In researching the culture of Haiti there was a plethora of information describing the economic and political climate of the country, and limited resources regarding the people and culture specifically. I began to wonder if these factors weren't directly responsible and relatable to the culture of the Haitian people. When I looked at Haiti from this perspective a picture of their people began to emerge. A sad and varied culture.
Haiti became an independent nation on January 1st, 1804 after a group of escaped slaves from the plantations on the island revolted under the leadership of a Voodoo priest. The French attempted to continue to regain control of Haiti without success for decades. But because of the fierce pride of the Haitians in being free Black people their attempts were never successful.
Haiti is the poorest of nations, yet the most proud; the most despoiled and the most fiercely beautiful; apparently the most abandoned, yet the most deeply religious. The only slave rebellion in human history to achieve national independence by force of arms, Haiti’s defeat of Napoleon’s army 200 years ago last year caused the French emperor to sell the vast Louisiana territory to the United States, thereby doubling the territory of the United States. The blood of revolutionary slaves (and the yellow fever it carried) made our nation a world power. (McCollester, 2004)
France and the United stated did however win an economic war with Haiti. France demanded the Haitian government pay reparations for the plantations the French were forced to leave during the slave rebellion. That sum was such that it is still being paid to this day. The French/ American trade embargoes effectively blocked Haiti from ever being able to trade effectively the goods they did have as a nation.
The kind of poverty this forced upon the working class of the country effectively shaped the culture of its peoples. The outside government coups to continuously overthrow any peaceable democratically elected leadership often resulted in what the Haitians see as a voodoo zombie army of people who are willing to kill for the government in order to procure their own survival.
Women in Haiti are very much effected by the past history of slave culture in Haiti. There is a marriage practice in Haiti called Placage. This is the practice of Haitian men being able to have as many mates as they wish while the women bear the responsibility of raising the children of such uniting. The men are traditionally responsible for providing for the mother and children financially, however because of the abject poverty of the country as a whole, such provisions are sparse if existent at best generally.
This union has no legal status and everything is left to the willingness of the man to assume family responsibilities. Pressure from the extended family may come into play. Resulting from a rural world and a history marked by slavery, this type of union does not recognize a woman's right to own land or...