Latin American War of Independence

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How did the Haitian Revolution of 1804 impact the western hemisphere?

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The Haitian Slave Revolt of 1804 was the spark of freedom for many countries, and even its own. The Spanish camed and took massive enslaved Africans to work on the lands they conquered. But the haitians had enough, so an educated creole slave named Toussaint L'Ouvertuer led the haitians into a revolt. The revolt was a success it help them get their land back, but it was a hard fight their leader were captured and later dying under Napoleon arms. In 1820, Haiti finally becamed a republic. But even when Haiti becamed a republic, they had to struggle to acheive their goal of democracy.


Ethnic And Social Hierarchy

Spanish born peninsulares dominated Latin American political and social life. Only they could hold top jobs in the government and the Church. Many creoles who owned the haciendas, ranches, and mines bitterly resented their second class staus. Merchants fretted under mercantilist policies that tied the colonies to Spain. Meanwhile, a growing population of mestizos and mulattoes, were angry at being denied the status, wealth, and power that were available to whites. Native Americans suffered economic misery under the Spanish, who had conquered the lands of their ancestors. In the Caribbean region and parts of South American, masses of enslaved Africans who worked on plantations longed for freedom. Beyond dissatisfaction with Spanish rule, the different classes had little in common. In fact, they distrusted and feared one another. At times, they worked together against the Spanish. But once independence was achieved, the creoles, who had led revolts, dominated the governments.

Enlightenment ideas

In the 1700s, educated creoles read the works of Enlightenment thinkers. They watched colonists in North America throw off British rule. Also they liked the works of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. During the French Revolution, young creoles like Simon Bolivar traveled in Europe and were inspired by the ideals of liberty, equality,and fraternity.

Important Leaders

Napoleon Bonaparte

Simon Bolivar

Toussaint L'Ouverture

Jose Morelos

San Martin

Haiti's Struggle For Independence

When revolution had erupted elsewhere in Latin American, in a French-ruled colony on the island of Hispaniola. Which is Haiti now called, was French's most valued possession in the 1700s. In Haiti, French planters owned very profitable sugar plantations worked by nearly a half million enslaved Africans. Sugar plantations were labor intensive. The slave were overworked and underfed. Haiti also had about 25,000 free mulattoes. Many were wealthy, and some also owned slaves. However, they did not have full equality with French creoles.

A Slave Revolt

In the 1790, revolutionaries in French were debating ways to abolish slavery in the West Indies. However, debating the issue in Paris did not help enslaved Haitians gain their freedom. Embittered by suffering and inspired by the talk of liberty and equality, Haiti's slaves expolored in revolt in 1791. The Rebels were fortunate to find an intelligent and skillful leader in Toussaint L'Ouverture, a self-educated former slave. The struggle was long and complex. Toussaint's army of former slaves faced many enemies. Some mulattoes joined French planters against the rebels. France, Spain, and Britian each sent armies to Haiti. The fighting took more lives than any other revolution in the Americas. By 1798, the rebels had achieved their goal; enslaved Haitians had been freed. And even though Haiti was still a French colony, Toussaint's forces controlled most of thr island.



In France, maeantime, Napolean Bonaparte rose to power. In 1802, he sent a large army to reconquer Haiti. Toussaint urged Haitians once again to take up arms, this time to fight for full independence from France. The guerrilla force were aided by a deadly ally, yellow fever, a disease which took a growing toll on the invaders. In April 1802, the France agreed to a truce, or temporary peace. Shortly after, the French captured Toussaint and carried him in chains to France. Ten months later, he died there in a cold mountain prison. But Haiti's struggle for freedom continued. In 1804, Haitian leaders declared independence. With yellow fever destroying his army, Napolean abandoned Haiti. In the following years, rival Haitian leaders fought for power. Finally, in 1820, Haiti became a republic.

