Haiti: A Historical Time Line

A time line of important dates in Haiti's history.


1492: Dec. 5, Columbus lands on a large island he names Isla Española (Spanish Island), later changed to Hispaniola. It is inhabited by Taino and Arawak Indians.

1503: First Africans brought to Hispaniola for labor after pleas from a Spanish priest who wants to save the Indians from extinction.

1592: Spanish governor executes Queen Anacaona, the last Taino chief.

1659: First official settlement on Tortuga (off the coast of Haiti) by French buccaneers who hunt wild cattle and by pirates who attack ships sailing from South America to Europe.

1664: French West India Co. takes control of western third of the island and names it Saint-Domingue.

1670: First French settlement on the main island, named Cap Francois, later Cap-Français and now Cap-Haitien, the second largest city in Haiti. Settlers grow cacao, coffee, tobacco and indigo and begin importing slaves as labor.

1685: Louis XIV enacts the Code Noir, which regulates the treatment of slaves and sets obligations for owners. Corporal punishment is allowed, sanctioning brutal treatment.

1697: Spain formally cedes the western third of the island to France via the Treaty of Ryswick.

1749: Port-au-Prince is founded.

1758: Rebel leader Mackandal, born in Guinea, is captured and burned alive in Cap-Francois after seven years leading an insurrection.