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Hispaniola (Little Spain) was the first island Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ in 1492 on what was to have been a planned journey to the East but landed him in the West, later referred to as the West Indies. The original island was divided into two in 1697 with the France having controlled of one part, known as Saint-Domingue (and later Haiti), and the Span the other part, known as the Dominican Republic.
In the 18th century Haiti was the wealthiest colony in the Americas and provided France with two-fifth of its wealth. This part of the island once enjoyed abundant rainforests and lush soil but soil erosion, hurricanes, earthquakes, continuous internal strife, poverty and its attendant ills have almost obscured the richness of an island that was responsible for France’s wealth and the 13-year revolution of the enslaved for freedom.
The assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last Wednesday evening has brought Haiti into the national spotlight, but this spotlight should not ignore from whence Haitians came and the unmatched legacy and inspiration they have provided to enslaved Africans and oppressed people around the world. It needs not be forgotten too, the Government of Guyana has last month imposed visa restriction for Haitians to come to Guyana based on an allegation, they are yet to prove, that Haitians are part of some human trafficking ring.
Haiti is the second oldest republic in the Americas, after the United States, having declared its independence on 1st January 1804 and the first black full republic in the world. These are former slaves that were able to defeat the Napoleon Army, one of the biggest and strongest army in the history of the world. Haiti and Haitians are the embodiment of freedom, courage and determination. Listen to the stories of the bloodline of a people that deserve only utmost respect and admiration in the 21st Century
CLR James, the author of the Black Jacobins, recounts the story of Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution.
And here is a more detailed presentation made by Historian, Professor Leslie Alexander at the Arizona State University- titled “Fear of the Black Republic: U.S.-Haitian Relations in the Aftermath of the Haitian Revolution.” Instructively, the fear for these indomitable people exist in Guyana, albeit from a perspective to marginalise.