From Cape Tiburon to Cape Samaná - A United Hispaniola Timeline

Looks very promising so far! It's really interesting to see how the lack of a massacre is already bringing positive consequences to Haiti - I am most curious to see how this will affect the debate on slavery in the US. I also wonder how the migration of African Americans that happened under Jean-Pierre Boyer will be handled ITTL, assuming it still happens.

Lastly, here's hoping the British stick to their promise of aiding Haiti against any French shenanigans. Should the worst come to pass, I'll almost feel bad for whoever is assigned with taking the Citadelle Laferrière from the Haitians.
4. Henry I, Part 2 (1821-1830)
From Cape Tiburon to Cape Samaná - A United Hispaniola Timeline

Chapter 4: The Reign of Henry I, 1821 - 1830

“French Haitians and the Spanish Haitians don't just share an island, Hispaniola, but a history, one that includes all the signal events that went into creating the modern world: Columbus, conquest, genocide, slavery, imperial war, revolution, and U.S. counterinsurgencies and military occupations.”

-Greg Grandin, The Rise, Fall, and Rise of Haiti (2015)


Henry’s last decade would revolve primarily around the unification of Hispaniola, with the sudden independence of Spanish Haiti in 1821. Despite most not knowing it at the time, this choice to unify Haiti would have rippling consequences for the nation, racial relations, and the development of the economy and its people.

España Boba (1809-1821)

With Spain in a state of crisis following the Peninsular War in Spain, the Spanish people were able to reconquer the Captaincy General of Santo Domingo, which had been ceded to France in 1795.

Even though they managed to retake Santo Domingo, life in the colony was horrific for those living in it. The economy dependent largely upon the Spanish state, collapsed most farmers were reduced to subsistence farming, and starvation ran rampant. Spain for its part was proven completely unable to help due to the Peninsular War, and the general instability within the mainland. During these lean years, money dried up on the island, and its few businessmen fled or were thrown into complete financial ruin.

Finally in 1814, when Spain was able to recover politically, and economically the people of Santo Domingo hoped their fortunes may yet turn around. Yet, they were sadly mistaken, as no sooner when Spanish King Ferdinand VII sat back upon the throne, did Spanish authorities completely neglect the colony. All of Spanish developmental aid went directly to Cuba, which was considered the more important of the two colonies.

As Cuba quickly became a new booming sugar economy, those white planters, and wealthy upper-class members of Santo Domingo jumped ship, abandoning the decaying colony, for the riches of the Cuban farmland. As Spain showed little interest in maintaining the colony, only sending over money to pay royal employees, the colony descended into chaos known as “the rule of the machete.” During this time great rancher families would act as warlords over their areas, maintaining peace, and crushing banditry which had become common.

Finally, unable to watch the degradation of the colony go on any longer, Spanish colonial administrator, Núñez de Cáceres, would lead a coup capturing Governor Pascual Real and expelling anyone else loyal to the crown. On November 30, 1821, The Republic of Spanish Haiti was declared.

A Brief Independence - Unification With Whom? 1821

Santo Domingo was of course never meant to remain independent. Núñez de Cáceres knew the weakness, and poverty ravaging his country, and the unlikelihood it would survive alone. Faced with an incredibly bleak future, de Cáceres looked to unify his newly independent nation with Simon Bolivar’s Republic of Gran Colombia. Sending overtures to Simon Bolivar, de Cáceres was met with a shocking silence from Bolivar. Gran Colombia was already in a state of crisis divided between centralists, and federalists who were tearing the republic apart. Unable to secure a promise of aid, de Cáceres was confronted with a plot and a different proposal.

Within the new Republic of Spanish Haiti many politicians, mixed-race elites, and military officers began pushing forward the idea of unification with French Haiti. Despite the elites turning their nose and scoffing at the idea of bending the knee to an Afro-Haitian king, they did; however, look towards the stability his reign brought. Even more enticing was the recent concessions Henry had made giving mixed-elites noble titles, and a higher degree of prominence in the ruling structure. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Henry was old, ill, and by all accounts dying. If the mixed-race elites were to unify their two nations they may be able to circumvent, and eventually abolish the farce of a monarchy.

Even economically, businessmen, planters, and elites were impressed with Henry’s acumen. Already in Spanish Haiti, most land rights were based upon communal ownership, making the implementation of the forced labor system seen on the French half of the island largely unnecessary. The French Haitian's ability to trade with the European powers and smaller European nations also made unification lucrative for a nation that had languished under Spanish neglect.

The average Spanish Haitian viewed the West with either contempt or awe. Some more naive members of society looked at the idea of an African king with storybook wonder, while those with more common sense, and pragmatism quickly heard the stories of forced labor and nobility.

