19th Century’s Impact of Haitian Revolution on Cuba

Introduction

The Haitian revolution is one of the greatest revolutions that ever happened in history. It took place between 1791 and 1804 in Haiti which was then known as Saint-Domingo. Saint Domingo was one of the richest colonies and was under the French rule. It was tended by slaves, had fertile soil and a very favorable climate. Some of the things cultivated there were cotton, tobacco, coffee, sugar, vegetables and some fruits. After attaining its independence, Haiti became the first republic occupied and governed by blacks who were formerly slaves.

In Saint-Domingo, there were four groups of people: the planters who owned the plantations and were key supporters of slave trade so as to get labor for their plantations, the Petit Blancs who were mainly traders, teachers and other who did not own plantations but had good jobs, the free people of color and the black slaves.

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1. Economic Impact

The Haitian revolution had a great economic impact on Cuba in the 19th century. Since Haiti had been one of the richest colonies worldwide, its revolution led to economic instability as the slaves sought to overthrow their masters who owned the plantations. This disrupted agriculture and gave Cuba a chance to revitalize its agricultural production.

Notably, the revolution caused the collapsing of the sugar industry in Haiti thus giving Cuba an opportunity to revive its sugar industry. In 1902, Cuba got a chance to sign an agreement with US which gave Cuba a chance to export a certain amount of its sugar which led to tremendous growth in its economy (Abbott 1).

2. Cultural Impact

The migration of Haitians into Cuba impacted differently on the Cuban culture. First, it led to the development of Haitian Creole. Certainly, language is a key part of culture thus the importance of the Creole as a cultural impact. This language came to be when the Haitian migrants arrived in Cuba. These refugees arrived there to work in the sugar plantations and as they interacted with the Cuban, the Haitian Creole was introduced.

In addition, there were different types of music and dances that were brought by the Haitian immigrants. These dances and music became a significant part of the Cuban culture as they enriched it. One such dance is the Tumba Francesa (Viddal 1).

3. Political impact

The Haitian revolution has had its political impact on Cuba in the 19th century. It is this revolution which led to the emancipation of slaves in Cuba years later. The revolution made many slaves revote against oppressive governments and gain their freedom.

In addition sugar trade between Cuba and the US brought the two states closer. However, at some point in the 19th century, the Cuban government under the leadership of Fidel Castrol nationalized the large estates of agriculture, industries dealing with refining of sugar which had previously been owned by individuals.

This was seen as a communist move by the US government which was against communism. As a result, the US government prohibited importation of goods from Cuba which consequently led to Cuba nationalizing some US owned assets amounting to 8 billion.

4. Conclusion

It is clear that the Haitian revolution, though termed as the forgotten revolution, had some direct and indirect impact politically, economically and culturally on Cuba. Through the revolution, Cuba got a chance to rise as a great sugar supplier, its culture got enriched by the immigrants from Haiti and also its politics got impacted with the changes in relations with the US and the abolishing of the slavery system. Therefore, the Haitian revolution played a great role on bringing key changes in Cuba.

Works Cited

Abbott, Elizabeth, Sugar: A Bittersweet History, Overlook Press, 2010
www.repeatingislands.com/2010/04/12/haitis-revolution-fueled-the-rise-of-big-sugar-in-cuba-and-louisiana/

Viddal, Grete, Dance! Global Transformation of Latin American Culture, ReVista, Harvard Review of Latin America, Volume VII, No. 1, Fall 2007, p. 48-50

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