Historic Of Haiti
When Europeans first arrived, the island of Haiti was mostly populated by migrant Arawak Indians from the South American Amazon (the basin of the Venezuelan Orinocco/Rio Negro) who had moved up around the end of the first millennium.
In Puerto Rico, Haiti and eastern Cuba, this stable agricultural civilisation was reasonably advanced, with well defined religious, artistic, economic and linguistic elements that categorised them as "classic" Taino (Chican-Ostinoide). In Haiti, the civilisation was most developed in the well populated south western province of Xaragua.
Having previously sustained inhabitation since the fourth century BC (successively lithic, archaic, ostinoid and meillacoid) Española's Taïno population of practically a million people was decimated in fifteen years.
Following its "discovery" at the end of the 15th century, the eastern part of the island of Hayti was progressively occupied by the Spaniards, while the French, whose presence was officially acknowledged with the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697, settled to the west. The treaty was revised in 1777 by the treaty of Araniuez, which defines the first border to divide the island in two parts: Spanish (Hispañola) and French (Saint-Domingue).
With the treaty of Basle in July 1795, Spain conceded the eastern part of the island to France. In January 1801, Toussaint Louverture occupied the east in the name of France in accordance with this treaty. It remained under his authority until the arrival of the Leclerc expedition.
In 1814, the treaty of Paris returned the former Spanish territory to Spain, less the land occupied in 1809 by Henri Christophe.
From 1822 to 1844, Haiti no longer had any borders and the two countries merged as one, but in 1844 the previous 1822 border was again established with the creation of the Dominican Republic.
Attempts to re-occupy the east by Riviere Hérard, Pierrot and Soulouque failed, and the line of the border remained imprecise, encouraging Haitian incursions into Dominican territory. Only in 1929, with the treaty between the Republic of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, rectified by the 1935 treaty, did the Dominican border become definite.
MOLE SAINT NICOLAS
(6 December) Christopher Columbus discovers the island of "Hayti" and spends the night in the bay that he names "St Nicolas."
Settlement at Mole Saint Nicolas of its first European inhabitants, the Acadians, who fled English persecution. Strategic fortifications were established successively by the French and English at the end of the 18th century, Mole being the scene of a constant struggle between the two for control of Saint-Dominge.
In a raid on Mole, 300 slaves - known as the "Swiss", who had taken up arms with the western freemen - were thrown into the sea after having their throats cut.
Toussaint Louverture comes to subdue the city won to the cause of Rigaud.
(10 July) Death of general Lamarre, hero of the war of Independence, during the course of a struggle against the southern Republic by the Kingdom of North.
President Salomon's government signs a contract with the count of Ockza agreeing to the laying of a submarine cable enabling communications with Europe and America.
BAY DES MOUSTIQUES
(7 December) Christopher Columbus drops anchor in the bay, calling it "Harbour of the Conception".
(9 December) The region reminds the Admiral of the plains of Castille - he calls the island "Hispañola".
(12 December) Columbus consecrates the island to God and his Saints. He plants the "Cross of the Savior" on a prominentry to the western entrance of the bay.
ILE DE LA TORTUE
(6 December) Christopher Columbus sails the length of an island to the north of the landmass that he calls "Ile de la Tortue", or "Turtle Island", because of its profile.
Arrival of the first pirates.
François Levasseur becomes governor of Turtle Island by right of conquest.
Arrival of some of the first "tied laborours", the so called European who were committed to working their passage for a period of thirty six months.
Louis XIV signs the concession for several islands, of which Turtle Island is given the order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem or the Order of Malts. Louis d' Ache, Knight of Fontenay, is appointed governor.
Du Rausset is nominated governor of Turtle Island - the first by royal commission.
Louis XIV names Bertrand of Ogeron governor of Turtle Island. The seat of government will remain on the island until his death in 1676.
The Treaty of Ryswick established the supreme sovereignty of France over the western part of the island of Hispañola.
The island provides a sanctuary where the French take refuge to escape yellow fever. The remains of Leclerc are taken there in order to be repatriated to France.
PORT DE PAIX
(16 December) Christopher Columbus explores the area, calling it "Paradise Valley" (Val Paraíso). He calls the town site "Puerto Paix".
