Christopher Columbus lands and claims the island of Hispaniola for Spain. The Spanish build the New World's
first settlement at La Navidad on Haiti's north coast.


Spanish control over the colony ends with the Treaty of Ryswick, which divided the island into
French-controlled St. Domingue and Spanish Santo Domingo.

For over 100 years the colony of St. Domingue (known as the Pearl of the Antilles) was France's most
important overseas territory, which supplied it with sugar, rum, coffee and cotton. At the height of slavery,
near the end of the 18th century, some 500,000 people, mainly of western African origin, were enslaved by
the French.


A slave rebellion is launched by the Jamaican-born Boukman leading to a protracted 13-year war of liberation
against St. Domingue's colonists and later, Napoleon's army which was also assisted by Spanish and British
forces. The slave armies were commanded by General Toussaint Louverture who was eventually betrayed by
the French and subsequently exiled to France where he died.


The Haitian blue and red flag is devised at Arcahie, by taking the French tricolor, turning it in its side and
removing the white band. The Battle of Vertières in November marks the ultimate victory of the former slaves
over the French.


The hemispere's second Republic is declared on January 1, 1804 by General Jean-Jacques Dessalines. Haiti,
or Ayiti in Creole, is the name given to the land by the former Taino-Arawak peoples, meaning "mountainous


Emperor Jean-Jacques Dessalines is assassinated.


Civil war racks the country, which divides into the northern kingdom of Henri Christophe and the southern
republic governed by Alexandre Pétion. Faced with a rebellion by his own army, Christophe commits suicide,
paving the way for Jean-Pierre Boyer to reunify the country and become President of the entire republic in


President Boyer invades Santo Domingo following its declaration of independence from Spain. The entire
island is now controlled by Haiti until 1844.


France recognizes Haitian independence in exchange for a financial indemnity of 150 million francs. Most
nations including the United States shunned Haiti for almost forty years, fearful that its example could stir
unrest there and in other slaveholding countries. Over the next few decades Haiti is forced to take out loans
of 70 million francs to repay the indemnity and gain international recognition.


The United States finally grants Haiti diplomatic recognition sending noted abolitionist Frederick Douglass as
its Consular Minister.


President Woodrow Wilson orders the U.S. Marines to occupy Haiti and establish control over
customs-houses and port authorities. The Haitian National Guard is created by the occupying Americans. The
Marines force peasants into corvée labor building roads. Peasant resistance to the occupiers grows under
the leadership of Charlemagne Peralt, who is betrayed and assassinated by Marines in 1919.


The U.S. withdraws from Haiti leaving the Haitian Armed Forces in place throughout the country.


Thousands of Haitians living near the border of the Dominican Republic are massacred by Dominican soldiers
under the orders of President General Trujillo.


After several attempts to move forward democratically ultimately fail, military-controlled elections lead to
victory for Dr. François Duvalier, who in 1964 declares himself President-for-Life and forms the infamous
paramilitary Tonton Makout. The corrupt Duvalier dictatorship marks one of the saddest chapters in Haitian
history with tens of thousands killed or exiled.


"Papa-Doc" Duvalier dies in office after naming his 19 year-old son Jean-Claude as his successor.


The first Haitian "boat people" fleeing the country land in Florida.


Widespread protests against repression of the nation's press take place.


"Baby-Doc" Duvalier exploits international assistance and seeks to attract investment leading to the
establishment of textile-based assembly industries. Attempts by workers and political parties to organize are
quickly and regularly crushed.


Hundreds of human rights workers, journalists and lawyers are arrested and exiled from the country.


International aid agencies declare Haitian pigs to be carriers of African Swine Fever and institute a program
for their slaughter. Attempts to replace indigenous swine with imported breeds largely fail.


Pope John Paul II visits Haiti and declares publicly that, "Things must change here."


Over 200 peasants are massacred at Jean-Rabeau after demonstrating for access to land. The Haitian
Bishops Conference launches a nation-wide (but short-lived) literacy program. Anti-government riots take
place in all major towns.


Massive anti-Government demonstrations continue to take place around the country. Four schoolchildren are
shot dead by soldiers, an event which unifies popular protest against the régime.


Widespread protests against "Baby Doc" lead the U.S. to arrange for Duvalier and his family to be exiled to
France. Army leader General Henri Namphy heads a new National Governing Council.


A new Constitution is overwhelmingly approved by the population in March. General elections in November
are aborted hours after they begin with dozens of people shot by soldiers and the Tonton Makout in the
capital and scores more around the country.


Military controlled elections - widely abstained from - result in the installation of Leslie Manigat as President in
January. Manigat is ousted by General Namphy four months later and in November General Prosper Avril
unseats Namphy.


