AHC: Could a united Hispaniola (Haiti+Dominican Republic) prosper in the 19th century?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Jfoul, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. Jfoul Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2018
    From 1801 to 1809, and again from 1822 to 1844, the Dominican Republic came under Haitian rule.

    The first time, Haiti lost control of the Dominican Republic because of the English taking control of the island. The second time, it was a mix of uprisings and independence movements that led to the Dominican Republic reaching independence.

    Would it be possible for these two nations sharing the same island to not only unite and survive, but also prosper ?

    What would be the wider consequences of having an independent nation, free of all slavery, and doing fairly well for itself, in the middle of the caribbean from the first half of the 19th century onwards?

    Could there be a bilingual approach to government in the same way that Belgium does?
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  2. Spelf Habsburgs and Hot Dogs

    Oct 5, 2013
    Albany, New York
    In my estimation, you will need a different revolution as your PoD. I don’t think a United Hispaniola was tenable under the revolutionary Haitian administration as it developed
  3. vortiger Well-Known Member

    Feb 4, 2018
    it seems insane on paper that Haiti wasn't able to keep control of what is today the Dominican Republic. i think all it would probably take would have been more competent leadership and perhaps some sort relocation of Haitians to parts of the island.
    Zagan likes this.
  4. Lenwe Well-Known Member

    Mar 9, 2015
    Short Answer No.
    Long Answer, The History if Haití Is a long History of "White" European and American Countries screwing over The Country, si The fact The Island Is united under one goverment leadership born from The Haitian revolution, Will mean The country will be a Pariah, The only way an united Island have a better future Is With a Unión born From Dominican Republic Take over The Island
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  5. viciosodiego Member

    Sep 23, 2017
    How about cultural differences?
    As far as I'm aware, Haitians consider us racist Europeans, not like them at all.
    Dan1988 likes this.
  6. JorgeGG Well-Known Member

    Nov 9, 2009
    Santiago de Chile, South America
    Both periods 1801 to 1809, and 1822 to 1844 were the result of military campaign from Haiti so I don't see a peaceful settlement.

    If the unificacion of the Hispaniola was made permanent there would restrictions Santo Domingo criollos and seizure of lands from them. A transfer of these lands to ruling haitian elites would inevitably happen. There would be an imposition of military services, restriction on the use of the Spanish language, and suppression traditional customs.

    With more open lands for agriculture and cattle the country would sustain fairly well by itself. The eastern side (Santo Domingo) was not as populated as the west (Haiti) so I see schemes to settle them with Haitians creating a pressure on whiter farmers to migrate to coastal cities. Crafts, trade and commerce would be occupied by Santo Domingo criollos.

    (Could there be a bilingual approach to government in the same way that Belgium does?) I see it impossible for the restriction on Spanish in the long run people would speak either French, Kreyol or a Spanish based creole
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  7. Koprulu Mustafa Pasha Sadrazam of the Roman Empire

    Oct 24, 2017
    France not demanding reparations from the loss of Haiti is a starter.
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  8. Soverihn Proud Tribalist

    Dec 9, 2012
    Cibao Wilayet, Caliphate of Quisqueya
    No, it was a miracle both periods lasted as long as they did.

    The first period from 1801-1809 was not under Haitian rule- it was under French Rule. Under the treaty of Basel in 1795 Spain ceded Spanish Santo Domingo. The French Republic at the time reorganized it into 2 overseas departments legally and administratively distinct from the colony of Saint Domingue. When Toussaint marched in later he maintained the divisions and courted the Spanish inhabitants (as they had given him and his family shelter earlier on and he did fight in the Spanish army), de facto giving autonomy if not independence in every way sans foreign policy as the constitution of 1801 stipulated.