With the highest-ranking military officers, politicians, and an increasing number of middle-class landowners, planters, and businessmen pushing the cause of unification, Núñez de Cáceres would relent, issuing an official letter requesting the annexation of Spanish Haiti into the Kingdom of Haiti. Upon the news of the request, Henry would in a rare return to vigor, and youthfulness travel to the city of Santo Domingo with his son Henry II, and a retinue of soldiers, and politicians. Arriving on February 9, 1822, where he was met with a parade, and received by Núñez de Cáceres, who offered him the keys to the city, and by extension the whole nation. Henry would reject the keys to the city saying: "I have not come into this city as a conqueror, but by the will of its inhabitants united from Cape Tiburon to Cape Samaná in possession of one government."

King of Hispaniola - Coexistence or Assimilation? 1821-1824

Now truly a king of all of Hispaniola, Henry was at the apex of his, and the monarchy’s power in general. There was still the question of how the new Spanish Haiti would be integrated into the Kingdom. Two camps arose, those arguing for coexistence with the new Spanish Haiti, and those who argued for its assimilation into the Kingdom.

Arguments for assimilation were led by Charles Rivière-Hérard. Charles and his supporters believed the best way to integrate the new Republic of Spanish Haiti was to make the country French. Advocating the banning of the Spanish language, restrictions on Spanish cultural practices, and most bizarrely the banning of cockfighting.

In stark contrast to the assimilationists were those who advocated for coexistence. Victor Henry the heir to the throne, and Pablo Alí a chief military commander of the Santo Domingo Battalion 31 (Dark-skinned Battalion). These men argued that by suppressing the Spanish language, elites, and culture the Spaniards would merely lead a massive insurgency against the Haitians, in a war that the nation could sparsely afford or contain.

In his younger days, Henry may have sided with those in the assimilation faction. Their blunt, brutal method of ruling would have appealed to his desires to be a conqueror and expand Haitian greatness. Wisened by age, and at the increasing dominance of his heir, and parliament over government affairs, Henry would side with the coexistence faction. Spanish would be declared of dual-importance to the French language, Spanish cultural practices would be protected, and even spread to Western Haitian cities like Port-au-Prince, and Cap-Henry which quickly saw an influx of Spanish elites. Most importantly as a sweetener for many of the wealthy Spanish ranchers, the government would formalize their ownership of their lands, and sign protections to prevent expropriation by the government.

The integration would not be easy everywhere though, while most Spanish Haitians had communal agriculture, the introduction of sugar processing, and other high-demand, and high-risk crops greatly endangered Spanish Haitian lives causing great protestations. This would lead to a small but surprisingly resilient independence group known as “La Trinitaria” founded by Juan Pablo Duarte y Díez, an activist, utopian socialist, and so-called Dominican nationalist. For most elites; however, they remained content with the new situation, Haitian goods, and trade flowed west, access to the vast Haitian monetary reserves brought steady improvements, and the Haitian conscripts brought civility, and safety back to the lawlessness of the rule of the Machete. By 1824, the Spanish-French Haitian merger had been completed, and a new stable Kingdom of Haiti rose as the only power on the island.

Spanish Haitians were granted seats in the Haitian Parliament, and new noble titles were established and granted. Count of Santo Domingo was granted to Núñez de Cáceres, and Pablo Ali was named a Chevalier (knight). While many elites rolled their eyes, and scoffed at the notion of royal titles, most quietly accepted them, as slowly they began to jockey for power in the new combined Haitian state.

The French Debt Crisis - Haiti Back Under the French Boot - 1825

While Haiti had seemingly escaped French reprisals for their freedom, it seemed that sadly the nation could not outrun the French ire forever. France would begin by simply boxing in Haitian trade, trying to restrict, and prevent Haitian trade in the Atlantic, shortly after their independence. These initial measures largely failed due to British dominance in the Atlantic, and the unwillingness of the post-war French government under King Louis XVIII proved unwilling to entangle itself with the British over a colony.

The second attempt to strengthen Haiti was far more successful. Under newly crowned King Charles X, In 1825, two Man-of-Wars sailed into Cap-Henry. There they demanded the Haitian government pay an indemnity of 150 million Francs to the French government for losses incurred during the Haitian Revolution. The Haitian Parliament erupted into chaos as once again two sides developed. Charles Rivière-Hérard once again adopted a more hostile, and nationalistic stance, calling for the immediate mobilization of the Haitian Army, and preparations for a French invasion. Seigneur Pablo Ali once again argued for calm. Joined by many fellow Spanish Haitians like de Cáceres, they argued that instead of taking the newly stitched-together Kingdom of Haiti into a war that would decimate the destitute Spanish Haitian economy, they should pursue negotiation, and appeal to the United Kingdom for aid.