President Avril, on a trade mission to Taiwan, returns empty-handed after grassroots-based democratic
sectors inform Taiwanese authorities that the Haitian nation will not be responsible for any contracts agreed
to by Avril. Avril orders massive repression against political parties, unions, students and democratic


Avril declares a state of siege in January. Rising protests and urging from the American Ambassador
convince Avril to resign. A Council of State forms out of negotiations among democratic sectors, charged with
running a Provisional Government led by Supreme Court Justice Ertha Pascal-Trouillot.

U.S. Vice-President Dan Quayle visits Haiti and tells Army leaders, "No more coups." Assistance is sought
from the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations (UN) to help organize general
elections in December.

In a campaign marred by occasional violence and death, democratic elections finally take place on December
16, 1990. Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a parish priest, well known throughout the country for his support of
the poor, is elected President with 67.5% of the popular vote. The "U.S. favorite" Marc Bazin finishes a distant
second with 14.2%


Duvalierist holdover and Tonton Makout Dr. Roger Lafontant attempts a coup d'état to prevent Father
Aristide's ascension to power. The Armed Forces quickly remove him from the National Palace following
massive popular protest.

President Aristide is inaugurated on February 7th, five years after Duvalier's fall from power. A Government is
formed by Prime Minister René Préval promising to uproot the corruption of the past. Over $500 million is
promised in aid by the international community.

In September President Aristide addresses the UN General Assembly. Three days after his return military
personnel with financial backing from neo-Duvalierist sectors and their international allies unleash a coup
d'état, ousting President Aristide. Over 1,000 people are killed in the first days of the coup.

The OAS calls for a hemisphere-wide embargo against the coup régime in support of the deposed
constitutional authorities.


Negotiations between the Washington, D.C. based exiled Government, Haiti's Parliament and representatives
of the coup régime headed by General Raoul Cédras lead to the Washington Protocol, which is ultimately
scuttled by the coup régime.

U.S. President George Bush exempts U.S. factories from the embargo and orders U.S. Coast Guard to
interdict all Haitians leaving the island in boats and to return them to Haiti.

The OAS embargo fails as goods continue to be smuggled through neighboring Dominican Republic. Haiti's
legitimate authorities ask the United Nations to support a larger embargo in order to press the coup leaders to
step down. The UN pledges to support efforts by the OAS to find a solution to the political crisis.


President Aristide asks the Secretaries-General of the OAS and the UN for the deployment by the United
Nations and OAS of an international civilian mission to monitor respect for human rights and the elimination of
all forms of violence.

In June Haiti requests an oil and arms embargo from the UN Security Council in order to pressure the coup
régime to give up power.

In July, President Aristide and General Raoul Cédras sign the Governors Island Accord, which inter alia called
for the early retirement of Gen. Cédras, the formation and training of a new civilian police force, and the
return of the President on October 30, 1993. Representatives of political parties and Parliament sign the New
York Pact pledging support for President Aristide's return and the rebuilding of the nation.

A contingent of U.S. and Canadian trainers aboard the U.S.S. Harlan County arrives in Haitian waters in
October and is recalled because of right-wing demonstrations, setting back the Governors Island agreement.
General Cédras refuses to step down as promised.

President Aristide's Justice Minister Guy Malary, responsible for the formation of a civilian police force is shot
dead in Port-au-Prince weeks after local businessman and Aristide supporter Antoine Izmery is executed
outside of a local church.

The UN calls for "strict implementation" of the embargo against the de facto authorities. The Civilian Mission's
human rights observers are allowed to return in small numbers.


In May additional sanctions were levied against the régime through a naval blockade supported by Argentine,
Canadian, French, Dutch and U.S. warships.

Tensions increase as human rights violations continue. The Civilian Mission is told by the de facto authorities
to leave the country.

The UN Security Council passes Resolution 940 authorizing the Member States to form a 6,000 multinational
force and "to use all necessary means" to facilitate the departure of the military régime.

On September 15th, U.S. President Clinton declares that all diplomatic initiatives were exhausted and that the
US with 20 other countries would form a multinational force. On September 19th these troops land in Haiti
after the coup leaders agree to step down and leave the country.

On October 15th, President Aristide and his Government-in-exile return to Haiti.


In June Haiti hosts the annual OAS General Assembly at Montrouis.

Legislative elections take place that month and in December the presidential contest is won by former Prime
Minister René Préval. (President Aristide is precluded by the Constitution from succeeding himself).

In November Prime Minister Smarck Michel steps down and Foreign Minister Claudette Werleigh becomes
President Aristide's fourth Prime Minister.


President Préval is inaugurated in February. A Government is formed under Prime Minister Rosny Smarth.
Agricultural production, administrative reform, and economic modernization are announced as the
Goverment's priorities.
Key Dates in Haiti's History