The seat of government is transferred from Ile de la Tortue to Port de Paix, which becomes the first French capital on the mainland. The first slave rebellion is lead by Padre Jean.
General Cappoix, hero of the war of Independence, is born at Habitation Delaunay, not far from Port de Paix.
Toussaint signs a treaty with Governor Laveaux. Abandoning Spain, he sides with the French Republic, taking his 5000 troops with him.
(17 October) Cappoix massacres the Europeans at Port de Paix so brutally that he earns the nickname "Cappoix la Mort" ("Killer Cappoix").
During Christophe's reign, Port de Paix was a rebel city, opposing its monarch under the command of Rebecca, an officer degraded by king Christophe - who beheads him in 1807 so putting an end to the town's insurgence.
BAIE DE L'ACUL
(21 December) Saint Thomas's day. Christopher Columbus enters a magnificent bay which he calls "Port Saint Thomas".
(22 December) First meeting between Columbus and Guacanagaric, the Chief of Marien.
The bay was called Port Camp-Louise by the French until 1740, since when it has been known as the Baie de l'Acul.
(24 December) Christopher Columbus crosses Cap Haitien bay to disembark on the sands of Marien, the caciquat of Chief Guacanagaric.
Cap Haitien will later be built on a site then called Guarico by the Spaniards.
French pirates from Ile de la Tortue under the leadership of Betrand d'Ogeron establish themselves on the Cap headland.
Foundation of the town of Cap Français by royal decree. It was to become the most prosperous of the colony.
Birth of Toussaint Louverture at Habitation Breda, not far from Cap Français.
Birth of Dessalines on the Habitation Cormier, near Cap.
(20 January) Makandal is burned alive at Cap.
Cap Français parish church is established.
(25 February) Vincent Ogé and Jean Baptist Chavannes, leaders of the emancipation movement, are beaten to death together with their associates in Cap Français town square.
(22 August) Major slave rebellion erupts in the Cap region.
(29 August) Proclamation of freedom of the northern slaves by Sonthonax.
(January) Leclerc's French warships arrive in the bay. The city is burned by Henri Christophe, commander of Cap.
(7 June) Toussaint Louverture is put aboard The Hero and deported to Fort de Joux in the Jura, where he dies.
(2 November) General Leclerc succumbs to yellow fever. He is buried at the Pantheon in Paris.
(18 November) French troops are subjected to a bitter defeat at the battle of Vertières, putting an end to the French colony of Saint Domingue.
Proclamation of Independence at Gonaïves. Cap Français becomes Cap Haitien.
(8 October) Coronation of Dessalines, first Emperor of Haiti.
(2 June) King Christophe is crowned "Henry 1st" in Cap Haitien parish church. Cap Haitien became Cap Henry, the name it retained until his death.
Boyer re-establishes the name "Cap Haitien".
Birth of the poet Oswald Durand, one of the greatest poets of 19th century Haitian literature.
An earthquake destroyed most of the city. Two thirds of its inhabitants perish under the debris.
Cap Haitien is decreed capital of Haiti by president Pierrot. It remains so briefly.
Popular uprising led by General Sylvain Salnave against the Geffrard government which lasted nearly seven months. Salnave's tomb remained in the Place d'Armes in Cap, opposite the statue of Jean Jacques Desslines, until the American occupation in 1915.
(20 July) Philomé Obin, the best known painter of the "Northern School" was born, lived and died at Cap Haitien.
First journey of poet and Cuban politician José Marti to Haiti.
The city of Cap is illuminated for the first time with kerosene lamps. A lighthouse and a hydraulic network are established.
Foundation of the free school of Rights at Cap by writer Tertulien Guilbaud.
Official completion of the Hyppolite bridge and the opening of the first covered market.
Foundation of the Sainte-Marie school by Edmond Etienne, which later became the College of Our Lady.
Work starts on the construction of an important railway network to link the city of Cap with a number of other strategic northern locations.
BORD DE MER LIMONADE
(25 December) The Santa Maria runs aground in the bay of Cap Haitien. Fort Navidad, the first European structure in the new world, is built with the remains of the flag ship, close to the place now known as Bord de Mer Limonade.
(4 January) Columbus sets sail for Europe.
