How Haiti Got Her Independence

If someone ever tells you revolts & riots are ineffective, tell them to ask the French what they thought in 1791. Haiti boldly remains the world’s 1st free Black-led republic & it wasn’t because this title was simply handed to them.

The people took it.

Ironically, however, unsurprisingly enough, the revolts spurred from the inhumane & brutal treatment of the people we now know as Haitian, in the hands of the French imperialist.

Frustration with a racist society, had begun to brew nationalistic rhetoric across the land, these ideas were particularly expressed among the people during Vodou ceremonies. The spark that ignited the flame was the execution of Vincent Ogé; a young man who lobbied the French for colonial reforms–he was captured, tortured & promptly killed.

The people had had enough. In 1791, a revolt broke out & it was above the French. It was eventually curbed by Toussaint-Louverture; a Black man with a natural knack for military strategy. But, Toussaint had his own personal ambitions & although he freed his people by conquering the spanish portion of the island, he named himself “governor-general for life.”, making some shady deals with the oppositions. In late 1801, Napoleon I made an attempt to restore the old regime back.

This time the French had gotten the best of Toussaint. He struggled for several months against French forces later proposing a truce in May, 1802. The French pretended to be in agreement. However, naturally dishonourable, they imprisoned Toussaint in France. He later passed on April 7th, the very next year.

Queue in; Jean-Jacques Dessalines & Henry Christophe–Some of Toussaint’s lieutenants.They brought about the ‘second wave’ of war against the imperialist. Resuming right back where Toussaint left off. The French continued to struggle for control of the island.

Weakened by the yellow fever, coupled with hostilities among their allies & a raging badass army,the French were defeated on November 18, 1803–when the last significant French stronghold surrendered.

They were given 10 days to evacuate the premises!

On January 1, 1804 the entire Island declared her independence. A few other significant things occurred next; including Dessalines assuming the title of Emperor Jacques I.

General Dessalines was later killed in battle during a revolt in October, 1806.

It took a while for the sore losers to recognize Haiti as an independent state (hashtag, reasons why we say popular recognition is for the birds). Haiti was later strong-armed into paying a crippling amount of money to the French  –estimated at $21 billion modern day, through trade embargos, as ‘reparations’ for daring to be free. These sanctions & it’s effects are still a dark shadow on Haiti’s economy till today.

These people never play fair, so why would we?

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