Traveling to a beautiful island with warm waters and white sands could easily be part of anyone’s dreams. Beautiful beaches in Hawaii, Fiji, and The Bahamas…just to name a few. There is an island a lot closer to us in The States. This island is home to two countries. One of which is a popular destination. At a glance it would appear that it is divided by languages, French and Spanish. Have you guessed the countries?
The Dominican Republic and Haiti share the island of Hispaniola, as it once was called when they were merged as one. The entire island was under Spanish rule until 1697. Spain handed over the western third of the island to France. The French colony became extremely wealthy as thousands of African slaves were brought to the island to work on the production of sugar, coffee, coco, and cotton. In 1791, the French colony made history. The enslaved African people rebelled against the slave masters and took control of that part of the island. Haiti was the first black former enslaved republic to declare independence.
“Haiti was the first black former enslaved republic to declare independence.”
Many think about relaxing vacations in the Dominican Republic, staying in beach cities such as Punta Cana. The tourist industry has been booming in this part of the island. While in Haiti, the country is severely struggling financially. A lot of this has to do with their colonial past. The French exploited the lands and destroyed the soil in Haiti, harvesting the same crops every year. After their independence Haiti continued to experience pitfalls which affected the country’s future and present, deforestation that destroyed their lands, a massive debt to France to pay for their independence, and a war with their neighbor, the Dominican Republic. The country also suffered natural disasters and terrible political leaders. All of this led Haiti to be the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
The Dominican Republic gained independence from Spain a lot later than Haiti did from France. The country has fertile lands and Spain focused on developing it’s colony. Spain established a similar political system and economy. At one point these two countries shared a history and then diverged. Lines and maps were drawn and two different colonial powers ruled and so their futures changed.
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