Haitian Insurrections (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Control of Haitian government. Result: Diminution of agricultural and lumber production; restoration of corrupt democracy, permitting the Duvalier-family rule of terror to follow (1957-1986).
In 1806, Haiti, free of French colonizing and with a constitution, became a republic, recognized by France and the United States. Beginning in 1807, Haiti had separate northern and southern presidents, but the country reunited in 1820 and occupied neighboring Santo Domingo (1822-1844), after which the Dominican Republic was formed. After many territorial disputes, Faustin-Élie Soulouque became Haiti’s emperor Faustin I in 1847. When he abdicated in 1859, an unstable constitutional republic was reinstated. Unrest was rampant, resulting in insurrections.
Pro-democratic mulatto aristocrats battled elite blacks for political control. Conspiratorial, coup-seeking leaders were backed off and on by army units composed mostly of black soldiers, led entirely by black officers, and supporting whichever side had more money.
Seventeen presidents served after Soulouque until 1915. One of the best was the first, Nicholas-Fabre Geffrard, a mulatto general whose progressive administration was overthrown in 1867 by Albert Salnave. Salnave’s presidency ended when rebel troops seized and executed him in 1870. Nissage-Saget, a mulatto general, was the only...
(The entire section is 674 words.)
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