The Haitian Massacre of 1937

The Haitian Massacre of 1937

Introduction

Hispaniola is the land the currently covers the nations of Dominica and Haiti in the Latin America region. It is an Island covered by the Atlantic ocean on the East side and on the Northern side. The region has many names as it was being refereed by the original inhabitants such as Hayti or Avti. Hispaniola state first explored by the Spanish explorers in their attempt to spread Catholics. The land had been divided into three parts mostly where the Haitians lived, the northern frontier, the southern frontier and the central frontier .But ,despite this region being divided they had been given a general name by the Dominicans which was La  Fronteza

Spanish discovery and Colonization,

The Hispaniola Island became Santo Domingo after it was colonized by Spain. They took the advantage of their superiority to try and conquer other surrounding lands of the Island, but despite using too much force, the local inhabitants were very hostile to them for they used to attack and burn properties belonging to the Spanish. After all the difficulties, they finally fulfilled their dreams of colonizing the Island.

There came a time when the French soldiers tried to overthrow the Spanish rule, now the actual fight begun involving two superior countries .The French troops camped in nearby Tortuga starting in the year 1625.They used different tracts in their attacks towards the Spanish rule such as pirating the Spanish ships, By this time the Spanish troops and the rulers were helpless because all what they had got finished and on the other side they were less superior than French. French took this advantage and strongly invaded the Spanish authorities and took over the territory. They settled on Tortuga in 1659 but now under the rule of King Louis xiv.

Under the French rule the Island was renamed Saint Domingue, as they they forced the Spanish authorities into signing the treaty of Ryswick.King Louis urged the French authorities to restart the farming process and plant tobacco cotton cocoa and indigo crops. This is where the idea of slaves came from, since there was scarcity of labor they started importing the laborious .This laborious were non other than the slaves from Africa who were imported  through the Atlantic ocean route.

Most of this slaves were being hunted in the western states of Africa where they would be put in a very congested ship .Those that were weak were being thrown in to the ocean or be left in very strange areas. These slaves were the one to cultivate and look after these crops.

Haitian Independence

Slaves together with the Haitians successively rested the French rule. They fought and fought till the French accepted the defeat and let the Haitians rule themselves. Finally this gave rise to Haiti and gained its independence on 1st January 1804 .After a experiencing difficulties in their exodus the heroes of the struggle for the liberation of French Hispaniola decided to change the country’s name to Haiti, the original name that it bore before colonization thus marking the rebirth of a newly independent country that its now ruling its self.

After a short period of enjoyments of freedom the country divided in two parts, the south western part and the northern part. The south western part was headed by Petion and that of north was under Henry Christophe.At this time also Haitians were still experiencing some political unrests as this leaders strongly dictated the innocent citizens.

The rule of dictatorship came to an end in both northern and south western regions when the two leaders died.Petion died in 1818 while Henry Christophe died in 1820.They were succeeded by Boger who was later overthrown in an 1844 revolution.

The United States of America Occupation

The country has since known constant instability by since these founding years, giving way to US invasion and subsequent occupation in 1915 that lasted till 1934.This move was ostensibly to curtail German power and influence in Haiti in a period where German influence in a country next door would constantly make the US suspect the foe’s intentions. The Americans waged an economic war on the small Haiti that was already unstable to occupy it.

The invasion and occupation was quite cruel but may have left a stable country economically whose public health, education and agriculture .But the US government through the marines presided over a farce of an election bringing president Philippe Sundre Dartiguenave to power, who to please Americans appended his signature to a legal agreement that made Haiti a US protectorate for the next ten years.

A new constitution authorized by the United States of America and Naval Department, and rubber stamped by the army handful Haitian voters was enacted in 1919.Later, a caco insurrection headed by Charlemagne Peralte started fighting the invaders, aiming at driving the in to the sea and freeing the Haitian who had been apprehended .But unfortunately 3,250 Haitians were killed during this time of war with the Americans. This made the US to withdraw leaving Steno Vincent as the president. But the US maintained economic control of Haiti until 1947.

Rafael Teujillo 31 years Rule

Rafael was educated in San Cristobal in the Republic of Dominica before being named the commander in chief in 1927.After only three months of his appointment Rafael became the president after the death of the president. Before his appointment as the president and the commander in chief Rafael used to be a sugar farmer .When the US left in 1924, he had already positioned himself and swiftly became the armed force head. He overthrew the then caretaker president baptizing himself the Great Benefactor of the Nation and the father of the New Dominion and with it started a dictating rule that lasted for 31 years. Ashe had already been inspired by the rule of Hitler; he tried to apply this to the people of Haiti where by he discriminated them by ordering an army incursion into Haiti.

During this period he tried to negotiate to the Haitians and tried to show himself that he was friendly to the Haitians. He brought up various reforms the Agrarian reforms that would domesticate peasantry to control the states. As hi friendship and negotiation continued he further more tried to improve the Haiti economic. He improved and ordered the reconstruction of all sectors that had greatly being affected by the past violence.

He improved and tried to control the state taxation rate, health sectors participation in political debates and economic projects, civil obligations and rituals of the rule. Furthermore, he tried and succeeded in his reformation of other projects of industrialization that the previous government had failed to do

Since he was the head with all powers in him, he now started the illegal projects such as the establishment of illegal ways where there was the passage of illegal fire arms. Due to his political and economic greed he succeeded in dominating the national economy where by he could now order the imposition of new tax, promote local industry and fees for the external trade.

A time came when he started renaming the project he started, renaming them after his names .Some Street in the republic of Haiti were named after him and also established the national holidays including his Birthday making it a national holiday. It’s during this time that he started the expansion of schools in both the Northern and the Southern Frontiers.

After a short period of time after the process of renovating the republic of Haiti, Rafael now started invading and killing innocent Haitians living in Dominica. The Dominican armies were being assisted by the local citizens in locating the homes of the Haitians where they went on killing and burying them. Not all Dominicans were bad as some tried to hide and tell the Haitians to hide whenever the enemies came.

Most of the areas that were being invaded were the northern, central and the southern   frontiers. In 1938 thousands of Haitians were deported and hundreds were killed in the southern frontier region. The Haitians that were living Dominican Republic were being referred to as ‘blacks’ by the Dominicans.

During this time the ant Dominican community that is the Haitians as they were being referred to they would go to school in Haiti and then come back for lunch in Dominica. Socially, the citizens of Dominica tried to avoid mixing together with the Haitians. This was seen as the hostility towards the lower and the middle classes immigrants.

Conclusion

The problem of Hispaniola has more to do with external interferences than with internal problems .Considering how many external factors have contributed to instability, right from the Spanish, the French and finally but not the least the Americans. But despite all this problems the biggest blame for the massacre should go to Dominican Republic. Therefore the main cause of the massacre was mainly from external interference and race differences

References.

Haggerty Richards A (1989) Haiti, A country study, French settlement and Sovereigrity

U S library of congress.

Heinl Robert (1989).The history of the Haitian people Madison University Press of America.

James CLR (1963) The Black Jacobins, New York Vintage Books

Schmidt, Hans (1990).The US occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934.New York Penguin Books

Wucker, Michele (1999) Why The Cocks Fight. Dominicans, Haitians and the Struggle for Hispaniola .New York, hill and Wang.

Source by Charles Kelly

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