When Columbus first landed on the tiny island that would later be known as Saint Domingue, and eventually Haiti, it is doubtful whether he could have ever imagined it becoming the wealthiest European outpost in the New World, nor the significant impact that it would eventually have on France, Great Britain, and the United States. Saint Domingue was to become the crown jewel among France's colonial possessions, the British would try unsuccessfully to possess it and the events in Saint Domingue would change American history and help to save the heart of the continent for the United States. The instigation for so much foreign involvement began when the massive slave population on Saint Domingue decided to follow the example of France, its mother country, and begin a revolution of their own. In the most massive slave revolt in history, the slaves of Saint Domingue would succeed in maintaining their independence from not only France, but England and Spain as well.
[...] Like other sugar colonies the slaves on Saint Domingue were brutally treated, there are numerous recorded instances of slave torture that would make any decent person cringe. They were worked virtually 24 hours a day during the harvest season and it was typical that 1 of 7 would die each year. Therefore, it can be assumed that in 1791 almost all of the slaves laboring in Saint Domingue were born in Africa. Rotberg concludes that this population of slaves, coming straight from Africa, was yet broken remembered their lost freedom [and] had little to lose by rebellion.” It is little wonder then that ultimately it will be these slave masses that will alter French and British colonial policy in the early nineteenth century. [...]
[...] Furthermore, it was also a chance for them to extend their grasp over the Caribbean; the British government was determined to seize control over Saint Domingue and believed that they could succeed were France had failed. In the early stages of the war, the British government had come to understanding with Spain, who had also become involved in the war, that essentially the Spanish would have authority over North and part of West Saint Domingue and the British would take the “South, Northwest, and the western shore of Haiti's great gulf.” For a while the British were very successful in Saint Domingue. [...]
[...] was torn between wanting respect international law by recognizing the rights of the revolutionary black government on the island,” and worrying about what effect a successful slave rebellion would have in the southern states. After Haiti received its independence, the U.S. was split over merchants wanting to trade with Haiti and slave-owners who abhorred the island. Regrettably, the United States chose not to recognize the independent state of Haiti until decades later. British policy concerning Haiti after the war had two main objectives; one of which was to gain a monopoly over trade with the island. [...]
[...] When the Haitian Revolution ended in 1804, abolitionists in Britain began to argue that the success of the Haitian independence warranted ending the slave trade in Britain's colonies. Unfortunately, the white leaders of Britain were quick to forget the initial alarm they felt during the slave's uprising, and indeed it is hard to prove that fear of another slave revolution was what provoked the British to finally abolish the slave trade in 1807. By this time British colonies were also dominating the Caribbean market and Britain had little worry of any competition from Haiti. While it is debatable whether or not the Haitian Revolution influenced the British Parliament to abolish the slave trade, the impact that the war in Haiti had on the world is not. [...]
[...] and British would “honor Toussaint's laissez-passer granted to any French ship.” However, as civil war broke out in Saint Domingue in 1799, the U.S. ordered warships to blockade of the south side and rigid American embargo was established. Toussaint was able to defeat the mulatto leader of the French forces in Saint Domingue in part due to secret aid from the U.S. They sent arms and supplies to Toussaint and even transported his troops behind enemy lines. As when the British made peace with France, Toussaint would also suffer when peace was made between France and the United States, thus ending his advantageous arrangement with the U.S. Toussaint had now conquered all of Saint Domingue from the Europeans, but the struggle of the island would not end there. [...]
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