    This didn't last because when the Le Cleric expedition came the French seized control of Santo Domingo pretty easily and even when expelled from newly independent Haiti they still kept control of the Eastern section until British/Spanish forces expelled them in 1808. French rule was bad and did the usual French Republican marauding (alongside later trying to reinforce slavery up to and including kidnapping children). The Haitians did invade multiple times, sacked a few cities (Moca, Cotui, etc) and depopulated the border areas in a scorched earth campaign. Not a good look for the much whiter and basically slave less north. Don't even think the Maroons liked it.

    In any case the point is, the first unification was a drastically unpopular and unstable French one.

    The Second One from 1822-44 was built atop an unstable foundation that was doomed to implode sooner rather than later, and where circles in Santo Domingo were already talking about fighting the Haitian government as early as 1833. That we know of, could be earlier. Roughly about 1/3 of the population, mostly the few remaining slaves numbering about ~15% of the population supported siding with Haiti in 1821, and mostly clustered along the border (the other third wanted independence or union with Gran Colombia) On the Haitian side earlier as Boyer's coalition turned against him arguably as early as 1825, feeling him caving to the French was utter cowardness and the indemnity unsustainable and unjust.

    Boyer's coalition as it was included balancing the bloated army from the former kingdom of Haiti (who wanted land and serfs) alongside the yeoman farmers of the south. Neither of them liked his attempt to enforce rural working codes that amounted to serfdom, and the Dominicans were especially loath to fall into that (ironically with the burden falling to former slaves in a colony that barely had any plantation agriculture). It was a compromise that pleased no one, and got worse as Haiti's economic condition worsened as the years went by and custom receipts weren't enough.

    Long story short every class of Dominican society ended up isolated from his rule, despite the best intentions. The white rancher and landowning elite didn't like having upstarts and black people ruling over them, nor did they like the threat of land redistribution (ironically Boyer kept on delaying land reform until the mid 1830s, which annoyed ex slaves) and the closure of the university and other cherished institutions. The petit bourgeoisie, especially up in the Cibao were upset because now they were under a de facto embargo from a good chunk of the world. The freedmen and poor people of color/poor whites upgraded from slavery to serfdom and higher taxes. And the clergy was stripped of its lands and privileges. Anyone but the elite didn't like the government switching everything to French (as they couldn't speak the government language; ironically this made the Haitian government dependent on said elite they were trying to subsume and strip their land of).

    This is not a recipe for long lasting control, especially when the population disparity was shrinking.

    They tried relocation colonies, even as far as sending entire families to Azua. The problem with relocation eastward is that it weakened the Haitian state's presence as local towns further from Port-Au-Prince and Le Cap stopped caring about the governments authority and the army often wasn't interested in marching several hundred kilometers east.

    Additionally the more people you move out of Haiti proper means less workers for the plantations. Its always been the goal of the Haitian state to have a strong central government to maximize usage of labor, which is made more difficult as the population spread out.

    Of course the longer you hold it the more likely the US and friends are to intervene. (There were proposals to do so in the 1830s and set up a protectorate, again in 1844 and so on).
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
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  9. Haileselassiethetrapgawd Therestlessyorubawiththebestess

    Jul 5, 2018
    It’s possible if we can keep Haiti from having to pay a crippling debt to France. Dominicans didn’t want to pay a debt they didn’t consider theirs to pay.
  10. Soverihn Proud Tribalist

    Dec 9, 2012
    Cibao Wilayet, Caliphate of Quisqueya
    The issue with just removing the debt is that it doesnt remove the unstable foundation of Boyers government and the cross island links between subversive forces.
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  11. Jfoul Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2018
    Okay so from what I gather from the discussion so far, the main elements that would be needed are :
    1. No/less debt on the Haitian side
    2. A different government on the Haitian side
    3. For the Dominican side to see an actual interest in being part of a unified island

    I'm therefore wondering if it would be possible on the Haitian side to have more willingness to find balance and compromise with the Dominicans rather than attempting to upset everything at once. And on the Dominican side if there could be the possibility of movements seeking a union.

    As for US interventionism, that's defo a factor that's gonna be tricky to deal with, even more so since it seems like Haiti was diplomatically totally isolated by that point.