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haiti final essay

haiti final essay - Haiti The Western Hemispheres Curse The...

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Haiti - The Western Hemisphere’s Curse? The troubles Haiti has had over the past 200 years are some of the most extreme of any country in the Western hemisphere. Famine, disease, political upheaval, and violent social unrest have plagued Haiti since it was established as a free nation. Nations all over the world have tried to aid Haiti, though often for their own personal gain. Haiti has had a long hard road, and it does not look like their troubles will end any time soon. The French holding of Santo Domingo, what is now called Haiti, was one of the most prosperous sugar and coffee producers in the western hemisphere. The Native Americans that originally inhabited the island were all but eradicated, leaving the French to rely on slave labor from Africa. (Kidder 63) More than two-thirds of all slaves coming to the Americas arrived in Haiti. One-third of all the slaves died on the trip over from disease and malnutrition. In the early 18 th century the slaves revolted and brought a bloody civil war to Haiti. Napoleon sent 20,000 troops to quell this rebellion. The slaves beat the soldiers back and became the first colony to gain it’s independence in the Western Hemisphere. (Katel, vol. 15) Their victory was short lived though, as no country would recognize Haiti as a free nation. They could find no one to trade their goods with and were desperate to be recognized as a nation. France finally agreed to recognize Haiti’s independence for 150 million gold francs. The debt was not repaid until 1938. (Katel, vol. 15) The 1915-1934 U.S. military occupation of Haiti brought many of the hardships that Haiti has to deal with today. The U.S. formed, by act of U.S. congress, a Haitian Army that has, multiple times, taken control of Haiti. They also brought back “corvee” labor, forcing peasants to work long hours with no pay and little or no food. This was only the start of many U.S. “sponsored” interventions in Haitian politics. (Farmer)
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