When Haiti won its independence nearly 200 years ago, it came at a hefty price -- an estimated $21 billion today. The country spent the next century paying off the debt to its former slave owners, France.
The island of Hispaniola, shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, was once the richest colony of the New World. The western third of the island — today’s Haiti — was known as Saint-Domingue and was a major destination of the transatlantic slave trade.
In this episode, you will hear me address how the African slaves provided the muscle for an economy during the 1780s which produced 60% of the coffee and 40% of the sugar consumed in Europe. The French drove their sugar cane–cutting slaves especially hard.
This cruel treatment ultimately led to the Haitian Revolution in 1791. The revolution influenced events across the Americas. The French emperor Napoleon gave up on the New World, selling the vast Louisiana Territory to the U.S. Haiti has been ruthlessly exploited by Western powers many times in its 200 years of independence.
Western powers often propped up ineffective and corrupt Haitian governments under the strategy of not wanting another Cuba. But despite government corruption and acute poverty, Haitians are among the world’s most resilient people. And we wonder why Haiti is struggling? We need to do right by our Haitian brothers and sisters....and yall know who I am talking about when I say "we". Let's keep it Blunt.....
How colonial-era debt helped shape Haiti's poverty and political unrest - ABC News (go.com)
Haiti remains revolutionary despite history of adversity (usatoday.com)