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Haiti - Early post-independence

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Early post-independence

The independence of Saint-Domingue was proclaimed by Dessalines on 1 January 1804.[12] The exact number of deaths due to the Haitian revolution is unknown. Slaves that made it to Haiti from the trans-Atlantic journey and slaves born in Haiti were first documented in Haiti's archives and transferred to France's Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As of 2015, these records are in The National Archives of France. According to the 1788 Census, Haiti's population consisted of nearly 28,000 whites, 22,000 free coloreds, and 500,000 slaves. After the revolution, census was taken in every city. From an etic or outsider or the oppressor point-of-view, it is alleged that Dessalines massacred nearly all of the whites, including their mulatto children. However, copy of the 1804 census of the city of Gros Morne retrieved from John Carter Brown Library suggests an emic or insider or the victim point-of-view.[52][53]

Dessalines was proclaimed "Emperor for Life" by his troops.[54] Dessalines at first offered protection to the white planters and others;[55] but once in power, he ordered the massacre of most whites, without regard to age or gender.[56] In the continuing competition for power, he was assassinated by rivals on 17 October 1806.[12]

Fearful of the influence of the slaves' revolution, US President Thomas Jefferson refused to recognize the new republic, as did most European nations. The US did not officially recognize Haiti for decades, until after the American Civil War. Haiti's new government was not supported by other republics.

The revolution led to a wave of emigration.[57] In 1809, nearly 10,000 refugees from Saint-Domingue settled en masse in New Orleans.[58] They doubled the city's population. In addition, the newly arrived slaves added to the city's African population.[59]

Saint-Domingue was divided between the Kingdom of Haiti in the north, directed by Henri I, and a republic in the south, directed by Alexandre Pétion, an homme de couleur. Henri Christophe established a semi-feudal corvée system, with a rigid education and economic code.[60][unreliable source?]

President Pétion gave military and financial assistance to the revolutionary leader Simón Bolívar, which were critical in enabling him to liberate the Viceroyalty of New Granada.[61] He was instrumental in aiding countries in South America achieve independence from Spain.

Beginning in 1821, President Jean-Pierre Boyer, also an homme de couleur and successor to Pétion, reunified the two parts of Haiti and extended control over the entire western portion of the island.[62] In addition, after Santo Domingo declared its independence from Spain, Boyer sent forces in to take control. Boyer ruled the entire island, ending slavery in Santo Domingo.[63] After Santo Domingo achieved independence from Haiti, it established a separate national identity.

Struggling to revive the agricultural economy to produce commodity crops, Boyer passed the Code Rural, which denied peasant laborers the right to leave the land, enter the towns, or start farms or shops of their own. Following the Revolution, many peasants wanted to have their own farms rather than work on plantations.[64][65]

The American Colonization Society (ACS) encouraged free blacks in the United States to emigrate to Haiti. Starting in September 1824, more than 6,000 African Americans migrated to Haiti, with transportation paid by the ACS.[66] Many found the conditions too harsh and returned to the United States.

In July 1825, King Charles X of France, during a period of "restoration" for the monarchy, sent a fleet to reconquer the island. Under pressure, President Boyer agreed to a treaty by which France formally recognized the independence of the nation in exchange for a payment of 150 million francs (reduced to 90 million in 1838). After losing the support of Haiti's elite, Boyer was ousted in 1843. A long succession of coups followed his departure to exile.

The enforced payment to France reduced Haiti's economy for years. Western nations did not give Haiti formal diplomatic recognition. Both of these problems kept the Haitian economy and society isolated. Expatriates bankrolled and armed opposing groups.[67] In 1892, the German government supported suppression of the reform movement of Anténor Firmin.

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