Chronography of Haiti

Page last modified 28 November 2023


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Demography of Haiti


14 August 2021, Haiti was struck by a ,magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

7 July 2021, Haitian President Jovenal Moise, 53, was assassinated. He had been sworn into office in 2/2017.

4 October 2014, Jean Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier died, aged 63. He became dictator of Haiti in 1971. Like his father, Papa Doc, he lived in luxury whilst most Haitians lacked paved roads or sewerage. The poorer Haiti was, the more foreign aid came in, to be diverted to luxuries for the Duvaliers. In the 1980s the Haitian economy collapsed, with many fleeing on boats to Florida; in 1986 food riots forced the Duvaliers to flee, on an American plane. He was useful to the USA as an anti-Communist close to Cuba, and Haiti was a non-unionised cheap-labour locale for US businesses. To universal surprise he returned to Haiti in 2011, after the disastrous earthquake, broken, he said, by exile, and claiming he wished to help his country. His ex-wife Michelle had bankrupted him, taking all the money, and Jean Claude was reduced to living in two rented rooms in Paris. A Haitian judge ruled that any charges against him were time-expired.

12 January 2010, A 7.0 magnitude earthquake, the most severe in 200 years, hit Haiti, killing over 316,000 and destroying the capital, Port au Prince. Over 1,000,000 were left homeless.

19 February 2005, 350 inmates escaped from a prison in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.


Jean Bertrand Aristide Presidency

29 February 2004, Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide was ousted in a military coup.

22 February 2004, Rebels captured Haiti's second-largest city, Cap-Ha�tien, after just a few hours of fighting.

5 February 2004, Rebels from the Revolutionary Artibonite Resistance Front captured the city of Goniaves, starting the 2004 Haiti rebellion.

Start of rebellion against Jean Bertrand Aristide


17 December 1995, Rene Preval was elected President of Haiti.

19 September 1994, US troops went to Haiti to overthrow the military junta led by Raoul Cedras. Former President Jean Bertrand Aristide returned after a three-year exile on 15 October 1994, but was ousted in 2004.

30 September 1991, In Haiti, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was overthrown in a military coup, by Brigadier-General Raoul Cedras. Aristide was granted safe passage to Venezuela.

5 February 1991, Haiti's first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was sworn in.

27 January 1991, In Haiti, rumours that Lafontant had escaped prison (he had not, and was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment) led to violent protests, attacks on two police stations, and the deaths of 17 in Port au Prince.

6 January 1991, Roger Lafontant, former leader of the infamous Tonton Macoutes, stormed the Haitian Presidential Palace and forced the resignation of provisional President Ertha Pascal Trouillot. Lafontant aimed to preventAristide from taking office; Lafontant declared himself provisional President. The next morning Loyalist forces stormed the Palace, set Trouillot free and arrested Lanfontant. Thousands rioted on the streets, destroying Lafontant�s headquarters and killing many of his supporters; they also destroyed the Cathedral and the Archbishop�s Palace. At least 75 were killed and 150 injured.

16 December 1990, Bertrand Aristide of the Left-wing Lavalas Party was elected President of Haiti, ending 3 decades of military rule.


18 September 1988, In Haiti, General Namphy was deposed in a military coup.

19 June 1988, In Haiti, Leslie Manigat, civilian President, was deposed in a military coup and replaced by General Henri Namphy.

7 February 1988, In Haiti, Leslie Manigat was inaugurated as President, ending 2 years of military rule.


Duvalier regime 1954-86

7 February 1986. Baby Doc Duvalier was ousted from government in Haiti, ending 28 years of one-family rule there. He fled to exile in France, taking perhaps US$ 100 million with him. In Port-au-Prince, members of Duvalier�s secret police, the Tonton Macoutes, were lynched by an angry mob.

18 July 1981, Six Haitians made a symbolic landing by Haitian Government helicopter on Navassa Island, which lies just 50 km west of Haiti but which is claimed by the USA as a �guano island� under an 1860 Act of Congress. The six were arrested by the US Navy.

21 April 1971. The Haitian dictator Papa Doc Duvalier, or Francois Duvalier, died in his bed aged 64, after ruling for 14 years. He survived six assassination attempts. He was succeeded by his son, 19-year old Jean Claude.

1965, The Haitian economy was in trouble. US aid, which in 1960 had been equivalent to some 50% of Haitian public spending, had halted, as had tourism. The country�s main export goods, coffee and sisal, had fallen in price on world markets.

