Haiti - A Historical Timeline
Important dates in Haiti's history
1492 - Dec. 5, Columbus lands on a large island he names Isla Española (Spanish Island), later changed to Hispaniola. It is inhabited by Taino and Arawak Indians.
1503 - First Africans brought to Hispaniola for labor after pleas from a Spanish priest who wants to save the Indians from extinction.
1592 - Spanish governor executes Queen Anacaona, the last Taino chief.
1659 - First official settlement on Tortuga (off the coast of Haiti) by French buccaneers who hunt wild cattle and by pirates who attack ships sailing from South America to Europe.
1664 - French West India Company takes control of Western third of the island and names it Saint-Domingue.
1670 - First French settlement on the main island, named Cap Francois, later Cap-Français and now Cap-Haitien, the second largest city in Haiti. Settlers grow cacao, coffee, tobacco and indigo and begin importing slaves as labor.
1685 - Louis XIV enacts the Code Noir, which regulates the treatment of slaves and sets obligations for owners. Corporal punishment is allowed, sanctioning brutal treatment.
1697 - Spain formally cedes the Western third of the island to France via the Treaty of Ryswick.
1749 - Port-au-Prince is founded.
1758 - Rebel leader Mackandal, born in Guinea, is captured and burned alive in Cap-Francois after seven years of leading an insurrection.
1777 - French officers lead a regiment of 750 free blacks from Saint-Domingue to help the fledgling U.S. fight British troops at Savannah, Georgia. The unit includes several future leaders of Haiti.
1780 - Saint-Domingue is France's richest colony, producing 40 percent of all sugar and 60 percent of all coffee consumed in Europe.
1789 - When the French Revolution starts, the colony has 500,000 slaves, 32,000 whites and 25,000 people of color (mixed-race), many of whom have inherited wealth and slaves from their white fathers.
1791 - August 22 - Slave revolt begins. Tradition says it starts with a voodoo ceremony led by Dutty Boukman. He is captured and executed but revolt spreads and plantations are torched.
1794 - February 4 - French Assembly abolishes slavery in all its colonies, ratifying what is already reality in Saint-Domingue.
1801 - Toussaint L'Ouverture defeats British and Spanish troops that invaded Santo Domingo and controls the entire island.
1802 - Napoleon sends 40,000 troops under his brother-in-law, Gen. Charles Leclerc, to re-establish slavery in the colonies. Leclerc deceives and captures Toussaint and ships him to France, where he dies in prison.
1804 - Jan. 1 - After defeating the French forces, Jean-Jacques Dessalines declares Haiti an independent nation, taking an Arawak name meaning country of mountains.
1806 - Dessalines is assassinated and Haiti splits into two states, a northern state led by an emperor, Henri Christophe, and a southern republic led by president Alexandre Pétion.
1820 - After the deaths of Pétion and Christophe, Jean-Pierre Boyer unifies Haiti into one nation and takes control of Santo Domingo as well.
1825 - France's King Charles X recognizes Haiti's independence but demands 150 million francs in indemnity, backing his conditions with a fleet of warships.
1844 - Dominican Republic declares its independence from Haiti.
1863 - U.S. President Abraham Lincoln recognizes Haiti and allows trade for the first time.
1904 - Haiti celebrates 100 years of independence.
1915 - U.S. forces occupy Haiti; they will stay until 1934.
1930 - First full democratic elections in Haiti; Stenio Vincent elected.
1937 - Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo orders the expulsion of Haitians working in his country. Between 17,000 and 35,000 are killed.
1957 - Francois Duvalier, a doctor, is elected president. "Papa Doc" establishes one of the most brutal dictatorships in Haitian history. His rule is enforced by a militia commonly-known as Tonton Macoutes.
1971- Duvalier dies; his son takes power and is proclaimed President-for-Life, like is father.
1974 - The Haitian national soccer team participates in the World Cup.
1986 - Unrest leads the military to oust "Baby Doc" and his kleptocratic clan.
1990 - Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a former Catholic priest is elected with 67% of the vote.
1991 - Aristide is ousted in a coup that many Haitians believe was financed by the business elite.
1994 - Backed by a UN resolution, the Clinton Administration restores Aristide to power.
1996 - René Préval elected President; he is seen as a stand-in for Aristide.
2000- Aristide elected President again after much-disputed parliamentary elections.
2004 - Aristide leaves under pressure of an armed rebellion; he claims the U.S. kidnapped him and shipped him out.
2006 - Préval elected again. A UN peacekeeping force in Haiti since 2003 grows to 9,000 troops.
2008 - Unrest erupts as Haitians riot against high food prices.
2010 - January 12 - An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 devastates Port-au-Prince and damages much of Haiti.