Republic of Haïti
Official Name: Republic of Haïti
President: Michel Joseph Martelly
The Taino were famously peaceful; so what could had possibly caused them to kill the Spaniards? Well, after the departure of Christopher Columbus, the Tainos quickly realized, that these men were not "gods". Christopher Columbus found a journal of one of his soldiers; Guillermo Coma, with a passage explaining what had happened.
The Vega Real Battle
The Beginning of Slave Trade
By 1517, the Spaniards realized that the remaining Natives were not enough to continue the hard labor they've subjugated them to; in just 15 years, their rapacity succeeded in the complete genocide of the peaceful Taino/Arawak population. Labor shortage and greed forced the Spaniards to begin the importation of men and women from the African Continent. But, the collapse of the Taino/Arawak civilization, was also the beginning of the collapse of the Spaniards' interests in Spañola, although thousands of slaves were being imported to work the remaining mines, they turned their attention to new found possessions in Mexico and Peru, both very reputable for the varieties of lucrative metals buried underneath their soil.
Spañola was transformed into a trading post for gold and silver convoys.
As Spain started to show disinterest in Hispaniola, some French buccaneers established a settlement on the Island of Tortuga, off of Haiti northern coast. After just a couple months, many English and Dutch pirates followed and together they formed a lawless territory, pirating the Spanish ships and hunting wild cattle that became abundant since their introduction to the Island by Christopher Columbus. By 1663, French settlement expanded to the western coast of the Island, and the town of Leogane, former Spanish town named Yaguana at the time, was claimed for France.By 1664, the French established a chartered company: Compagnie des Indes Occidentales (French West India Company). In less than 6 months, the company grew considerably; 45 vessels were equipped and they acquired exclusive commercial privilege in Seignory and Acadia of Canada, the Antilles, Cayenne and, a huge part of South America; from the Amazon in Brazil to the Orinoco in Venezuela. When France realized the continuous growth of the company, and the benefits it could commercially get from the tiny Island of Hispaniola due to its' geographical position, it formally claimed control of the western portion , and chose Port-de-Paix as its capital.
After many unsuccessful battle to regain control of the western part of Hispaniola, on September 20, 1697, Spain officially ceded the western third of the Island to France by signing the Treaty of Ryswick. France named its part Saint Domingue; the unbroken rule of France in Haiti began.
Saint Domingue exported 72 millions pounds of raw sugar and 51 millions pounds of refined sugar. 40% of all sugar consumed in all Europe; 1 million pounds of indigo, 2 millions pounds of cotton and, 60 % of all the coffee consumed in the entire world. The Colony employed 1.ooo ships and 15.000 sailors. Indeed, by 1788 Saint Domingue, roughly the size of the current US state of Vermont, became a thriving economy. Its exports reached 214 millions francs. In today's money: (U$ 1,084,440,000) larger than that of the US at the time.. It became the jewel of the French Colonial empire and supplied France with over half of the wealth it derived from all its colonies combined! The livelihood of as many as 25 millions inhabitants of France, depended directly on the colonial trade centered in Saint Domingue.
This extraordinary productivity depended on the brutally coerced labor of some 800.000 slaves, ruled by a mere 32.000 white french masters. 1/3 of the world's slave trade was being shipped to Saint Domingue.
The Code Noire
During French colonization, Saint Domingue was populated by 3 classes of inhabitants, divided by the color of their skin. The white colonists at the top, the mulattoes and free blacks in the middle; the black slaves at the bottom. The lowest class was mainly of Africans born, they outnumbered the other races by a ratio of 10 to 1. Due to poor living conditions: Overwork, inadequate food, clothing, shelter and medical care, the death rate among them were extremely high, as a result new ones were constantly being imported to keep the balance; over 400.000 every month. The slaves conditions in Saint Domingue were worst than in all the other colonies. It was the most brutally efficient colonies of the era. As important as Saint Domingue was to France, the french masters did everything in their power and beyond to make sure that Saint Domingue remained the most productive in the world. Here's a passage from Henry Christophe's personal secretary after the independence who had been a slave for more than half of his life, describing the atrocities of the french masters towards the slaves:
"Have they not hung up men with heads downwards, drowned them in sacks, crucified them on planks, buried them alive, crushed them in motards? Have they not forced them to eat shit? And have they not flayed them with lashes, have they not cast them alive to be devoured by worms, or onto anthills, or lashed them to stakes in the swamp to be devoured by mosquitoes? Have they not thrown them into boiling cauldrons of cane syrup? Have they not put men and women inside barrels studded with spikes and rolled them down the mountains sides into the abyss? Have they not consigned these miserable blacks to man-eating dogs until the latter, sated by human flesh, left the mangled victims to finish off with bayonet and poniard."
In 1685, then king of France Louis XIV passed the Code Noir (Black Code), a decree defining the conditions of slavery in the French colonial empire and the activities permitted by free Negroes.
The document comprised of 60 Articles and specified the following:
- Jews cannot reside in the colonies.
- Salves must be baptized in the Roman Catholic Church
- No other religion can be exercised other than Roman Catholic
- Slaves masters must be Roman Catholic
- Non-Catholic subjects must not interfere with the Catholic practices of other subjects
- All colonial subjects and slaves must observe Catholic holidays regardless of their own faith and no one must work on Sundays and on holidays
- Slaves markets must not not be held on Catholic holidays
- Only Catholic marriages would be recognized
- Married free men will be fined for having children with their slave concubines, as will the slaves's concubine's master. If the man himself is the master of the slave concubine, the slave and child will be removed from his ownership. If the man (free blacks only) is not married, he should be then married to slave concubine, thus freeing her and the child from slavery.
- weddings between the slaves must only be carried out with the master's permission.
- Slaves will not be married without their own consent
- Children born between married slaves are also slaves, belonging to the female's slave masters
- Children between a male slave and a female and a female free woman are free, while children between a female slaves and a free man are slaves
- slaves should not carry weapons except by permission of their masters for hunting purposes
- Slaves belonging to different masters may not gather at any time under any circumstances
- Slaves should not sell sugar cane, even with permission of their masters
- Masters must give food (quantities specified) and clothes for their slaves even if they are sick or old
- A slave who strikes his or her master, his wife, children and/or mistress will be executed
- Fugitive slaves absent for one month shall have their ears cut off and be branded. If they are absent for an additional month, one of their hamstrings will be served and they will be branded again. If they are absent for up to three months, they shall be executed
- Masters of freed slaves who give refuge to fugitive slaves will be fined
- Masters may chain or beat slaves, but may not torture or mutilate them (it's up to you to define torture)
- Masters who kill their slaves will be punished (by a fine)
- Slaves are community property and cannot be mortgaged and must be equally split between the master's inheritors, but can be used as a payment for a debt or bankruptcy , and otherwise sold
- A slave husband and wife and their prepubescent children are not to be sold separately
- Slaves masters 20 years of age (25 without parental permission) may free their slaves
- Slaves who are declared to be sold legatees by their masters or named as executors of their will, or tutors of their children, shall be considered as freed
- Freed slaves are french subjects, even if born elsewhere
- Freed slaves must show special respect to their formal masters and their family members
- Freed slaves have the same rights as French colonial subjects
- Fees and fines paid with regards to the Code Noir must go to the royal administration, but one third will be assigned to the local hospital.