Rodrigo of Mexia, one of the lieutenants of the Spanish governor Nicolas Ovando, founds the city of Puerto Réal.
The city is burned and abandoned, to be rediscovered in 1975 by William Hodges.
Moreau de Saint-Méry, historian and French geographer, explores the remains known as "Columbus's Castle". He believes he has discovered the remnants of fort Navidad. He had actually found some of the ruins of Puerto Réal. The site was successively occupied by the Indians, the Spaniards and the French.
(26 July) The first church of Limonade is concecrated to Saint Anne.
(19 October) Cappoix la Mort perishes in an ambush at the entrance to Limonade.
(15 August) During the ceremony of the Assumption at Limonade church, King Christophe collapses with apoplexy.
Famous residents of the city include: Chabanon du Maugris of the French Academy, general Prévost, Lieutenant General, Secretary of State, and Minister of Foreign Affairs to King Christophe, the Count of Limonade.
Foundation of the Spanish city of Bayaha following the abandonment of Puerto Réal.
Foundation of the French city which retains the Spanish name of Bayaha.
The city changes its name to Fort Dauphin.
Under the French Republic, the city is called Fort Liberté.
(28 November) Proclamation of Independence. The text, signed by Dessalines, Christophe and Clerveaux, is published on January 4th, 1804, in the Philadelphia Gazette.
(26 March) During a reception at Fort Liberté, Christophe is named King Henry the 1st. The town is named "Fort Royal", and remains so for the duration of his reign.
Around the bay one can still see the remains of an elaborate colonial defensive system: Fort Labouque, Batterie de l'Anse, Fort Saint Charles, Fort Saint Frédérique and Fort Dauphin (also called Fort Saint Joseph or Fort Liberté) - and Ile Bayau, the pirates' island of choice.
From 1870 to the American occupation in 1915, the area was under the influence of the Cacos.
RIVIERE DU MASSACRE
The Indiands called this river the Guatapana.
Spanish colonialists massacred 30 French pirates as they headed for the forntier, laden with loot. River Guatapana has been known as Massacre River ever since.
Henry Christophe chose this village, about 25 Km from Cap Henry (formerly Cap Français, latterly Cap Haitien) for his administrative base. He built the Palace of Sans Souci and its surrounding buildings and, close to Milot, atop the range of hills known as the Bonnet-à-l'Evêque (Bishop's Hat), he built the Citadel and the fortification of Ramiers, which are now enclosed within the boundaries of the National Historic Park. The king killed himself in his palace on October 8th 1820. Since 1982, the collection of monuments and the Park have been classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.
A violent earthquake seriously damaged Sans Souci palace and the Citadel.
Near Dondon is a pre-Columbian sanctuary known as the Voûte-à-Minguet. The chiefs and their subjects would meet there every year to pay hommage to their gods.
(28 October) Birth of general Gabart, friend and companion of Dessalines and hero of the battle of Butte Charrier (Vertières).
The Abbot of Haye, friend and confessor of Jean-Francois and Biassou, vicar of Dondon, is drowned in the raid on Cap by order of Rochambeau.
Death of Clerveaux, signature of the Act of Independence.
Dondon is the birthplace of Vincent Ogé.
(20 November) Vincent Ogé and his 23 companions are captured.
Hinche again becomes part of the Republic of Haiti with the founding of the Dominican Republic.
Birth of Charlemagne Péralte, hero of the resistance against the American occupation.
Area of high resistance against the American occupation from 1915 to 1919.
Foundation of the city, consecrated with the inauguration of a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter.
Around the fertile region of Limbé are a number of important colonial habitations, including the Habitation Dufresne, where Makandal, the celebrated rebel slave, was arrested.
President Boyer establishes a colony of black American farmers.
Lamartine evokes Limbé in his poem to Toussaint Louverture "Oh hills of Limbé".
During the civil war, Limbé was a bastion of Firminism.
Plaisance was the scene of various insurrections led by Sylla, the rebel slave.
(7 August) An historic meeting between Dessalines and Pétion during the course of which a pact seals a sacred union between the new freemen and the blacks. This pact eventually results in the independence of Haiti.
Foundation of the city which takes the name of a celebrated governor of Saint-Domingue, Count Ennery.
