Timeline of Haiti History

Christopher Columbus landed on this tiny island on Dec. 6, 1492 and called it "La isla espanola.” The name was, however, later shortened to Hispaniola. The island was then inhabited by local Arawak Indians who called their homes as "Hayti,” or mountainous land. Its location and fertile soil became a treasure ground that was constantly sought after by Britain, Spain and France and finally, by the middle of the seventeenth century, the island became a French colony from 1697—when it was granted to France by Spain—until 1804. It was France's wealthiest overseas colony, producing sugar, cotton, coffee, indigo and log wood. Haiti is the first republic of African descents and the second oldest nation in the Americas after the USA.

Main historical events in Haiti are given here chronologically:

Spanish Hispaniola (1492 to 1625): A settlement was established by Christopher Columbus at La Navidad, near the modern town of Cap Haitien;

French Saint-Domingue (1625–1789):

  • Established by buccaneers or French pirates on the island of Tortuga in 1625 that remained till 1711;
  • The Pearl of the Antilles (1711–1789): The city of Cap-Français was established by Louis XIV and that was followed by building other cities like Les Cayes (in 1726) and Port-au-Prince (1749). The French exported 51 million pounds of refined sugar, 72 million pounds of raw sugar, two million pounds of cotton and one million pounds of indigo. Saint-Domingue became famous as the "Pearl of the Antilles. By 1780’s Saint-Domingue became one of the richest colonies in the 18th century French empire;

The rising of the slaves (1789–1804): The slave revolt started with the French revolution in 1789 but was most evident with an uprising of the black African slaves in the northern plain of Haiti against the planters on 21st August 1791. The revolt ended when the French were defeated at the battle of Vertières in November 1803 and Haiti became an independent state under the leadership of Jean-Jacques Dessalines On January 1, 1804.