Henry, by this point bedridden once again, transferred the entire handling of the affair to his young son, the ambitious 21-year-old, Jacques-Victor Henry. Walking the tightrope between the nationalistic French Haitians, and conciliatory Spanish Haitians, Victor Henry would aim for a middle ground. Mobilizing the Haitian Army across the island Victor Henry would reach out to the British through an unofficial envoy, Thomas Ussher. Having been sent to oversee and facilitate Haitian trade, Ussher had been somewhat of an ambassador pending official British recognition. Ussher would reach out to London to approve him acting as a mediator which was granted shortly after. French admiral Guy-Victor Duperré would agree to hear Haitian offers.

Initially, Haiti would offer a promise of free trade, and open ports to the French merchants, who had been all but locked from Haitian ports causing a massive surge in sugar, and coffee prices. While the offer was tempting, Duperré would demand more from the Haitians who he knew were on the back foot. The second offer Haiti would present would be a promise of non-aggression to France, open ports, and negotiated repayment. Eventually after some back and forth between Duperré and Victor Henry, the amount was set at 90 million to be repaid over 50 years (the latter amount would be 70 million paid over 70 years). In exchange for this repayment, France would agree to recognize Haitian independence from France, and its rule over the entirety of Hispaniola. The United Kingdom as well, with a long connection with Henry, and being relatively impressed with the diplomacy displayed during the crisis would soon after recognize Haiti’s independence in 1829.

This agreement was viewed rather unpopularly by the Haitian people. Mobilized, and filled with proto-nationalistic zeal, the Haitian people saw Victor Henry as a weak Prince, and future King who had sold out the nation to French creditors. Attempts to salvage Victor Henry’s image would largely fail, and the beginning of the tragedy of King Henry II is said to have begun at this point.

The Death of Henry I - 1830

With the crisis over, Haiti would fall into relative quiet for the next 5 years. Nationalist propaganda in Santo Domingo would be suppressed by the government which would largely integrate large ranching families, and local administrators into the wider peerage (nobility) system.

Relations with the United States remained tense. The U.S.A. still utterly detested the idea of a freed slave republic, and many Southern planters remained deeply enraged about the defeat of a bill that would block Haitian imports. While some in the United States would move to Haiti, most interestingly some mixed-race Creole planters from Louisiana, Henry and the Haitian parliament actively rejected any attempts to settle African Americans on the island. Many elites worried about the ramifications of bringing an alien, republican borne class of citizens to their kingdom, especially so soon after the annexation of the massive Republic of Spanish Haiti.

Henry’s health continued its inexorable decline. Confined to his bed for most of the last years of his rule, he did not see the Kingdom grow, or enjoy its apex in strength. Finally, on October 8, 1830, Henri I, King of Haiti and all of Hispaniola died of most likely a pulmonary embolism.

Across Haiti, flags were lowered, as a funeral procession brought Henry’s body through the streets.

Most citizens felt conflicted over the news of Henry’s death. Many French Haitian elites, mourned the loss of their king, both Mixed-Haitian and Afro-Haitians alike. Henry had led them to freedom, granted them lands, and built a new prosperous kingdom, in which all (wealthy) free people could profit regardless of race. The average Haitian felt bittersweet. While the father of the nation, independence had not been as liberating as most Haitians hoped. Many still worked in the same fields they had been enslaved in. While granted wages, and encouraged to garden their small plots, they nonetheless were compelled to terms of service in the dangerous task of sugar harvesting. The taste of independence and freedom had turned sour in many Haitians ’ mouths.

Now Henry’s son, Jacques-Victor Henry Christophe was crowned, Henry II. Widely disliked by French Haitians as the traitor who signed the Haitian Debt Repayments, and disrespected by Spanish Haitians, Henry II would face an uphill battle for the entirety of his rule.

Legacy of Henry I

Unlike Jean-Jacque Dessalines or Toussaint Louverture, Henry Christophe is far more explored and understood in Haitian society, both his flaws and strengths are often discussed in societal circles. Most polling among Haitians rank him as among the most popular leaders in Haitian history. When asked why, most Haitians repeated the adage of a strong man doing what needed to be done to safeguard the revolution. Also leading to this more modern rise in popularity has been nationalist propaganda of Henry as a racial egalitarian who pushed for an equal society, and smashed racism, imperialism, and colonialism in Haiti.

Away from this propaganda, historians generally have a mixed view of Henry as a masterful opportunist. Switching sides multiple times during the Haitian Revolution, Henry had found himself the last founding father standing when the dust settled. Effortlessly giving into the calls for a strong leader, he crowned himself a king and pandered to Afro-Haitians, and when the poor grew increasingly angry at forced labor, and turned towards the mixed-race elites, Henry collaborated with them too.