(February) Isaac and Placide, the two sons of Toussaint Louverture, arrive with the Leclerc expedition. They are reunited with their father at Ennery with a letter from Napoleon which negotiates his surrender.
The city takes its name from the Indian name Gonaubo, by which part of the region of Maguana was called.
(February) The battle of Couleuvre Ravine, near Gonaives, marked the first confrontation between the army of Toussaint Louverture and the troups of Rochambeau.
(1st January) The Independence of Haiti is proclamed by Dessalines at the Place d'Armes, Gonaive.
(6 September) The Firminist admiral Hammerton Killick, not wanting to surrender his vessel "Crête-à-Pierrot" to the german gunship "Panther", blew it up and sank with it in the raid on Gonaive.
(1st January) Grand celebration by Nord Alexis of the first centenary of national independence.
Gonaïves is the native city of J. B. Damier, minister of Public Instruction under Geffrard.
Not much remains from the time when the town, which was to become the first capital of Haiti, was created by Dessalines. It was defended by five forts built by Dessalines on top of the surrounding hills: Forts Doco, Culbuté, La Source, Innocent and Fin du Monde. Remains of residences belonging to the Empress and to Charlotin Marcadieu are also still evident.
(22 September) Dessalines is proclaimed Emperor Jacques 1st by his state regimental adjutant.
(20 May) Publication of the Imperial Constitution.
Lamour Dérance, the rebel slave who had taken up arms against Leclerc, dies there in jail.
PETITE RIVIÈRE DE L'ARTIBONITE
(4 to 24th March) Battle of Crète-à-Pierrot. Fort Crète-à-Pierrot is the scene of one of the most glorious battles of the Independence. A thousand soldiers of the indigenous army subject the expeditionary forces of Leclerc to a twenty day siege.
King Henri Christophe builds the Palace of 365 doors here.
A chapel consecrated to Saint Marc is inaugurated on the site of the present city.
Saint Marc becomes an auspicious colonial city thereafter, and the second harbour of Saint-Domingue.
The Saint-Domingue volunteers leave to help the people of the United States in their struggle for independence. Henri Christophe, aged 12 years, is part of the expedition.
(25 March) Creation of the Assembly of Saint Marc. 212 deputies are elected by the whites of the various Saint-Domingue parishes to form a general assembly of the French contingent of Saint-Domingue in a display of solidarity with the Revolution against the royalty.
(24 February) Dessalines burns Saint Marc and uses the stone from the ruins to construct Marchand which, in 1804, he declares as his capital, "Dessalines".
(30 October) General Gabart, a hero of the war of Independence, dies aged 29 years, and is buried at Saint Marc.
Presidents Philippe Guerrier and Nissage Saget also rest there.
Arcahaie, the frontier town between the Kingdom of Henry 1st and the Republic of the South and West, takes its name from the Taino province of Cayaha, part of Xaragua.
(18 May) Convention of Arcahaie under the presidency of Dessalines, during the course of which the Haitian blue and red flag would have been created.
The Empress Adélina, wife of the Emperor Faustin 1st, was born at Arcahaie on the Habitation Manegue.
ILE DE LA GONÂVE
Survivors of the massacre at the court of queen Anacaona take refuge on the island of Gonâve. They called this Guanabo or Guanarana island.
Gonave is considered by many visitors to be a source of untapped cultural wealth.
PORT AU PRINCE
According to Charlevoix, the name "Port-au-Prince" derives traditionally from a vessel which dropped anchor here in 1706.
(7 June) Foundation of the city by order of the Colonial Governor. His first site was the Habitation Randot, which extended from Bel Air to the present Rue Pavée. Port-au-Prince is proclaimed capital of Saint-Dominge by Louis XV.
Port-au-Prince becomes Port Republicain during the French revolution.
Historic meeting between Toussaint Louverture and André Rigaud.
(21 June) Toussaint Louverture's famous speech from the high chair in Port-au-Prince church. This speech sparked the vicious southern war.
The city is occupied by the Boudet division (French), despite vigorous opposition by Lamartinière.
(September) Dessalines besieges Port-au-Prince.
(10 October) The indigenous army is victorious. The vanquished French generals Lavalette and Lux leave for France.
