Haitian Independence (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: A massive slave revolt initiated an anticolonial struggle and resulted in the first black republic in modern times.
Summary of Event
On August 22, 1791, a major slave uprising ignited a long, bloody rebellion in Haiti that would ultimately break both the shackles of slavery and the constraints of French colonial rule. Following more than twelve years of continuous revolt, including attacks directed at the might of Napoleon’s forces, Haiti became the first independent nation in Latin America. Having concluded the second successful revolution in the Western Hemisphere, the Haitians established the first black republic in modern times.
In 1697, France had gained control of the western third of Hispaniola (now Haiti) from Spain as part of the Treaty of Ryswick. Long neglected as a backwater area by Spain, Haiti rapidly became France’s most productive colony. During the eighteenth century, economic activity accelerated, as Haiti became a major exporter of sugar, coffee, indigo, cocoa, and cotton. The high productivity was based on a slave plantation economy. By 1789, more than five hundred thousand African slaves, often working under abysmal conditions, provided prosperity for approximately forty thousand white planters and twenty-five thousand people of mixed ancestry (mulattoes) who, although officially accorded French citizenship rights, were subject to social and political inequalities....
(The entire section is 1471 words.)
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