities, and new elections called for October 2016; in the consultations, postponed to the following month following the passage of the devastating hurricane Matthew which on the eve of the vote caused enormous damage to the island causing about a thousand deaths, the farmer won in the first round with 55.6% of the preferences Moïse. In July 2018, in a country exhausted by the economic crisis, violent popular protests generated by an increase in the price of fuels forced Prime Minister JG Lafontant, in office since March of the same year, to resign, taking over from him J.-H . Céant, who in turn was disheartened by Parliament in March 2019 for not being able to take effective measures against corruption and to plan interventions for the consolidation of the state budget. In April 2019, President Moïse confirmed JM Lapin as prime minister, initially designated as interim head of government, who resigned in March 2020, replacing him with J. Jouthe, replaced in April 2021 by C. Joseph. In July 2021, Moïse was assassinated in his private residence by a foreign commando, the outgoing premier Joseph taking over the office ad interim, replaced a few days later by the President of the Senate J. Lambert by election of Parliament, while in the country he was declared the state of siege; in the same month he assumed the leadership of the executive A. Henry, commissioned by Moïse before his death. In August, in a situation of continuing political instability and pending the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for the following November, a quake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale with its epicenter 120 kilometers southwest of Port au Prince caused serious damage and death. of over two thousand people in the south of the country.

Haiti History