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.
1777: French officers lead a regiment of 750 free blacks from Saint-Domingue to help the fledgling U.S. fight British troops at Savannah, Ga. The unit includes several future leaders of Haiti.
1780: Saint-Domingue is France's richest colony, producing 40 percent of all sugar and 60 percent of all coffee consumed in Europe.
1789: When the French Revolution starts, the colony has 500,000 slaves, 32,000 whites and 25,000 people of color (mixed race), many of whom have inherited wealth and slaves from their white fathers.
1791: Aug. 22, slave revolt begins. Tradition says it starts with a voodoo ceremony led by Dutty Boukman. He is captured and executed, but revolt spreads and plantations are torched.
1794: Feb. 4, French Assembly abolishes slavery in all its colonies, ratifying what is already reality in Saint-Domingue.
1801: Toussaint L'Ouverture defeats British and Spanish troops that invaded Santo Domingo and controls the entire island.
1802: Napoleon sends 40,000 troops under his brother-in-law, Gen. Charles Leclerc, to re-establish slavery in the colonies. Leclerc deceives and captures Toussaint and ships him to France, where he dies in prison.