Henry’s reign set up most of the problems that would plague Haiti throughout its history, forced labor, and land tenancy that favored large landed elites while actively weakening communal, or self-owned plots. Racial pandering in politics, and concessions to mixed-race elites who had no loyalty to the state, and saw Afro-Haitians as fundamentally lesser. Even diplomatically, though the blame was saddled upon his son, it was under Henry that France extracted the beginning of a massive debt repayment.

To his credit, despite the future problems Henry set up, he also ensured Haiti would survive. Demands for land redistribution were rejected, and most historical economists believe they would've likely destroyed the nation's economy. A smart fiscal policy meant that even with French debts, Henry left a budget surplus of more than 3 million francs upon his death. Starting his rule as an unrecognized ruler of what was considered a rebel province, Henry had secured recognition from the United Kingdom and France. Relative social tolerance on his part also allowed for the integration of Spanish Haiti without massive repressions of Spanish culture or the people.

A complicated and conflicted man, Henri Christophe, now passed into history. The Tragedy of Henry II now began.
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Enjoying this so far - Haiti has alway been one of those nations who's history and culture fascinated me, though I don't know as much about it as I'd like. I'm rathering hoping that the Kingdom perseveres here; especially as we on this board do always show a marked favor for Republics. But, in either case, simple governmental continuity is going to help a lot as Haiti navigates its way through the 19th century.
Ah crud, so the indemnity still happens anyway. And it's kind of sad the bind the Haitian economy was in: either the state keeps its system of forced labor and cash crops, with predictable consequences, or it has no money to sustain itself.
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Ah crud, so the indemnity still is still anyway. And it's kind of sad the bind the Haitian economy was in: either the state keeps its system of forced labor and cash crops, with predictable consequences, or have no money to sustain itself.
Reducing the indemnity due to an all-around more stable and strong Haiti, especially economically means likely in the future even further reductions. Especially as Henry ran a budget surplus while ruling only half of Haiti during a civil war inotl.

Yes, the forced labour unfortunately had to stay as I saw no realistic way Haiti could maintain its economic structure in the immediate days of the post-war. An unfortunate and unpopular set of circumstances but in the worst of circumstances sometimes people must do what they must.
Honestly it's very rare seeing a Haiti TL, especially one where they're doing well, loving both what you're doing and how you're doing it, here's to a prosperous Haiti in the future and I'll definitely be watching this TL!
5. Tragedy of King Henry II (1830 - 1842)
From Cape Tiburon to Cape Samaná - A United Hispaniola Timeline

Chapter 5: The Tragedy of King Henry II (1830-1842)

“Many have said Jacque-Victor Henry was doomed from the start. Ruling over what was already a decaying neo-feudal structure in an age that was quickly leaving it behind. Hated by his so-called nobles, and hated by the common people, perhaps it should be unsurprising that the Earth itself opened up and swallowed him and his dynasty alive.”
-Philippe Celestin, the Tragedy of King Henry II (1990)


When Henry II was raised to the throne, surrounded by nobles, and family, it is said he nearly fainted. While he had always expected to be forced to take the throne one day, he did not feel ready. Compounding this feeling of inadequacy and dread, his nobles hated him, and his illegitimate brother Thomas de Belliard coveted his power. Jacque-Victor Henry had no allies, and no family except his two power-hungry, and scheming sisters princesses Françoise-Améthyste, and Anne-Athénaïre, and his mother former Queen Marie-Louise Coidavid who had become dejected, and broken with the death of her husband. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, especially when it shoulders the weight of the crown alone.

Plots in the Darkness

The death of Henry I sent immediate shockwaves through the Kingdom of Haiti. As Henry II mourned, his half-brother, the illegitimate Thomas de Belliard attempted to maneuver his way into power. Belliard was entirely the opposite of Henry II, while not a legitimate heir to the throne, Belliard was far more popular than his half-brother. Mixed race, a military general, and known for his authoritative attitude Belliard was a far better choice to lead. Even with these obvious qualifiers to rule, Belliard would never get his chance. Reaching out to mixed-race elite families, the wannabe usurper was rebuffed by the men he reached out to. Contrary to Belliard’s belief, and perhaps arrogance, the mixed-race elites did not want him as their king. From Spanish Haiti to Port-au-Prince, the elites of Haiti now dreamed of republicanism for the nation. Even if they still wanted to preserve the Kingdom, they certainly did not want a strong, ambitious, and bold leader like Thomas de Belliard. He had overplayed his hand, if the nobles had to be stuck with a king, better a weak, and pliable one like Jacque-Victor Henry, than one they could not control.