With the proclamation of independence, Port Republican once again becomes Port-au-Prince.
(16 March) Dessalines orders the French to be massacred.
(17 October) Dessalines is murdered at Pont Rouge, at the northern entrance to the city. He was 48 years old.
(25 March) Second siege of Port-au-Prince by Christophe at the head of an army of 25,000. General Magny, commander of the King's forward guard, defected with his troops, so forcing Christophe to end his siege.
(29 March) Alexander Pétion, president of southern Haiti, dies following a a malignant fever. He was aged 48 years. His heart is buried at Fort National.
Proclamation of the Empire of Haiti to the benefit of Faustin Soulouque.
Abolition of the Empire and restoration of the Republic.
Appearance of iron architecture which blossoms to the full under Hyppolite.
Advent of the gingerbread style.
(28 July) American Landing. The country remains occupied until 1934.
The Portail Saint Joseph, at the northern entrance to the city, has witnessed the passage of history in numerous military invasions, united in the single objective to seize the power that lay within its gates:
1869, the troops that overthrew Sylvain Salnave; 1888, those controlled by Séide Télémaque, hoping to take power after the fall of Salomon; 1889, Florvil Hippolyte at the head of the Northern army; 1902, the troops of general North Alexis; the Cacos hordes, coming to install their presidents (Cincinnatus Leconte, 1911; Oreste Zamor, 1914; Davilmar Théodore, 1914; Vilbrun Guillaume Sam, 1915)…
The city, having been subjected over the years to numerous earthquakes and fires, shows little evidence of its past. Worth a mention, however, are: Fort National, built by the English in 1794/ 1796; the mausoleum of Count Ennery in the original Saint Anne cemetery and the Terrace de l'Intendance opposite the new cathedral.
Famous birthdays include: Alexander Pétion (2 March 1770), Jean Pierre Boyer (15 February 1773); Nissage Saget (6 January 1800); Louis Borno, president of the Republic; Coriolan Ardouin, (1812) historian; Jean Pierre Boyer Bazelais, politician; Thomas Madiou (1814), historian; Frédéric Marcelin (1848) novelist and essayist; Massillon Coicou, poet and dramatist; Justin Lhérisson (1873) writer of the words of the national hymn of Haiti, the Desssalinienne.
President Boyer founds the city in honour of Pétion, former president of the Republic of Haiti, in the hills of Habitation La Coupe. Protected by Forts Jacques and Alexander, this city was destined to become the capital of Haiti.
Residents of Pétionville have included, Boisrond Channel, retired president, and Léon Laleau, diplomat, journalist and writer, crowned Prince of the Poets.
CROIX DES BOUQUETS
An active slave rebellion developed here on the enclosed plain led by the rebel Michel.
Foundation of the little town of Croix-des-Bouquets.
The blacks leave, under the leadership of Pinchinat, Beavais and Lambert, armed to the teeth for the conquest of their civil and political rights.
(30-31 March) 1500 slaves insurgents, under the direction of the rebel Yacinthe, seize the town of Croix-des-Bouquets.
(9 February) Fight to the death of the infamous rebel Halaou.
As the regal capital of Yaguana in the Indian caciquat of Xaragua, the town of Anacaona witnessed some of the most tragic scenes of the Spanish colonisation of the New World: the capture of the queen and the massacre of her subjects by Nicolas Ovando.
Until the foundation of Port-au-Prince in 1749, Léogâne and Petit Goâve both claimed supremacy as capital of Saint-Domingue.
The rebel leader, Romaine la Prophétesse, wrought terror on the plain of Leogane until dying in 1795.
Charlemagne Péralte, as commander of the district, refuses to deliver the city to the American toops, marking the beginning of the resistance to the occupation.
Léogane is the native city of Inginac, secretary of Dessalines, general of Cap and signature of the Act of the Independence. Also of generals Gédéon, Cangé and Marion, of poet Ignace Nau, of Larnartinière, hero of Crète-à-Pierrot, and of Marie Claire Heureuse, wife of Emperor Dessalines.
Object of dispute between Toussaint and Rigaud, the war of the South originated here in 1799.
