January 1 is Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Haiti from France in 1804.
Originally inhabited by the indigenous Taíno people, Europeans first became aware of the island on December 5, 1492 during the first voyage of Christopher Columbus across the Atlantic. When Columbus first landed in Haiti, he had thought he had found India or Asia.
The island was named Hispaniola and claimed by Spain, which ruled until the early 17th century. Competing claims and settlements by the French led to the western portion of the island being ceded to France, which named it Saint-Domingue. The development of sugar cane plantations, worked by slaves imported from Africa, led to the colony being among the most lucrative in the world.
In the midst of the French Revolution, slaves and free people of color revolted, culminating in the abolishment of slavery and the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte’s army.
The rebellion that begun in 1791 was led by a former slave and the first black general of the French Army, Toussaint Louverture, whose military genius and political acumen transformed an entire society of slaves into the independent country. Upon his death in a prison in France, he was succeeded by his lieutenant, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who declared Haiti’s sovereignty and later became the first emperor of Haiti, Jacques I. The Haitian Revolution lasted nearly a decade; and apart from Alexandre Pétion, the first President of the Republic, all the first leaders of government were former slaves.
Afterward the sovereign “Republic of Haiti” was established on January 1, 1804 – the first independent nation of Latin America and the Caribbean, the second republic in the Americas, the only nation in the western hemisphere to have defeated three European superpowers (Britain, France and Spain), and the only nation in the world established as a result of a successful slave revolt.
Haiti, officially the Republic of Haiti, is a country in the western hemisphere, and is located on the island of Hispaniola of the Caribbean. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island which it shares with the Dominican Republic.
In commemoration of the day, we bring you the interview article related to the country.
*Click a photo below to see her story!
“Haiti is only country where I really love.” – Carlyn Yamada, Special Advisor of a Haiti assistance NGO/actress