Even within the halls of the Palace of Sans-Souci, Belliard found little success. Attempting to negotiate, and according to some accounts marry his half-sisters, Belliard’s plot would fall apart, when much to his chagrin his sisters would conspire amongst each other, revealing his proposals to each sister. Humiliated, Belliard’s antics would enrage the former Queen, Marie-Louise who in a rare moment of being roused from her deep depression, had Belliard arrested. While Henry II, would be encouraged by his sisters, and mother to execute Belliard, Henry would hesitate. Killing him, or even leaving him in prison may lead to a rebellion by the army who were extremely pro-Belliard, and anti-Henry.

After discussions with some of his more sycophantic advisors, Henry would choose to release Belliard; however, he would be reassigned, sent to Monte Tina, allegedly to root out supposed resistance from La Trinitaria, but mostly to ensure he could not wrest control of anything beyond low morale, and under-equipped Spanish Haitian soldiers.

Even though Henry II had taken a wiser, and more careful approach to dealing with his erstwhile close kin he would be mocked relentlessly. One common insult would be pointing to his sisters who were very open about their demands to take Belliard’s head, claiming that Christophe's ferocity only lived on in the women of the royal family.

The End and Enduring Legacy of La Trinitaria

Another of the often ignored, and even occasionally attacked aspects of Henry’s rule would be the defeat, and destruction of La Trinitaria. Founded by Juan Pablo Duarte the romanticist nationalist, and utopian socialist. The group initially spread among European-trained intellectuals, like Duarte.

In Spanish Haiti, the group struggled to find any traction towards their idea of Dominican Independence. Instead, waves of Haitian Republicanism were dominating the intellectual circles. This vying for power, and most importantly recruits hamstrung the group's efforts to mobilize. The Haitian government's relaxed nature towards Spanish cultural practices, and even raising Spanish to dual importance also took much of the nationalistic sentiments from many elites. Most average Spanish Haitians also were uninterested in nationalistic fervor as they had seen some improvements in their lives since unification. Most anger felt was towards the sugar planting system, and conscripted labor rather than actual anger at the Haitian government for oppression.

A massive blow to the efforts of La Trinitaria would come in 1833 when the second most important member of the group, Francisco del Rosario Sánchez met with Henry II and managed to extract concessions from the Haitian King. Promising further efforts to constitutionalize, and enshrine Spanish, as well as numerous other concessions including religious protections for the Catholic Church which Haiti was in schism with. In return, Sánchez would give away his co-conspirators and their holdout locations which the Haitian military would crack down upon.

Faced with an increasingly violent, and hardline government, and with dwindling numbers, Duarte would attempt to secure alliances within the Haitian Parliament, approaching liberals like Jonathas Granville. While Granville sympathized with La Trinitaria and the pressure they were feeling for the government, he opposed Spanish Haitian independence, and much of his block was made up of Spanish Mixed-Race politicians. As talks of an alliance broke down, Duarte gambled towards breaking up the close ties between Spanish Mixed-Race Haitians and French Mixed-Race Haitians politically through assassination. On October 14, 1839, a La Trinitarian assassin tried to shoot Granville in the street. By this point, long expecting an assassination and being a former soldier who fought with Napoleon, drew his gun first and shot the assassin.

The retribution against La Trinitaria was swift. Duarte, who had gone into hiding years ago, was killed near, curiously enough, Monte Tina. A proper Haitian Army had been sent to the area to relieve Thomas de Belliard's understaffed army. With a proper unit in the area, they were able to more effectively comb the area, and Duarte instead of surrendering chose to die fighting during a raid on their encampments by the Haitians. In 1840 after decades of resistance, La Trinitaria effectively ceased to exist.

Once again despite having neutralized another enemy, this did little to help Henry’s popularity. Granville railed against Henry’s previous inaction that had led to the failed assassination attempt on Granville. He argued that if the government had taken the threat seriously from the beginning and sent actual units to Mount Tina, then La Trinitaria could have been quashed in the 1830s.

Even time it seems did nothing to help the legacy of Henry II, in fact, later in Haitian history, there would be much romanticism of La Trinitaria, despite their attempts to bring down the Kingdom, and separate Spanish Haiti from the French half of the island. Much of this romanticization came from self-proclaimed Mixed-Race Haitians and “Whitening” movements in the 1930’s-50’s. The irony is, that these whitening nationalists of that era would have scarcely found anything in common with La Trinitaria. Even with claims to the contrary, modern historians have found little to support accusations of racism or “whitening” desires in La Trinitaria. Duarte regularly integrated Afro-Spanish Haitians into his group, nor did he hate the monarchy because of a radical racial hatred, instead he was a cultural nationalist, who believed the island was too culturally different to form a cohesive nation.

Jonathan Granville, Republicanism, and the 1841 Compromise

Before the death of Henri Christophe, the monarchy had effectively kept a cap on the forces of republicanism. Even the integration of Spanish Haiti that had brought numerous new ideas, especially the forces of “a colorist democracy”, and liberalism had been largely suppressed by the personal ties Henry had made.