(27 March) Boyer Bazelais and a hundred of his companions seize the city, subjecting it to a siege of nearly a year, during which time large numbers of the population die from starvation, illness or suffering. The survivors are mercilessly slaughtered on 9 January 1884. A long internal struggle between the National Party, with Salomon as its president, and the Liberal party, lead by Boyer Bazelais, so ends in bloodshed.
The plans of the present city of Jérémie are outlined. Previous to this it was a small fishing village called Trou Jeremie, named after a local fisherman.
During the French colonial period, rebel slaves Plymouth and Macaya (who took their names from the region's mountains) prowled the area with their gangs.
Goman, leader of a peasant movement, builds a mountain "State", Le Grand Doco, in the hills 14 miles from Jérémie, successfully resisting central authority.
Jérémie is called the "City of the Poets", of whom Antoine Laforest, Etzer Vilaire (1872), Emile Roumer, Othello Bayard, composer of "Haiti Cheri" are among the best known.
François D Légitime, president of Haiti, was born here (1887), as were some other notable Haitians including the jurist Linstant de Pradines and Calisthènes Fouchard (1840).
(29 July) Rigaud, following his defeat against the armies of Toussaint, sets sail with his family from Tiburon for Guadeloupe.
Polish troops under major Lozinsky's disembark at Tiburon.
Birth at Torbeck of Boisrond Tonnerre, author of the Act of Independence.
Jean Jacques Acaau, leader of "The Suffering Army," sees the light.
(13 March) At Habitation Praslin, on the plain of Torbeck, the uprising that is to overthrow president Boyer begins.
The king approves the establishment of the borough of Les Cayes.
The borough is outlined by M. de la Lance.
(July) Meeting at Camp Gérard, some kilometers from Les Cayes, during which the generals of the indigenous army of the South, under the command of Geffrard, seal the pact of union with Dessalines which leads to victory against France.
The city is the base of the governmental department of the South at the time of the split between the South and the West.
Simon Bolivar is in town. He leave Les Cayes for Venezuela with his expedition furnished and armed by Petion.
The near destruction of the city by fire.
Born in Cayes were: general Geffrard (1761), signature of the Act of Independence; André Rigaud (1761), leader of the southern blacks, presidents Charles (Riviere) Hérard the elder, Michel Domingue, Lysius Félicité Salomon Jeune (1815), Boisrond Canel (1832), Antoine Simon (1843).
Start of the major peasants revolt lead by Jean-Jacques Acaau. The fighters of his "Suffering Army" were called Piquets because of their weapons - wooden pikes. Acaau was the author of the well known saying "The rich Negro is a mulatto, the poor mulatto is a Negro".
SAINT LOUIS DU SUD
The bay is named "Cromwell Bay" after the ship which moors here en route to take Jamaica.
The city is called "Saint Louis".
The "Compagnie de Saint-Domingue" or the "Royal Indes Company" establishes its buildings and warehouses.
In the XVIIIe century, to revised plans by Vauban, Fort Saint Louis is built on the island controlling access to the bay.
Partial destruction of the fort by the English.
Construction of Fort Olivier and Fort St Eloi in order to assure protection to the bay.
The port of Saint Louis du Sud is neglected to the profit of Les Cayes.
Christopher Columbus anchors in the harbour of Aquin that the Indians called Yaquimo.
Amerigo Vespucci visits twice.
At the beginning of the 16th century the Spaniards found "Nueva Villa" of Yaquimo.
French pirates inhabit the abandoned Spanish city and call it Aquin. They also found the Bourg d'Aquin, at some miles distant.
Aquin is the native city of Julian Raymond, black gentleman, landowner and scholar. He has connections with the Society of Friends of the Blacks and Citizen. In 1796 he becomes a member of the third Civil Commission together with Sonthonax, Roume, Giraud and Leblanc.
David Saint-Preux, brilliant lawyer, native of Aquin, represents his city in the Chamber of Townships in 1832.
The Jacmel region was reputedly impenetrable. It formed a sanctuary for rebels both during the 16th (enabling some precocious guerrilla warfare by Chief Henry in 1510) and the 18th centuries (domination of the Yacinthe gang) . In its hills the best coffee on the island is found in abundance.
