The following list regroups some of the most important dates in Haitian history. Other important instances (such as the complete chronology of the Haitian Revolution) have been omitted to make this list more comprehensible. (Furthermore, this outlined timeline does not go beyond the end of the Duvalierist Regime.) References provided at this end of this page should be used for a fuller analysis of the dates presented. This document ought to be regarded as an introductory tool.


1492-1500: European arrival to Hispaniola (present day Haiti and Dominican Republic); island inhabited by Taino Arawak population 

1492-1560s: Steady decline of Taino population, + or – 86% of population dies within few decades of European contact (original population estimate vary from + or – 1 million to 3.77 million in 1492, to a scarce dozens by the 1560s)

1502: Introduction of first African slaves

1521: First slave revolt in the New World 

1600s: Rise of French Flibustiers culture on Spanish territory 

1664: French West Indian Company administers island of Tortuga

1685: Louis XIV’s Code Noir issued

1697: Treaty of Ryswick, France gets ⅓ of the Western shore of Hispaniola (Saint-Domingue, now Haiti)

1724-1803: French government directly administers Saint-Domingue as its colony

1785-1790: Peak of colonial era; approximately 30, 000 African slaves are imported each year to Saint-Domingue (slave population of about 500, 000 by outbreak of the slave uprising)

1789: Beginning of the French Revolution, hostilities explode in Saint-Domingue between (and among) whites and the gens de couleurs 

1791 (21August): Bois-Caiman Voodoo Ceremony?

1791 (22 August): Slave uprising begins (first in the North)

1793: Gradual abolition of slavery in Saint-Domingue via French commissioners Sonthonax and Polverel

1794 (4 February): National Convention abolishes slavery in all French possessions 

1794-1801: Louverture rises to power in Saint-Domingue

1795: Treaty of Basel – Spain cedes Santo-Domingo to France

1801 (January): Louverture campaigns in Santo-Domingo, now part of the French Empire 

1801 (July); Louverture’s Constitution, partly in reaction to Napoleon seizing power in France 

1801 (November): Moïse rebellion against Louverture

1802: Napoleon’s Leclerc expedition 

1803 (November): French capitulation, Battle of Vertières

1804 (1 January): Haiti proclaims her independence; Jean-Jacques Dessalines becomes the first leader

1806 (October): Assassination of Dessalines

1807-1820: Henri Christophe succeeds Dessalines

1807/11-1820: Haiti secedes between a kingdom in the North (governed by Christophe) and a Republic in the South (presided by Pétion)

1811: Henri Christophe crowns himself Henry 1er, governs the North of Haiti as kingdom until his suicide in 1820

1807-1818: Alexandre Pétion becomes president of Southern Haiti until his death in 1818

1818-1843: Jean-Pierre Boyer is president of Haiti

1820: Boyer reunites the two Haitis after the death of Henri Christophe; annexes the Dominican Republic

1825: Indemnity to France for recognition of independence, originally 150M Francs (at 1789 values)

1826: Boyer’s (particularly unpopular) Rural Code

1838: Indemnity reduced to 90M, advantage tariffs for French commerce maintained

1843: “Liberal” Revolt against Boyer

1844: Dominican Republic declares independence from Haiti (and in1864 from Spain)

1844: Piquet Rebellion 

1844-1915: With few notable exceptions, beginning of a period of political instability

1849-1859: Faustin Soulouque becomes president and crowns himself emperor of Haiti

1879-1888: Presidency of Lysius Salomon

1890s-1915: Greatest period of political instability, sovereignty undermined, less Haitian-owned businesses, social classes tighten; “color question” intensify 

1915-1934: US Marine Occupation, puppet presidencies to serve US and elite interests 

1917-1929: Cacos Wars againts the US Occupation

1919: Death of Caco leader Charlemagne Peralte, photo of dead body paraded by Americans to discourage further resistance 

1920s: Emergence of the Haitian Indigéniste movement

1928: Haitian intellectual Jean Price-Mars publishes Ainsi Parla L’Oncle and strongly criticizes the Haitian elite for their lack of social usefulness 

1930s: “Color question” intensify further; Marine occupation seen as an humiliation  

1934: Departure of Americans, yet political ties remain

1934: Creation of the Haitian Communist Party with members such as Jacques Roumain

1930s-1940s: Noirisme movement “grows out” of Indigénisme

1946: “Revolution of 1946”; victory of Noirisme movement; election of Dumarsais Estimé 

1950: Coup against Estimé

1950-1956: Presidency of Paul Eugène Magloire

1957: Election of 1957; François Duvalier becomes president

1957-1986: Duvalier Dictatorship 

1964: François Duvalier names himself president for life (until 1971)

1971-1986: Jean-Claude succeeds his father as next dictator of Haiti

1986: End of Duvalier dictatorship

1986-?: Interminable transition to democracy

* Please do not copy this list without permission from its authors, that is, both moderators at HH and universalayititoma. Use for educational purposes only. 

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Frostin, Charles. Les révoltes blanches à Saint-Domingue aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (Haïti avant 1789). Ecole, 1975.

Geggus, David Patrick. Haitian Revolutionary Studies. Indiana University Press, 2002.

James, C. L. R. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. Penguin Books Limited, 2001.

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