These ties would immediately break down with the ascension of his son to the throne. The forces of the Haitian Parliament would coalesce to begin agitating for the first steps towards a constitutional monarchy, and even a full-scale republic.

As was always the case, Haitian politics was divided between the colorist upper house senate and the liberal lower Chamber of Deputies. Each had their own goals and regularly got in each other’s way when attempting to weaken the power of the monarchy.

On the Senate sat the so-called “colorists” believed inherently the only path to build the state racially equal was through the assignment of seats in Parliament based upon race. Only by creating an entrenched system where every black (mainly western Afro-Haitian) seat in Parliament, there would be one Mixed-Race and one white seat. Jonathas Granville was among the biggest proponents of the system, and the all-around leader of the Senate of Haiti. He received generous backing and support from the Haitian Mixed-Race elites, especially Spanish Haitians. Pointing to flaws within the system, many would call this pseudo-racialism mean forced equality, citing that largely Black Haitian districts would also be forced to find both White and Mixed-Race Haitians to run alongside them, in a form of racial party block voting. Granville would eventually be negotiated down from this heady idealism to a more conservative, equal number of seats per racial group. Granville also pushed for the emigration of African Americans from the United States of America to the Kingdom. He believed these new African Americans would be more open towards Republicanism, and stoke the idea of rebellion among the average Afro-Haitian who were mostly ambivalent towards the monarchy, but not actively in favor of Republicanism.

Meanwhile in the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, a far more liberal and egalitarian ideal had taken root. This group, called the Liberals, would largely be opposed to the machinations of the upper house. Liberals under the leadership of General Jean-Jacques Acaau believed racialism and institutionalization of racialism would only set up to leave Haiti eternally divided, (if a Kingdom or as a Republic), between the different races, constantly vying for power, and control over each other. Acaau himself was extremely sympathetic to the cause of La Trinitaria believing their beliefs in the inability of cultural integration or coexistence between the different people of Haiti were only being reinforced, and proven correct by the monarchy, and the Senate. Unlike the Senate which generally bided their time, the Chamber of Deputies was far more openly Republican.

Amid these vying factions Henry would largely fail to clamp down on either. Instead, as always, his nature for pragmatism, and negotiation would push him to negotiate with Granville and Acaau, even as both largely wanted to see his fall from power.

The first concession that Henry would make, would be ceding legislative authority to the Parliament. While maintaining some veto, and emergency powers including the ability to dissolve parliament, the Parliament could now create, and pass laws, and even override Henry’s veto with a 2/3rds majority. In return for this quite frankly massive concession from the dejected, and defeated Henry, he would simply demand one thing, the removal of the monarchy question. By accepting this compromise, Parliament would not be allowed to now, or in the future bring off the monarchy's legitimacy, or ability to be the executive of the nation.

A relatively stunning demand from Henry II, whom both Granville and Acaau did not generally think of as a political operator. Many theories have been put forward as to who set up Henry to make this demand. Some claim it was his mother Marie-Louise; however, most historians outright reject this theory. Even by the uncharacteristic fury she had shown against Thomas de Belliard, she was still largely melancholy and withdrawn from the affairs of the state. Others pointed towards his sisters, Françoise-Améthyste, and Anne-Athénaïre; these claims are also just as unlikely. Both showed their characteristic rage after the announcement of the deal was made, and both would never have relinquished their family's power over the monarchy. Finally, many claimed it was Henry’s wife Socorro Sánchez del Rosario, who is notable for being the sister of Francisco del Rosario Sánchez the revolutionary leader who had flipped on his allies in La Trinitaria. An outspoken feminist, and journalist it’s likely she would have nudged her husband's hands toward a more liberal and modern government.

Either way, Granville would reluctantly accept the deal, while Acaau would obstinately refuse, leading to screaming matches between himself, and Granville. Even with liberals digging their heels in, the Senate, and many in the Chamber of Deputies would agree to this new deal, and for a moment, it seemed in 1841, as if Haiti may have found internal peace in the Kingdom. Even Henry was happy having recently welcomed his son and heir, Jean-Christophe Henry III into the world.

The 1842 Cap-Henry Earthquake “Kingsbane”

The 1842 Earthquake also known as “Kingsbane” or the Great Earthquake was an 8.1 magnitude earthquake that rocked Cap-Henry on May 7. Shortly after the Earthquake the northern half of the island was then struck by a powerful tsunami.

Among the shattered remnants of Cap-Henry the parliament building was destroyed, killing several MP’s who happened to be in the Parliament building at 5 PM when the earthquake struck. The reason the Earthquake is known; however, is not because of the destruction of the Parliament building. Instead, we look at the ruins of the San-Souci Palace.

