3 minutes 23 seconds
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The island of Hispaniola, here, has had a long history
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of unification and division.
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It was a series of individual states, then ruled by the Spanish, then it was split with the French, ruled entirely by the French, partially ruled by the Spanish and independent Haitians, entirely ruled by the Haitians, divided between the Haitians and the Haitians, followed by the independent Dominicans and the Spanish again. Back to independence, and then
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to shake things up, it
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was occupied by the Americans before again settling down into the 2 modern states of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Which raises the question, why couldn't the islands stay united? So, when Europeans first turned up to the island, it was divided into a number of chiefdoms, which the Spanish then promptly conquered. Afterwards, the entire island remained under Spanish rule for 130 years when France won
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the eastern third of it,
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and France's portion of the island would grow rapidly in wealth until the French Revolutionary Wars. This was when France, having defeated most of Europe, won the rest of Hispaniola from Spain.
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There was soon a slave revolt in
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the Western Third, Napoleon sent troops to crush it and when that failed the island was split again, this time into the newly independent Haitian Empire with the French in the East, which lasted for a whopping 2 years before its emperor, Jacques, got himself unalived and the country fell into civil war. The 2 stayed divided until 1820 when the Northern King died and the Southern Republic, led by Jean-Pierre Boyer, reconquered the rest. By this time, the French had been kicked out of the eastern portion of the island with the Spanish back in power. And after this, there was
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a long-standing period of peace and rebuilding and just kidding, the Haitians invaded and Bouyer declared himself dictator for life. Bouyer ruled over all of Hispaniola for
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the next 20 years. He paid an indemnity to France in return for international recognition of Haiti's independence,
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and he kicked out all
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of the white landowners from the east of the island. Except for the Polish, that is. They were cool. Bouillée did very little to unify the 2 parts of the island culturally, and many in
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the east saw themselves as
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a wholly distinct people from the Haitians who now ruled them. And thus, it was time for a calm discussion.
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By which, I mean armed revolution.
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Bouillée fled in 1843, and in 1844 the Dominican Republic declared its independence. The 2 would remain separate thereafter, with Haiti briefly becoming an empire again and the Dominican Republic falling to a Spanish invasion in 1861. This was because the United States' Monroe Doctrine, which forbid Europeans from retaking their old colonies, was somewhat harder to enforce at this time. It didn't matter though because the Dominicans soon revolted and kicked the Spanish out, and both parts of the islands remained as independent republics thereafter. That was until the early 20th century.
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Haiti was still paying off its debts to France from the Napoleonic era and combined with expensive wars and general mismanagement, the country had become quite poor. Haiti's issues meant that it couldn't repay some of its debts to an American bank which meant that it was time for intervention. The United States invaded the country in 1915 to force through debt repayment and protect American interests there. The next year, the US-friendly Dominican government was overthrown, and since US Marines were in the area, in they went.
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Both nations were thus occupied and run by the same country until the US left
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the Dominican Republic in 1924 and Haiti in 1934, and thereafter both Haitian and Dominican independence was restored and Hispaniola would remain divided.
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