The Haitian Revolution
The French word ‘Haiti’ comes from the indigenous language Taíno. The original word is Ayiti, which means “land of high mountains”. This was the native name given to the island of Hispaniola and it was commonly referred to as The Pearl of the Antilles because of its abundance in natural beauty and perfect environment for agriculture.The island of Haiti is the second largest in the Greater Antilles and the third largest country in the Caribbean. The island was the medium for France’s prosperity during the 18th century, because of the mass production of coffee, sugarcane, cotton, and indigo all maintained by an enslaved labor force. The French forbade Haiti from distributing precious goods to any other country but France.
Haiti gained its independence from the French in 1803 when the formerly enslaved people rebelled. The revolution has often been labeled as the largest and single most effective slave rebellion. Enslaved workers turned into armies with the help of leader Jean Jacques Dessalines. They stuck together with the motto “liberty or death” and through several rebellions from the French, were successful in abolishing French control of the country, and more importantly, slavery. The island became an independent country on January 1, 1804 with Dessalines being chosen as governer-general.
The hard-earned victory for the Haitian slaves shed light on the movement to abolish slavery world-wide. In fact, it lead to the largest slave revolt in United States history: 1811 German Coast Uprising in the Territory of