Haiti Timeline: A History of Foreign Occupation


For hundreds of years, other countries have tried to control Haiti. Many people blame these other countries, that have exploited the land and people, for Haiti’s high poverty rate. Over 80 percent of the people live on less than $2 a day.

Toussaint L'Ouverture, a former slave, was one of the leaders of the Haitian Revolution. Photo: Organization of American States Children's Corner
Toussaint L’Ouverture, a former slave, was one of the leaders of the Haitian Revolution. Photo: Organization of American States Children’s Corner

Before 1492 A thriving population of native Arawak people farm and live on the land
1492 Christopher Columbus claims the island of Hispaniola for Spain
1697 Spain gives up the western part of Hispaniola to France in a treaty
1700s The French colony becomes very wealthy using slaves to produce crops such as sugar, rum, tobacco and cotton
1791-1804 The Haitian Revolution. The slaves win, kicking out the French and ending slavery. Haiti becomes the world’s first independent Black republic.
1915 The United States Marines invade Haiti and occupy it to protect U.S. property and businesses. Haitians fight against U.S. occupation
1934 U.S. occupation ends
1957-1986 Francois Duvalier (“Papa Doc”) and then his son, Jean-Claude Duvalier (“Baby Doc”), rule over Haiti as dictators, with support from the U.S. government
1970s-1980s Haiti’s economy shifts from agriculture (farmwork) to low-level industry (low-paid factory work), such as making shoes and baseballs. 85% of the profits go to U.S. businesses.
1990 Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide, known for his support of the poor, is elected president
1991 With U.S. government support, the Haitian military forces Aristide out of power
1994 The U.S. military occupies Haiti and returns Aristide to power
1995 Rene Préval is elected president
2000 Aristide is once again elected president
2004 Aristide is forced out of power. Aristide says he was forced out by the U.S. government that flew him to the Central African Republic.
2010 Following the earthquake, the U.S. sends in over 15,000 military troops

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