French Colonization of Haiti (the beginning)

Posted by on Saturday, December 27, 2014 Under: French Colonization

As Spain started to show disinterest in Hispaniola, some French buccaneers established a settlement on the Island of Tortuga, off of Haiti northern coast. After just a couple months, many English and Dutch pirates followed and together they formed a lawless territory, pirating the Spanish ships and hunting wild cattle that became abundant since their introduction to the Island by Christopher Columbus. By 1663, French settlement expanded to the western coast of the Island and, Leogane, former  Spanish town named Yaguana at the time, was claimed for France.

By 1664, the French established a chartered company: Compagnie des Indes Occidentales (French West India Company). In less than 6 months, the company grew considerably; 45 vessels were equipped and they acquired exclusive commercial privilege in Seigniory and Acadia of Canada, the Antilles, Cayenne and, a huge part of South America; from the Amazon in Brazil to the Orinoco in Venezuela. When France realized the continuous growth of the company, and the benefits it could commercially get from the tiny Island of Hispaniola due to Its geographical position, it formally claimed control of the western portion, and chose Port-de-Paix as Its capital. 

After many unsuccessful battle to regain control of the western part of Hispaniola, on September 20, 1697, Spain  officially ceded the western third of the Island to France by signing the Treaty of Ryswick. France named its part Saint Domingue; the unbroken rule of France in Haiti began.

With the encouragement of then King Of France, Louis XIV, the growing of tobacco, indigo, cotton, coffee and cacao began on the fertile northern plain, the most fertile in the entire Island of Hispaniola and, slaves were imported from Africa to work the fields. 

In : French Colonization 


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