Under the leadership of Jean-Jacques Dessalines Haiti achieved independence from the French empire [in 1804]. It’s status as the first freed colony was an immediate threat to other nearby colonies [in the Caribbean], who feared the possibility of a domino-effect, and quickly sanctioned the adolescent Haïti republic.
The French empire went a step further. Feeling slighted in the loss of it’s most profitable colony, the French empire demanded that Haïti paid a compensation of 150 million gold francs. If Haiti refused to pay off the illegal debt, it would be completely obliterated by the French military… leaving the first black republic no other choice.
Haiti took a loan from a ‘French’ bank and paid the equivalent of $40 billion dollars [90 gold francs] until 1947. The unlawful and unjust blackmailing by the French empire has indirectly led to 200 years of economic and political stagnation for Haiti.
Yet, Haiti stands, it’s mountains strong and the people resilient and prideful. Haiti’s fight for freedom and independence was turned into a colonial hangover and nightmare. All because of a bruised ego.