The "Compagnie de Saint-Domingue" builds stores and warehouses in the little town of Jacmel - which develops rapidly due to the harbour that allows foreign commerce. Francisco de Miranda, arriving to ask the young Haitian nation for help, stays at Jacmel
Simon Bolivar visits.
Iron architecture is adopted by the rich for the construction of their residences and shops in an attempt to avoid the risks of fire.
The town gets turned on - the first on the island to benefit from electricity.
Jacmel is famous for its Carnival and handicrafts.
The notoriously beautiful staggered water falls of Bassins Bleus are not far from Jacmel, at Morne Laporte.
Jacmel has produced numerous poets, writers and artists, including: Juste Chanlatte, Alcibiade de Pommeyrac, Hannibal Price, Préfette Duffaut, Charles Moravia, Seymour Pradel.
Participants in the realisation of this map were:
Gérald Alexis museologist
Pierre Buteau historian
Georges Corvington historian
Lilac Desquiron ethnologist
Rachel Beauvoir Dominique anthropologist
Harold Gaspard architect
Giselle Hyvert Technical Consultant
Nils Tremmel architect
Pre-Columbian caciquats inspired by the Centre for Tropical Geography (CNRS) and the University of Bordeaux 1985 "Atlas of Halti''.
Haiti's bitter history of hope
• For 200 years, the island nation has fought repeatedly to create a democracy. Will it be disappointed again?
By Laurent Dubois, LAURENT DUBOIS is an associate professor of history at Michigan State University and the author of, among other books, "Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution."
ON JAN. 1, 1804, the victorious Gen. Jean-Jacques Dessalines proclaimed Haiti's independence. As he did so, he called upon his countrymen to avenge their slaughtered dead by destroying the French citizens who remained on the island.
He warned his followers that failure would cost them, for when it was their turn to descend into their tombs, their bones would be rejected by the unappeased spirits of their ancestors. Dessalines later justified the massacre of whites as a necessary act of purification meant to banish the terror of slavery forever from the island. "We have paid back these true cannibals — crime for crime, war for war, outrage for outrage," he declared. "I have avenged America."
As Haiti prepares for an election Tuesday — the 20th anniversary of the overthrow of the brutal and corrupt dictatorship of Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier — it is clear that the past still weighs heavily on the nation. Looking back on two centuries of Haitian history, it sometimes seems as if the country's post-independence story is just an endless series of courageous but ultimately failed attempts to create something better, an unstoppable cycle of hope followed by political violence and disappointment.
It is natural to look to the past to understand what has gone wrong with Haiti, to search for the roots of the contemporary crisis in earlier moments of upheaval and violence. But it also may be useful to tell a different kind of story — one that seeks in Haiti's history sources of hope, examples of triumph and democracy — if only in order to confront the present with something other than resignation.
Cries for democracy resonate throughout Haiti's history. In 1791, the enslaved men and women in what was then the world's most profitable colony executed a brilliantly planned uprising and won their freedom under the leadership of the former slave Toussaint Louverture, among others.
Together with some local whites who supported emancipation, they elected delegates to represent the colony in revolutionary Paris. Among the delegates was Jean-Baptiste Belley, a survivor of the Middle Passage from Africa to the New World. In a famous 1797 portrait, Belley wears the uniform of a French deputy and gazes upward, presumably envisioning the future of a world no longer dominated by chattel slavery. His remarkable journey is just one part of the epic through which Caribbean slaves dramatically expanded the possibilities of democracy in the modern world.
Many radical revolutionaries in France supported the destruction of slavery, but, in 1801, Napoleon Bonaparte decided to reverse emancipation. He sent tens of thousands of troops to re-enslave the people of Haiti. Among his troops were Polish soldiers who had allied with the French in the hopes that it would help them create their own nation in Europe. But once in Haiti, some Poles realized they were on the wrong side of the war and defected to Dessalines' army. In the wake of independence, these Poles, along with some other whites who were considered allies, were embraced as citizens of Haiti. When, in his Constitution, Dessalines declared that all Haitians would henceforth be known as black, he greeted these whites into the black race.
