Countries Spain Colonized

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People posess many different types of power, but why do certain people use their power in a negative way? The history of Haiti is a story of groups who have struggled to maintain their power, despite being taken over by Europeans. In this country Haiti shares a 171 mile border with the Dominican Republic, its neighbor on the eastern end of the Island. 75% of Haiti is made up of mountains and cliffs. The longest rive in Haiti is the Artibonite river. Haiti had rich soils and plantations, they grew sugar canes and were famous for their tobbaco industry. Through out the history of Haiti, both the natives and the europeans used forms of powers such as organizatoin, force and rebellion. Three examples of this are that, the Taino people were well organized and had their own government system. Second, the Europeans used force as power to take over the Tainos land. And finally, The slaves rebelled against the europeans to gain their independence.

Organization Edit

The Taino people were well organized and had their own government system before Christopher Columbus arrived. In the Taino land (now called Haiti) then natives already had a life before the arrival of the Spaniards. They had a family to take care of, a home and property. For example their plantations, crops, food and trading (Hintz 6 and 7). The Taino had a communal society. This means that they believed in cooperation and equality for all the member of the community. For example, all food grown was shared by everyone. They also met in a place for trade fairs where they exchanged foods, beads, gold nuggets, fish hooks, and tools. They also fished and hunted, they built canoes, fishing nets and hammocks from cotton and were skilled pottery makers (Hintz 6). This demonstrates that the Taino people were well organized and this shows that the Taino people had power because they developed their own communities and had their own ideas and ways of taking care of things. The Taino people had their own way of keeping their community in good balance. The Taino people had an organized government, where the Island was divided into five kingdoms and each kingdom had a chief. “The Taino people of Quisqueya had organized governments, the Island was divided into five kingdoms or Cociquedoms. Each kingdom was governed by a chief. The chiefs were called Caciques. The Caciques had great power in all areas of community life, and were highly respected” (Dominican Republic Culture and History 4-6). This government system shows that the natives had a community and a leader to look after his people. Not only were the Tainos good builders, hunters and organizers, but there were some Taino people who made medicines to heal a person who were wounded or ill. This was actually part of their religion. Another part of their religion was to chant and dance. They believed in Gods and Goddesses, who had power over the sea, tides, the spring, the moon and child birth (Dominican Republic Culture and History 6). The Taino people were organized and had many traditions which shows that they had power before they were taken over by Europeans.

Force Edit

The Europeans used force as power to take over the Tainos land. On December 6, 1492, Christopher Columbus arrived to the Hispaniola coast. This is when the lives of the natives changed on the Island. “Things changed when the Spaniards arrived and attempted to control the Island and the people. The Taino resisted these attempts and fought the Spaniards, thousands of Tainos died in these wars, as well as from the cruel abuse of and the disease brought by Spaniards” (Dominican Republic Culture and History 37). This demonstrates that Christopher Columbus imperialized the Tainos land and killed thousands of Taino people because of what the Spaniards caused, which was abuse, and the diseases they brought in (Dominican Republic Culture and History 37). Christopher Columbus used force as power to control the Tainos. The sickness that caused the Taino to die is mainly Influenza. A lot of the natives died out, they were nearly extinct! When the French came to take over the eastern part of the island only few hundred natives were left they had them work constantly and were killed almost every day because the Taino tried to resist. Resist is another form of power used by the natives to get rid of the Spaniards. After Christopher Columbus discovered gold in the eastern part of the Island, he rushed over there to get it. He needed more slaves to work for him which he got from Africa. For example, “Columbus discovered gold which is now Dominican Republic. Other Spanish settlers then rushed to Hispaniola they forced Indians to work, by 1530 only a few hundred Indians were alive, the settlers then brought in slaves from Africa” ( Hintz 43-46). This shows that the Europeans used power to force Indians and African slaves to labor.

Rebellion, Resistance, Freedom Edit

The slaves rebelled against the Europeans to gain their independence. After all that hard labor, torture, and abuse, the slaves finally started a rebellion against the Europeans. This was also dangerous because a lot of people were murdered and attacked when they tried to rebel. But most of the slaves gathered together to rebel. “In 1802, 25,000 French solders were sent to put down the rebellion. The former slaves were soon defeated. The French withdrew Hispaniola in 1802. This left the rebel in total control” (Dominican Republic Culture and History 31). This demonstrated that there was a rebellion which the French solder sent to, to stop. Rebellion was another form of power demonstrated by the slaves to gain their freedom from Europeans. After the French left the country the rebel had the power to continue going on with the rebellion. The person who led the major slave rebellion was Toussain L’ouverture he’s very important because he was a leader of the rebellion and he trained excellent solders. He also went into war with the French and abolished slavery. “Toussaint was able to defeat France, Spain, and England and take control of the old French colony. In 1801, he abolished the system of slavery and begin to build roads, bridges, schools and buildings” (Dominican Republic Culture and History 27). This demonstrates the power of rebellion Toussaint used to gain independence. After Toussaint death Jean- Jacques Dessalines took Toussaint place, he continued with the war against the French and later defeated them. “Dessalines finally defeated the French and on January 1 1804 republic of Haiti was born this was the first country in Latin America to become independent from colonial rule” (Dominican Republic Culture and History 26 and 25). This demonstrates that the slaves or shall I say now Haitians showed resistance and freedom as their form of power.

In Haiti, power was used by the Taino people, African slaves, Europeans, and rebel leaders. Each of these groups used different froms of power, Organization, Force, Rebellion and freedom. Something that surprised me is that I just recently read on the newspaper about this man in Haiti who was part of a rebellion, and was shot by an officer. The officer cornered him in the street and shot him. This all took place in Port-au-Prince the capital city of Haiti. This also reminds me of a movie I just recently watched, Hotel Rwanda. It’s a disaster, people are fighting, there is mass murder, and the African people are trying to get out of Rwanda. It’s a dangerous place to live. Some thing I learned from all of this is how power can be used and the effect it has on people. I also learned that the changes that happen around the world and this struggle for power can help to make history.

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