Haiti – A pearl in poverty and chaos
Haiti is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. Two thirds of Haitians live below the poverty line. Not least because of this, one of the biggest problems is the enormous violence there.
Throughout the 20th century to the present day, the political situation in Haiti was and is extremely unstable. Revolts, revolts and military coups made the country what it is today.
On the night of January 12-13, 2010, the country was struck by an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 – as well as around 15 aftershocks, half of which had a magnitude of 5.0. It was the heaviest earthquake since 1770. The epicenter of the quake was about 16 km west of the capital Port-au-Prince and at a depth of only 8 km. In the capital, more than 70% of the buildings were destroyed. In addition, large parts of the rest of the country are in ruins. According to official information, around 316,000 people lost their lives in the quake and around 300,000 were injured – some very seriously. (Credit: Countryaah: Haiti Population)
But that’s not all: On October 2, 2016, the island nation was hit by Hurricane “Matthew”, which left a trail of devastation and probably killed more than 1,000 people.
In addition, numerous people lost their last belongings and many became permanently homeless. There were also cholera outbreaks afterwards.
From the year 1000 to the 17th century
On December 6, 1492, Christopher Columbus went ashore at Mole St Nicolas on the island of Hispaniola. The native Taino Indians then suffered the same fate as the Indians on the other Caribbean islands, they were largely exterminated by the Spanish conquerors. From the beginning of the 16th century, slaves were brought to the island from Africa, as the indigenous people were almost exterminated. In the 17th century the French settled on the island and in 1640 France annexed the Haitian part of the island.
In the 18th and 19th centuries
According to Abbreviationfinder website, in 1749 Port au Prince was established as the capital. In the course of the French Revolution, local mulattos and blacks jointly organized the first uprising against their French masters and occupiers in 1790, and the slaves were liberated. English navigators landed on Hispaniola in 1793. The rebels then allied themselves with the French and together the English could be defeated. In 1802 the leader of the rebels proclaimed a new constitution and independence from France. Napoleon, however, brought the colony back under his control.
On January 1, 1804, Jean-Jaques Dessalines proclaimed the state of Haiti and crowned himself emperor, following the example of NapoleonJacques I of Haiti. After that, the alliance of blacks and mulattos began to break up and an opposition began, which is one of the basic evils of Haiti to this day. In 1844 the eastern part of the island was declared an Independent Dominican Republic.
In modern times
In the 20th century, Haiti experienced a chain of coups, revolts and military coups. The United States intervened frequently and occupied it under President Woodrow Wilson in 1915. It was not until President Roosevelt that they withdrew from Haiti in 1934. From 1957 the dictator Francois Duvalier (called Papa Doc) exploited the country and established a reign of terror in his 14-year term until 1971, which his son (called Baby Doc) continued until 1986. They ruled with the help of the voodoo cult and the infamous thug gangs – the Tonton Macoute.
On December 16, 1990, the priest Jean-Bertrande Aristide wonthe election, however, was forced into exile by a military coup. The USA then imposed a blockade on Haiti, forcing Aristide to return in October 1994. He ruled the country until 1996 and then again from 2000 to 2004 – from February 7, 1996 to February 7, 2001, René Garcia Préval took over the office of president in between. After Aristide had won the 2004 elections with a majority of 90%, there were international allegations of election manipulation and uprisings in their own country. Aristide then went into exile in France, but still claims to be the rightful President of Haiti to this day. Under the protection of the UN stabilization force MINUSTAH, the Haitians elected a new parliament and president in February 2006. René Garcia Préval won the election with over 50% of the vote; he has been the incumbent president since May 14, 2006.
The January 2010 earthquake
On the night of January 12-13, 2010, the country was struck by an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 and around 15 aftershocks, half of which had a magnitude of 5.0. It was the heaviest earthquake since 1770. The epicenter of the quake was about 16 km west of the capital Port-au-Prince and at a depth of only 8 km. Over 70% of the buildings in the capital were destroyed, including the magnificent presidential palace and the cathedral in the capital. In addition, large parts of the rest of the country are in ruins. According to official information, over 200,000 people lost their lives and up to 300,000 were injured – some very seriously.
As a result of the earthquake, which is considered to be one of the worst natural disasters of recent times, there was unprecedented aid from states, but also from individuals and numerous aid organizations.