Haiti - (North America)
Information about Haiti
The island was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492. In 1657 the territory of Haiti passed from the Spanish to the French. In 1791 the black population rose against the white ruling class; it was the first country in Latin America to become independent (under Toussaint Louverture in 1804). From 1822 to 1844 Haiti also ruled over the Dominican Republic. Prompted by an anarchic situation, the US marines occupied the country in 1915; it remained dependent on the USA after their departure (1934). The mulattos played the dominant role. In 1957 François Duvalier won the elections on the basis of the promise to defend the rights of the blacks. In fact, he and, after 1971, his son Jean-Claude ruled as brutal dictators. In 1990 Aristide, a priest, was elected to the presidency, but he was soon removed by a military putch. Through US intervention the democratic order was reestablished in 1994. Haiti is the poorest country of the Western hemisphere.
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