Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Louis Herns Marcelin
Haiti is a country in the Caribbean that occupies one third of the island of Hispaniola. When Christopher Columbus set foot in Haiti in 1492, the island was inhabited by the Tainos Indians, who were put into slavery by the Spanish conquistadors. Within 30 years, the Indian population was decimated by the harshness of their new conditions and the diseases brought by the colonizers. To continue expanding their empire, the colonizers turned to West Africa as a new source of people to enslave. Struggle between colonial rivals to control the gold mines in Hispaniola ultimately led the Spanish to agree, in 1698, to a treaty granting the French control over the western part of the colony. Under French colonial rule, the western part, renamed Saint-Domingue, was transformed into a complex plantation system based on a sophisticated capitalist enslavement of Africans, who composed the majority of the population. The wealth of ...