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Haitian occupation of Santo Domingo: Wikis

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Departamento del Ozama y del Cibao
Départements de l'Ozama et du Cibao
Haitian departments

1822–1844

Flag

Capital Santo Domingo
Language(s) Spanish, French
Government Republic
President
 - 1822-1843 Jean-Pierre Boyer
 - 1843-1844 Charles Riviere-Hérard
Governor
 - 1822-1843 Gen. Borgella
 - 1843-1844 Gen. Carrié
History
 - Haitian occupation February 9, 1822
 - Independence February 27, 1844
Area 48,442 km2 (18,704 sq mi)
Currency Haitian Gourde

The twenty-two-year Haitian occupation of Santo Domingo that followed a brief period of independence is recalled by Dominicans as a period of brutal military rule, though the reality is more complex. It led to large-scale land expropriations and failed efforts to force production of export crops, impose military services, restrict the use of the Spanish language, and eliminate traditional customs such as cockfighting. It reinforced Dominicans' perceptions of themselves as different from Haitians in "language, race, religion and domestic customs."[1] Yet, this was also a period that definitively ended slavery as an institution in the eastern part of the island.

Haiti's constitution forbade whites from owning land, and the major landowning families were forcibly deprived of their properties. Most emigrated to Cuba, Puerto Rico or Gran Colombia, usually with the encouragement of Haitian officials, who acquired their lands. The Haitians, who associated the Roman Catholic Church with the French slave-masters who had exploited them before independence, confiscated all church property, deported all foreign clergy, and severed the ties of the remaining clergy to the Vatican. Santo Domingo’s university, the oldest in the Western Hemisphere, lacking both students and teachers, closed down.

In order to receive diplomatic recognition from France, Haiti was forced to pay an indemnity of 150 million francs to the former French colonists, which was subsequently lowered to 60 million francs, and Haiti imposed heavy taxes on the eastern part of the island. Since Haiti was unable to adequately provision its army, the occupying forces largely survived by commandeering or confiscating food and supplies at gunpoint. Attempts to redistribute land conflicted with the system of communal land tenure (terrenos comuneros), which had arisen with the ranching economy, and newly emancipated slaves resented being forced to grow cash crops under Boyer's Code Rural.[2] In rural areas, the Haitian administration was usually too inefficient to enforce its own laws. It was in the city of Santo Domingo that the effects of the occupation were most acutely felt, and it was there that the movement for independence originated.

In 1838 Juan Pablo Duarte, Ramón Matías Mella and Francisco del Rosario Sanchez founded a secret society called La Trinitaria to win independence from Haiti. In 1843 they allied with a Haitian movement in overthrowing Boyer. After they revealed themselves as revolutionaries working for Dominican independence, the new Haitian president, Charles Riviere-Hérard, exiled or imprisoned the leading Trinitarios. At the same time, Buenaventura Báez, an Azua mahogany exporter and deputy in the Haitian National Assembly, was negotiating with the French Consul-General for the establishment of a French protectorate. In an uprising timed to preempt Báez, on February 27, 1844, the Trinitarios declared independence from Haiti, backed by Pedro Santana, a wealthy cattle-rancher from El Seibo who commanded a private army of peons who worked on his estates.

See also

References

  1. ^ Moya Pons, Frank Between Slavery and Free Labor: The Spanish-speaking Caribbean in the 19th Century. Baltimore; Johns Hopkins University Press 1985
  2. ^ Terrenos comuneros arose because of “scarce population, low value of the land, the absence of officials qualified to survey the lands, and the difficulty of dividing up the ranch in such a way that each would receive a share of the grasslands, forests, streams, palm groves, and small agricultural plots that, only when combined, made possible the exploitation of the ranch.” (Hoetink, The Dominican People: Notes for a Historical Sociology transl. Stephen Ault Pg. 83 (Johns Hopkins Press: Baltimore, 1982)

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