Line of the History of Haiti
From Christopher Columbus to present day. *
1492 Christopher Columbus lands near today's city of Cap Haitien and
claims the island of Hispaniola for Spain. The western third of the island
is now Haiti and the rest of the island is the Dominican Republic.
1625 First French settlements on Tortuga Island, off the northwest coast,
mid-1600s French settlements and plantations are established in coastal
areas on the western third of the island.
1697 Under the terms of the Treaty of Ryswick, Spain cedes the western
third of Hispaniola to France.
1700s The French colony of Saint Domingue is the most lucrative colony
in the world, at this time, more lucrative than the 13 Colonies. Its
slave-produced tropical crops-sugar, rum, cotton, tobacco, and indigo-generated
great wealth. Near the end of the 18th century, 500,000 to 700,000 people,
mainly of western African origin, were enslaved by the French.
1791 The Haitian Revolution begins when a group of slaves gather at Bois-Caiman
in the northern part of the colony. Jamaican-born Dutty Boukman holds
a voodoo ceremony that launches the struggle.
1803 The Haitian blue-and-red flag is adopted at the Congress of Arcahaie.
The Battle of Vertieres is the last victory of the Haitians over the
1804 Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Haiti independent on January 1,
after crushing the French army sent to re-enslave Haiti. Over half the
people in Haiti die before the struggle has run its course.
1806 Jean-Jacques Dessalines is assassinated at Pont-Rouge.
1815-1816 Simon Bolivar gets asylum in Haiti twice and also receives
military assistance to liberate South America from Spain.
1822 Haiti invades the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo (today's Dominican
Republic), and ends slavery there.
France fully and unconditionally recognizes Haiti's independence.
It had given Haiti "conditional" recognition in 1825 after
Haiti promised to pay 150 million gold francs as "compensation"
for its "losses."
1844 The Haitian occupation of Santo Domingo ends.
1862 The United States recognizes Haiti.
1889 Frederick Douglass is appointed as U.S. Minister and Consul general
1915 United States Marines invade Haiti and occupy it. A largely peasantt
guerrilla army, known as the cacos, resists the occupiers under the leadership
of Charlemagne Peralte, who is betrayed and assassinated by Marines
1934 As popular resistance grows stronger, the nineteen-year U.S. occupation
1937 Between 17,000 to 35,000 Haitians living in the Dominican Republic
are massacred by the Dominican armed forces on the orders of President
Rafael Trujillo. U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull subsequently
Trujillo is one of the greatest men in Central America and in most
of South America."
1957 Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier becomes President of
1958-1964 Duvalier attacks his opponents violently, driving many of them
1964 Papa Doc declares himself "President-for-Life."
1971 Francois Duvalier dies and is succeeded by his son, Jean-Claude "Baby
1970s-1980s Thousands of Haitians flee poverty and repression in Haiti
by boat, often arriving in South Florida.
1982-1984 The U.S. State Department's Agency for International Development
and the Organization of American States (CAS) oversee the slaughter
of Haiti's "creole pigs," accused of being carriers of
African Swine Fever. This is a major blow to the peasant economy.
1986 Widespread protests against repression force Baby Doc to flee Haiti
on February 7th. The U.S. Air Force flies him to exile in France. A military
junta, headed by Gens. Henri Namphy and Williams Regala, takes power.
1987 In July, big landowners (grandons) massacre hundreds of peasants
demanding land in Jean-Rabel. In November, presidential elections are
canceled after Army soldiers and former Tonton Macoutes massacre dozens
of would-be voters.
1988 In January Christian Democrat Leslie Manigat is elected in military-run
elections boycotted by the Haitian people and most candidates. In June
he is overthrown in military coup by Gen. Namphy. In September Namphy
is overthrown by Gen. Prosper Avril.
1990 President/General Prosper Avril declares a state of siege in
January. Rising protests convince Avril to resign in March. A Provisional
led by Supreme Court Justice Ertha Pascal- Trouillot is formed. Democratic
elections take place on December 16, 1990. Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide,
well known throughout the country for his support of the poor, is
elected president with 67.5% of the counted popular vote. The "U.S. favorite" Marc
Bazin finishes a distant second with 14.2% .
1991 In January, a coup by Fonner Tonton Macoutes head Roger Lafontant
is foiled after tens of thousands pour into the streets of the capital,
surrounding the National Palace. Aristide is sworn in as president February
7. On September 30, a military coup deposes Aristide, who goes into exile
first in Venezuela, then in the United States.
1991-1994 Thousands of Haitians flee violence and repression in Haiti
by boat. Although most are repatriated to Haiti by the U.S. government,
many enter the United States as refugees.
1994 The de facto military government resigns at the request of the United
States in September, which then sends in troops to occupy Haiti. This
occupation is sanctioned by the United Nations in violation of its own
charter. The U.S. returns Aristide as president October 15.
1995 The U.S. nominally hands over military authority to the United Nations
but maintains effective control of the occupation. Aristide dissolves
the Haitian army. In December, Fonner prime minister Rene Preval is elected
1996 Aristide leaves office on February 7th and is succeeded by Rene
2000 Legislative, municipal and local elections are held in May. The
OAS disputes how the sovereign electoral council calculates the runoffs
for eight Senate seats. In November, Aristide is reelected for a second
five-year term with 92% of the vote in elections boycotted by the opposition.
The last UN peacekeeping forces withdraw from Haiti.
2001 Aristide succeeds Preval for a second five-year term.
2001-2003 With Washington's support, Aristide's bourgeois opponents use
the OAS challenge to the 2000 elections to increase economic and political
instability. Fonner Haitian soldiers carry out guerrilla attacks, primarily
along the Dominican border and in the capital.
2004 January 1. Haiti's 200th anniversary of independence.
* Haiti, A Slave Revolution: 2000 years after 1804, edited by Pat Chin,
Greg Dunkel, Sara Flounders and Kim Ives, International Action Center