17 September 1963, Haiti was officially made a One Party State, with all civil rights suspended. In fact there were very few civil rights anyway, but this move cemented the Party of |National Unity as another support mechanism for Duvalier.

5 August 1963, Haitian exiles attempted to overthrow Papa Doc Duvalier, mounting an invasion of Haiti from the Dominican Republic. However they were driven out of Haiti after 2 days fighting.

3 May 1963, Martial law was declared in Haiti.

24 May 1959, Duvalier suffered a heart attack. There was a brief moment of national rebellion, but he recovered and within a month was fully back in power.
28 July 1958, Atrtempted coup on Papa Doc Duvalier, as a band of 5 Americans and 2Haitian military officers landednear Port Au Prince, hoping to rally the population ina revolution. All the band were killed by loyalist troops and the incident strengthened the position of Duvalier.

22 September 1957. Dr Francois �Papa doc� Duvalier was elected President of Haiti. He had promised to end corrupt military regimes in Haiti but his own regime mixed voodoo with the presence of brutal secret police, the Ton Ton Macoute.

25 September 1954, Papa Doc Duvalier won Presidential elections in Haiti.

14 April 1907, Francois Duvalier, Haitian President and dictator, was born.


6 August 1934, US Marines withdrew from Haiti, ending 19 years of military occupation.

12 July 1918, Haiti declared war on Germany as part of its alliance with the United States.

12 June 1918, Haiti held a referendum on its new constitution, with 99% of voters approving it.

16 September 1915, Haiti became a US Protectorate.

27 July 1915. Revolution in Haiti. President Vilbrun Guillaume was killed by a mob.

5 February 1911, Revolution in Haiti was suppressed after its leader, General Montreuil Guillaume, was captured by government troops and shot.

2 December 1908, Rebels captured the Haitian capital, Port au Prince, and Alexis fled on board a French ship. Alexis died in Jamaica in 4/1910. Generral Simon then became President.

1908, Further revolution in Haiti after (12/1907) anti-government conspirators had been arrested and sentenced to death. The revolution spread and by 1/1908 Goniave, St Marc and other towns were controlled by the insurgents. President Alexis regained control and intitally pardoned the rebels. In March 1908 however he reversed this and executed some of them. Further death sentences on rebels were pronounced in Seotember 1908, and revolution broke out again in November.

1902, Haiti endured 9 months of civil was until, in December, Nord Alexis was elected President. Under his rule there was instability and riots. In 1904 Haitian soldiers attacked French and German representatives, and these countires exacted reprisals on Haiti.

5 August 1902, Antenor Firmin formed a rebel government in Haiti at Goniaves.

1896, General Tiresias Simon Sam took power. He ruled until forced to flee to Paris in 1902.

1888-89, Civil war in Haiti between Generals Legitime and Hippolyte. The latter gained suporemacy,and ruled with harsh absolute authority until his death in 1896.

1867, Sylvester Salnave became President but was shot after two years. He was succeeded in turn by Nissage Saget (1870), Dominique (1874) and Boisrond-Canal (1876). All of these were driven into exile by revolution. Then came President Salomon, who succeeded in ruling for ten years before he too was driven into exile by revolution.

1858, Emperor Faustin I was deposed and a Republic restored under President Fabre Geffrard. Geffrard�s rule was fair but firm, and in 1867 popular discontent forced him to flee to Jamaica.

1849, Political order returned to Haiti when Soulouque proclaimed himself Emperor Faustin I.

1844-49, Haiti endured political instability, with a rapid series of presidents and depositions.

1844, The Dominican Republic seceded from Haiti. This division of Hispaniola has been maintained since then.

March 1843, Jean Boyer, President of Haiti, was overthrown and he fled to Jamaica. There had been economic problems after Boyer had paid an indemnity of 150 million gold Francs to France in return for recognition of Haitian independence.

1825, France extracted a promise from Haiti to pay it 150 million gold francs, in return for French recognitiuon of Haitian independence and to compensate French slave owners for their losses on the island. This huge sime was over 3 years total income for the island and could not be paid, so a banking iinstitution was created to spread the payment, involving onerous ongoing interest payments to France. This consumed some 5% of Haitian annual income between 1840 and 1915. Rights to these payments were finally ceded by French banks to the USA who had then occupied the island to safeguard its own interests there. This �debt� was only finally extinguished in 1950.

