Haiti is a Caribbean country on the western third of the island of Hispaniola. Hispaniola was the Taíno heartland.
Columbus landed there in 1492. The Spanish colony that followed later became the Dominican Republic. The western part of the island was slowly taken over by European pirates.
As the French colony of Saint-Domingue after 1697, it became the richest colony in the Caribbean. But it was a slave colony that practiced the most brutal form of exploitation of people and land.
An uprising in 1791 led to the first free nation created from a slave revolt in 1804. This was a historic achievement.
Other countries shunned the new nation for fear that their own slaves would rise up. France forced colonial reparations that drained the new country’s economy. That’s crazy. We abuse you and steal everything and when you stop the abuse, we make you pay for it?
Haiti suffered long periods of political instability which continue to the present day.
The Revolution caused a migration to other Creole (French-African-American) regions of the Caribbean including New Orleans. Jazz is Creole. The literature doesn’t say anything about this, but there must be some connection.
The Revolution also caused Napoleon to give up on the Americas (for a time) and sell much of New France to the United States which we know as the Louisiana Purchase. That opened up the West. So the Haitian Revolution had an impact on the development of the United States.
The United States occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934.
Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier became president and then a brutal dictator from 1957 to 1971. His son followed until 1986.
Jean-Bertrand Aristide won Haiti’s first free election in 1990. Instability followed and U.S. troops returned in 1994-1995.
A large earthquake destroyed most of the capital Port-au-Prince in 2010. UN assistance brought cholera to the island. Political instability remains.
Freedom is not easy, but freeing ourselves from slavery is a historic accomplishment.