The royal residence was located only a few miles from the epicenter of the quake. The powerful shockwaves from the earthquake shattered the palace’s walls and brought down the ceiling upon the royal family, and all those inside. In the chaos and confusion that followed in the hours after the earthquake, guards, and even citizens from the nearby town of Milot came to the city to see what had become of the palace.

In the ruins of the palace, crushed under a large piece of rubble lay Jacques-Victor Henry II, holding his son, and wife in his arms, he was 38 years old. Other casualties included his sisters and several royal guards who had been trying to usher them to safety.

His mother, Marie-Louise survived the quake, upon hearing the loss of her entire family, it is said she flew into a complete mental collapse, tearing her hair and screaming “Why has God chosen to forsake my family? What great evil have I committed that I am to be left here, and they all taken from me?”

In total, it’s estimated that 5-6,000 Haitians died in what was the most powerful earthquake to ever hit the island. With the entire royal family crushed beneath the rubble, and only the unstable and broken Marie-Louise left alive, the government called an emergency “Royal Council” still keeping the facade of a royal government. It is said when Thomas de Belliard heard of the death of his entire family he wept. While yes he coveted the power of the throne, he had never wanted Henry to die.

Now, de Belliard, Granville, Acaau, and thousands of representatives would gather south in the city of Port-au-Prince which had been left unscathed by the recent earthquake. This Royal Council, later called the Haitian Constitutional Convention, would deliver a final coup de grace to the Haitian Kingdom, and both Henry’s legacy.

An Enduring Legacy of Failure

Unlike his father who is still remembered fondly in Haitian history, Henry II is scorned by everyone across the Haitian political spectrum and society. Among liberals, he is hated for stifling the implementation of a liberal democracy in Haiti. For Republicans, he was scorned for upholding the monarchy status even if it was only for a single year. Monarchists hated him for giving up power to the parliament, and even the religious thought Henry was cursed.

Even San-Souci Palace would never be rebuilt. Today it is a tomb to the Christophe Dynasty, and the Kingdom of Haiti as a whole. Locals claim the Palace ruins are haunted, and you can hear the weeping of Henry, and his family as they relive their last moments in perpetuity. In the 1970s Henry II and his family were reburied in a familial tomb created by the new government.

In the short term, Henry largely would fail, his final deal ratified with parliament, as the “Royal Council'' gathered, they looked to hungrily carve up the only successful concession Henry had received, the upholding of the Haitian Monarchy itself.


IOTL Granville was assassinated suddenly on the orders of Boyer’s government. In this timeline having been a soldier, and having prior knowledge of the likelihood of an assassination, Granville defends himself.
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From Cape Tiburon to Cape Samaná - A United Hispaniola Timeline


From a young age, the story of Haiti fascinated me, a republic of slaves who broke the shackles of the French Empire, and seized their freedom. Unfortunately, such idyllic romanticized scenarios of a republic of freedmen seemed doomed upon birth. From the bloody massacres of white settlers, to the disastrous rule of Jean-Pierre Boyer, Haiti’s economy fueled by the sin of slavery, seemed unable to be purified, and combined with international isolation, and the crippling debt imposed by a French gunboat, Haiti fell apart. After numerous civil wars, a divided kingdom, two empires, and numerous republics, Haiti today is scarcely what we would describe as a successful nation. Amid headlines of assassinated presidents, Kenyan resolutions to deploy police, and stories of gangs dominating a country whose last elected legislators resigned months ago, we are left with a puzzling question. Could Haiti have gone better? Was the dream of a nation of men freed from the bondage of slavery, always doomed to fail? This timeline will endeavor to answer this question.

Haiti is, however; not alone on the island of Hispainola. The Dominican Republic too, was originally conjoined to the Haitian Republic, dreaming of a freed republic. This false hope too was beaten down by a combination of cruelty, debt, and discrimination. Reborn from the collapsing Haitian state, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti remained rivals, with war, massacres, and occupations sparking between them. The hope of a united Hispaniola, buried under centuries of racial animus, and power grabs. I would like to put forward a special thank you to @LuckyLuciano whose answer to a thread post I saw honestly laid a lot of groundwork, and early history.

The timeline I present is not one that will be without struggle, without hate, or without greed. All of these are endemic to humanity, and I could not in good conscience remove them from a story of mine. Instead I merely present a better ending to the Haitian story, than we have currently. The story, which I will tell from the POV of a historian in this alternate modern day Haiti, will cover the pre-revolution background, up to modern day.This is From Cape Tiburon to Cape Samaná - A United Hispaniola Timeline.

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Background - Saint-Domingue Before the Revolution

As is commonly known, prior to Haiti’s revolution, it was a typical state in comparison to other Caribbean colonies. Dependent largely upon Europe’s seemingly insatiable lust for sugar, the development of the colony of Saint-Domingue was based upon massive labor intensive plantations. While cocoa, coffee, and indigo were all cultivated, sugar remained the foundation and mainstay of the colony of Saint-Domingue.

