Caribbean island formerly known as Hispanola today is two countries,
the Dominican Republic to the east and Haiti to the west. The
island of Hispanola was originally colonized by the Spaniards
for the sole purpose to further explore the new world.
In 1697 the Spanish transferred control of the western part
of Hispanola to the French. Under the French the area then known
as Saint Domingue became one of the richest colonies in the
Slaves were imported to work on the large coffee and sugarcane
plantations. There was a slave revolt in 1791 and an army was
sent to the French colony by Napoleon Bonaparte to quell the
rebellion. However, the revolutionaries were such a strong force
to contend with the French granted the colony it’s independence
in 1804. The new nation was named Haiti.
The nation of Haiti is considered to be the world’s oldest
black republic as well as the second only to the United States
as the oldest republic in the western hemisphere. From 1843
to 1915 Haiti had no less that twenty-two changes in governments.
The US did not recognize Haiti until 1862. Because of the constant
upheavals during this period the United States intervened in
1915 by sending in troops under the auspices of bringing about
political and economic order. The US occupied Haiti until troops
were withdrawn in 1934. Haiti once again regained sovereignty.
Haiti is considered to be a presidential republic with it’s
constitution that was ratified in March 1987 based upon the
principles found in both the US and French constitutions. Sadly,
the constitution of Haiti was suspended from June 1988 to March
1989. Repression and gross human rights violations occurred
under the provisional governments that ruled Haiti throughout
the early 1990’s. The United Nations security council
intervened in 1994 with resolution 940 authorizing all member
states to “use all necessary means to facilitate the departure
of Haiti’s military leadership” in order to restore
the constitutionally respected government. The constitution
was reinstated in October 1994 occurred. Jean Bertrand Aristide,
a former Catholic priest popular among the poor of Haiti was
elected President 1994. He ruled from 1994-1996 and then again
from 2001 through 2004.
On February 29, 2004 he was removed from power. Many say that
he was forced our by opposition forces organized and supported
by the United States and France. Conflicting reports suggest
that Aristide was forced to resign by the Bush administration
and put on an airplane by armed US Marines where he was flown
to exile in the Central African Republic against his will. Later
Aristide went to the nation of South Africa where he has been
quoted as saying he was kidnapped by US forces and is still
the legitimate president of Haiti.