Haiti history might like to shed some light on the fascinating country presented to us today. It was the very first nation in Latin America to gain its independence from any other Empire. So what makes this nation so special and can Haiti history tell us more?
It would seem as though the nation began life in a normal enough fashion. It was first inhabited by the Arawak Indians like many other Caribbean islands. There are many artifacts remaining from this island and a good economy was established in the country as well as its subsidiaries.
Sir Christopher Columbus discovered the island of Hispaniola in 1492 and it was thus one of his first discoveries. He claimed the island for Spain and, following a shipwreck, was forced to leave some of his men on the island. They managed to establish a civilization called La Navidad but this was destroyed by American Indians shortly after; they were of course vastly outnumbered.
Haiti history was set in gold when it was discovered and the country was hiding a pretty fortune. The Spanish wasted no time at all in exploiting this resource for the good of their Empire. As much of a cliché as this might seem, the Spanish managed to wipe out yet another national population with the infectious diseases which they brought with them. Haiti became slightly more lonely at this point with the population at its lowest point.
Slave Trade in Haiti
1517 saw the first slaves imported to work the gold mines and those natives that refused to work in the mines were butchered. The French seemed to have other plans and decided to make their own mark upon Haiti with invasion and settlement. Colonists soon moved over from the neighboring French Territories of Guadeloupe and Martinique.
The French and Spanish eventually decided to share the island of Hispaniola and the western third was named Saint Dominique and belonged to the French. This third, smaller than the Spanish share as it might have been, was far more prosperous and soon pushed the Spanish into the shade. This was so important that it was the most profitable of all new French territories, despite being handed the smallest share of the island.
The French revolution sent shock waves through its empire and thus there was a revolution upon the island of Haiti. Haiti history was being written by change and power struggles. Trade soon commenced with the US and the UK and main goods included coffee and tobacco.
Napoleon decided he would retake the island and sent 30,000 men to do so. Napoleon was a man after glory and spread himself across a great number of conflicts. The natives were not interested, however, and many French attempts to recapture the island failed. Haitian history had clearly chosen to go its own way and wasn't going to give up on its dream of independence. To ensure this stayed a reality and didn't fade into the realms of dreamland, the Haitian government paid 90 million Francs to the French as payment for their freedom.
The United States did indeed occupy the island but it retained its independence. Haiti history is a real trail blazer as they forced through their freedom and took the lead in the Caribbean. They were truly heroic in their actions and fought for what they wanted more than anything else. Unfortunately, the island is nowhere near being an economic success. Indeed, Haiti is reputed to be the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere.
On January 12, 2010 Haiti had suffered its worst earthquake in 200 years. A quake with a magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter Scale had struck in the most populous portion of the nation and this has come at the worst possible time for this already struggling country. It would seem that even present day events are having a dramatic impact on this poor country.