Since 1804, Haiti has repeatedly produced democratic movements. There were 19th century peasant movements against corrupt rulers who threatened the independence of small farmers. The U.S. occupation of 1915-'34, aimed at protecting U.S. financial and strategic interests, generated widespread resistance on the part of peasants who were drafted into forced labor details, as well as students and intellectuals appalled by the racism of their occupiers.
In 1986, students began an uprising that ended the 30-year dictatorship of the Duvalier family. During the following years, the grass-roots movement called Lavalas ultimately secured the democratic election of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1990, though the victory was short-lived. Throughout Haiti's history — though these moments are usually overlooked — there have been some governments that have sought and sometimes succeeded in assuring relative political stability, especially at certain points in the 19th century and in the decades after the U.S. occupation.
Why, then, despite all the hope and effort, have Haiti's political institutions repeatedly failed to sustain democracy over the long term?
Beginning with Louverture, leaders have faced extraordinary challenges. Politically isolated by all the major powers of the day, including the U.S., and aware that former colonists were still clamoring for re-enslavement, the nation's leaders agreed in 1825 to pay an indemnity to France, starting a devastating course into the now all-too-familiar problems associated with massive foreign debt.
Meanwhile, in a landscape scarred by a plantation economy that had consumed hundreds of thousands of slaves and created long-term problems of deforestation and soil erosion that would only worsen over the years, many Haitians struggled to construct a new order based on independent farming. But their efforts to secure autonomy and dignity were often undermined by local elites and, later, foreign corporations.
Throughout the 19th century, foreign merchants repeatedly intervened in Haitian politics in pursuit of economic advantage. In the 20th century, the U.S. government supported the Duvalier regimes as a counterweight to Fidel Castro's government in nearby Cuba. With some important exceptions — notably the 1994 invasion that reinstated Aristide — external pressures and interventions have generally sapped the strength of truly democratic movements within Haiti.
Haiti can still have a democratic future. It won't get there, however, unless there are big changes in the way the international community, and particularly the U.S., deal with the country. Haiti's poverty has historically been worsened rather than improved by national and international financial policies. Years of dictatorship and turmoil have created a large diaspora whose future is tightly bound to that of Haiti. While much needs to change inside the nation, it also is vital for foreign governments and international institutions to develop policies based on comprehension of and respect for Haiti, both of which have been lacking over the last two centuries.
Is there hope for Haiti? When I feel most pessimistic about the answer to this question, I remind myself that on that island 200 years ago, men and women trapped in one of the most brutal and oppressive social systems in history rose up in pursuit of freedom, and won.
CHRONOLOGY-Haiti's history of political instability
Tue 7 Feb 2006 6:10 AM ET
Feb 7, (Reuters) - Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, holds an election on Tuesday, the first ballot since former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted in February 2004 in an armed revolt.
The following is a chronology of Haiti's political instability:
Jan. 1, 1804 - Gen. Jean Jacques Dessalines proclaims the independent black republic of Haiti after rebel slaves defeat French troops dispatched by Napoleon Bonaparte.
July 28, 1915 - U.S. Marines invade Haiti. The Americans do not leave until 1934.
Oct. 22, 1957 - Dr. Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier elected. He declares himself president for life in 1964 and forms the infamous Tontons Macoutes security force.
April 21, 1971 - Papa Doc dies and is replaced by his son Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier.
Feb. 7, 1986 - Duvalier forced into exile by uprising, ending 29-year family dictatorship. Army chief Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy is named to oversee two-year transition to democracy.
Dec. 16, 1990 - Populist priest Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide is landslide winner in presidential elections, Haiti's first free and peaceful polls.
Sept. 30, 1991 - Aristide overthrown by the military.
September 1994 - 20,000 U.S. troops arrive to restore democracy. Aristide returns on Oct. 15.
Dec. 17, 1995 - Former Prime Minister Rene Preval, from Aristide's Lavalas party, elected president.
Nov. 25, 2000 - Aristide wins another presidential election, this one boycotted by main opposition parties.
Feb. 29, 2004 - Aristide leaves Haiti amid a rebellion. U.S. Marines land to restore order, later replaced by Brazilian-led U.N. peacekeepers.
March 9, 2004 - Gerard Latortue, a former U.N. bureaucrat, is named interim prime minister.
Feb. 7, 2006 - Much-delayed presidential election to restore democracy is scheduled to be held.