How the Revolution Was Won

The slave rebellion developed into a revolutionary war over the course of some twelve years, as first forces loyal to the French Crown, then the Spanish, the British, and finally, the French Republicans, tried to win control of the territory. During these often-overlapping interventions both the black ex-slaves and mulatto freemen entered into a series of tactical alliances with contending foreign powers. The commander of the black armies, Toussaint L'Ouverture, in particular, displayed an astute understanding of inter-colonial rivalries, forging and breaking these alliances to maximum effect to further to struggle for freedom from slavery. A number of other factors also counted against the European forces. In the context of a war against elusive and mobile ex-slave armies, the Europeans' military tactics and strategy proved absolutely inappropriate. Fixed positions and static formations may have worked in Europe, but not in Saint Domingue against guerrilla forces with a far superior knowledge of the terrain on which they are fighting. The European troops were also at a significant disadvantage, being neither able to cope with the fiercely hot climate, nor with the local tropical diseases. Yellow fever and malaria are estimated to have claimed the lives of thousands of British and French troops, and the leaders of Napoleon's invasion force, his brother-in-law, General Charles Leclerc, himself died of a fever on the northern island of La Tortue in November 1802.

Haitian After the War


When Haiti broke free of French rule in 1804, there were high hopes for this predominantly black republic. But after nearly two centuries of independence, the Haitian people are still struggling to achieve true democracy. The country's constitution, originally based on the French Napoleonic Code and the U.S. Constitution, has been changed many times over the years, mainly to reinforce the positions of those in power. Virtual dictatorship had been the rule for almost 50 years since the Duvalier regimes, Haitian politics were marked by a period of coups d'etat, rigged elections, and martial laws. Since then, Haiti has experienced a number of democratic electrons, but every elected government has faced the implaceble challenge of serving a deeply divided country.


Once the richest slave colony in the world, Haiti is now the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and ranks 153 out of 177 countries. Haiti's national debt stands at $1.2 billion or roughly $150 per person. Most people would be considered lucky to make that a year.


  • Social Divisions

Upper Class-The Haitian upper class makes up less than 5 percent of the population. It is composed mostly of mulattoes, but well-educated and wealthy blacks are also included.

Middle Class-The middle class is a relatively new phenomenon in Haiti, brought about by wider educational opportunities and industrialization. Middle class families see education as a means of achieving higher status.

Urban Lower Class-The urban class make up about half the urban population. The urban lower class works extremely hard to try to achieve better standard of living.

Rural Lower Class-Poor farmers make up most of the Haitian population. They are on the bottom of the social ladder, and most live in abject proverty. They grow their own food and live in shacks.

Countries Independence And Revolutions

Haitian Revolutions

French Revolutions

Brazil Independence

Mexico and Central America Independence

South America Independence

Latin American Independence


The Haitian revolt of 1804 was a big impact on the Western Hemisphere, because it was the first black independent country. With the help of an educated slave the Haitian were able to keep thier freedom. When they acheived their freedom they tried to make up a stable government. And they are still trying to make one today. The Haitian can't get their government in order because of the bad leadership they keep having. The leadership brought the country down, now today the people there can't even make $150 dollars a year. But Haiti help other countries to gain their independence, because of their will. Many countries followed in Haiti footsteps and rebel against the French who were controlling their land. The Haitian slave revolt of 1804 help haitian in many ways and now it seems like they can't get much help today. The Haitian ecomony is slowing going down, which is making Haitian one of the poorest country. Even with Haiti being the poorest country, they help the western hemisphere come to reality.


The Haitian Revolution impact the western hemisphere because their war scared other countries. Also it help other countries that were under slavery that they can too take their land back. The creoles in Haiti sparks other countries like South America to fight for their country independence. Because of the great leadership of Toussaint L'Ouveture the haitian revolution was a great success. In other countries like Mexico and Central America they also fought for their independence. But the Haitian slave revolt scared the creoles in South America. They wanted power over their land like the haitians, but didn't want their ways of life to change.


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