1818, General Jean Pierre Boyer (1776-1850) became ruler of Haiti. In 1822 he took advantage of dissension in the (Spanish) Dominican Republic and invaded it. However he was deposed by a revolution in 1843, and fled the island. In 1844 the Dominican Republic proclaimed its independence from Haiti.

1810, Hostilities between Henri Christophe and Alexandre Sabes Petion ended. Henry Christophe became King Henry I of Haiti. However his rule, like that of Dessalines, proved tyrannical, there was an insurrection, and he committed suicide in 1820.

1806, Haiti (Hispaniola) was now territorially split three ways. In the north, Henri Christophe (1767-1820) took control. The south was under Alexandre Sabes Petion ((1770-1818). The Spanish re-estalished colonial control in the east (Dominican Republic).

17 October 1806, The tyrannical Emperor Jacques I, first ruler of Haiti, was assassinated. Henri Christophe was appointed president of Haiti, becoming King Henri I in 1811. He committed suicide in 1820.

10/1804, Jacques Dessalines proclaimed himself Emperor. He massacred all the White people in Haiti. His rule proved tyrannical and he lost public support.

1 January 1804, Haiti became independent from France, under Jean-Jacques Dessalines, after a 13-year anti-colonial war. Haiti was the first state vin Latin America to gain independence.

29 August 1803. General Dessalines proclaimed the independence of Haiti. In 1844 the Dominican Republic seceded from Haiti.

7 April 1803, Toussaint L�Ouverture died in prison in France.

March 1802, The French met strong resistance once they moved inland from Cap Francais, and were also decimated by diseases such as yellow fever.

5 February 1802, Bonaparte, Consul in France, sent his brother in law, General LeClerc, with 25,000 troops, to restore French rule. They landed at Cap Francais (now, Cap Hatien) this day, to find the city set on fire by retereating Black troops under Henry Chtristophe (1767-1820). Neither side could gain supremacy and France offered a peace treaty to Toussaint L�Ouverture. This however was a ruse and as soon as Toussaint L�Ouverture had laid down arms he was seized and taken to prison in France, where he died in 1803. This infuriated the Black population who restarted the rebellion under General Dessalines (1758-1806).

1801, Toussaint L�Ouverture succeeded in restoring order and now proclaimed a constitutional government with himself as Governor for life. France, however, was suspoicious of this move.

1795, By treaty with Spain, France acquired sovereignty over the whole island (Hispaniola).

1793, French Commissioners, in an attempt to resolve the rebellion, proclaimned an end to slavery. However this proclamation was ignored by the landowners.

August 1791, Haitian slaves massacred the French as a rebellion under Black leader Toussaint L�Ouverture started a 13-year conflict. The Haitians put up strong resistance against French, Dutch and English troops.

28 February 1776, Jean Boyer, President of Haiti, was born (died in Paris 1850).

1697, Hispaniola was divided between Spain and France. This was under the Treaty of Ryswick, 30 September 1697, under which Spain ceded the western third of Hispaniola, now comprising Haiti, to France.

1519, Enrique, great-nephew of Anacaona and Caonabo, who had been raised in a Spanish convent on Haiti., began a rebellion against the Spanish colonisers. After 14 years guerrilla warfare in the Bahoruco Mountains, the Spanish were compelled to recognise his autonomy.

1512, The Spanish, having failed to extract slave labour from the indigenous Haitians, now began to import slaves from Africa.

1506, The Spanish began sugar cultivation on Haiti.

1504, Queen Anacaona of Xaragua was coerced into attending a feast given by the Spanish Governor, Nicolas de Ovando. At thos feast she was arrested, charged with treason, and hanged. The Spanoish then made war on the indigenous people of Ayiti, massacring amost all the Xaraguans. See also 1496.

1496, Caonabo, husband of Queen Anacaona of Xaragua (a principality of the island of Ayiti) died pon board a ship on wh9och he was being forcibly taken to Spain. See also 1504.

6 December 1492. Christopher Columbus landed on an island he called Hispaniola, now Haiti, in search of gold. He had won backing from Spain for his expedition on condition he found gold to finance another war by Christian Spain against the Moors. Many Christians also believed that Christ�s second coming would not occur until all pagans had been converted to Christianity or at least defeated by Christendom.


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