Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why we study history

Quick- What was the second western hemisphere nation to declare its independent from European control?

Canada? - No
Mexico? - Nope
Give up?

The answer is Haiti.

Why is that  important?  I will get to that.

First, Haiti occupies the western third of the island Hispaniola.  That is the island where in 1492 Columbus ran aground and had to leave men behind, thus establishing a colony.(wikipedia)
Almost 300 years later, revolution broke out.  Slaves led by Toussaint L'Ouverture, a former slave himself, fought for independence.  Eventually, proclaiming its free on January 1, 1804.

Why is that important? 

The mighty United States, who had inspired the revolt, refuse to recognize Haiti as a nation.  Why?  two reasons :  1) because they were afraid that a Black Nation led by former slaves would cause slaves in the U.S. to revolt, and/or  2) even if there was no revolt slaves may try to escape to be free in the black nation, thus leaving plantation owners with no workers.

So Haiti was on its own for the most part.  Their history of coups demonstrates the instability from the struggles they have endured.  The U.S. along with other nations have intervened at times but this done more harm than good.  500 years ago there were no third world countries.   These were more or less created by greedy white Europeans and to some extent Americans.  The current state of Haiti can be attributed to America's lack of interest and trust in a free black nation.  When all along we should have been supporting our fellow, free from European control, brothers and sisters.  Just another sad part of our American history.


  1. I love that historical fact! Slaves taking their freedom during the age of enlightenment. You know that France decided to try to move in while spain and Haiti were fighting. They were going to use the war to their advantage and take Haiti back for themselves. Haiti and Spain quit fighting each other and worked with each other to chase off France and then back to fighting each other. I do think it is strange that they chose the name Haiti which is the name the French gave them when they first became a slave nation. Le 'oveture made himself governor and wrote a constitution aboloshing slavery. I get goosebumps thinking about it! What an amazing time in history! -Kelly Ellis

  2. Thanks, Kelly. I was beginning to think that no one cared. To answer your question wiki says "At the end of the double battle for emancipation and independence, former slaves proclaimed the independence of Saint-Domingue on 1 January 1804,[25] declaring the new nation be named "Ayiti", both a Native American and African term, meaning "home or mother of the earth" in the Taino-Arawak Native American language and "sacred earth or homeland" in the Fon African language, to honor one of the indigenous Taíno names for the island