The sheer size and scope of the sugar economy can scarcely be perceived by us here in the modern day. 600 ships per year moved from Saint-Domingue to France, more than 1 million frenchmen directly depended upon the colony for their livelihoods. The colony was the richest French colony in the world, and for much of its history one of the richest European colonies in the world.

It should be noted; however, this opulent wealth was built upon some of the most grueling slave labor seen in our modern history. Malaria, and yellow fever thriving in the tropical climates, and barebone conditions most slaves found themselves in, ravaged the population. It is said throughout the 1780’s, the French brought 20-30,000 African slaves to the island. With population mortality rates of 50%, slave women often married multiple men, as it was far more likely they’d lose a husband, or multiple. These grim conditions were made worse by the abuses of the slave owning class, who squeezed every ounce of value from their slaves, preferring to work them to death, than provide any accommodations. In the slave owners view, they were as good as dead anyway.

Since 1795, the island of Hispaniola had been entirely unified under French rule, bringing an end to centuries of conflict, and scheming over control of the island. However, with the advent of slave rebellions and general instability since 1791, France had little time to enjoy their prize.

A Society in Full Breakdown

Saint-Domingue’s population was rigidly stratified based upon wealth, and race. There were in 1789, 40,000 whites, 28,000 freed blacks, and mixed race people of color, and 452,000 slaves. This population, while being wildly unbalanced, and unfair, had numerous social classes, the concentrated wealth into a vanishingly small number of elites.

At the bottom of the caste system, were the black slaves. Outnumbering every other class by as much as 10 to 1, the black and mixed enslaved class, was considered the blood the greased the wheels of French colonialism, and the French colonial economy. Expendable, numerous, and without any rights, life in Saint-Domingue was hell on earth for the enslaved class.

Just slightly above the enslaved african class, were mixed race slaves. Often having a father who was of the slaveholding class, or the various slave overseers, the mixed slaves were often born of violence, and pushed into a violent world. While facing the same grim conditions, and life expectancy as African slaves, their proximity, and familial ties to the slave owners, and overseers, meant that occasionally they would be freed, or face some kinder treatment, in a horrific twisted form.

Escaped slaves were the most hated group by the French. Known as maroons or marrons in French, escaped slaves were those who had managed to free themselves, and run away from slave plantations. They would hide in the mountains of Saint-Domingue, practicing subsistence agriculture, and hunting. Forming very close knit communities, the maroons were a model of self reliance, as there was no ability to contact or go near French society, meaning they could only rely upon themselves. While not as hazardous as being a french slave, the outlook for a Maroon was still rather bleak. Exposure, disease, famine, drought, or even slave catchers, could spell the end for this class of freedmen.

Meanwhile, there were other slaves on the island who weren’t African, or Mixed-African. There was a small number of white French indentured servants, many of whom had exchanged their freedom, for debts bondage, and a place in the New World. While they still had little in the way of money, and still suffered disease, and abuse, they were somewhat better off than African slaves. Indentured servants were usually protected under the law from egregious abuses. Rarely, after their term, an indentured servant would pursue compensation or other legal action against their employer, if they had been particularly abused. This form of redress would never be offered to the enslaved african, and mixed-african classes below them.

Some slaves managed to be freed through some way or another. Often being the child of a slave owner and a slave, sometimes the father would free the slave, in some pang of familial bond. These poor freedmen were a small but noticeable underclass. While having more rights than slaves, they had little in the way of true legal equality, living on the societal peripheries.

The second highest class were the so-called petit blancs, or little whites. These were the merchants, slave sellers, blacksmiths, small farmers, or the various administrative officials. The petit blancs dominated most professional positions. Generally on the same levels were poor french farmers, who could not afford the massive sprawling plantations as the grand blancs

The upper class was those wealthy planters who owned large plantations. Interestingly this upper class was split into two, on the lower end were some mixed-africans who managed to become wealthy slave owners in their own right. It’s estimated 1/3rd of plantation property, and 1/4th of slaves were owned by free mixed-africans. Nonetheless, they had numerous social restrictions placed upon them even owning property, and slaves. Freedmen were restricted from most major professions like medicine, or holding public office. So even their land and property was a cage they could not escape. The grand blancs or great whites, were the highest level of Haitian society, being wealthy white landowners. Lording over society, the vast majority of colonial wealth sat in their hands.

Such a society was immensely unstable, grand blancs wished to keep the status quo of their society, and continue to profit off slave labor. The black/mixed-african landowning class wished to be recognized as equal to whites. Poor whites and petit blancs felt a tinge of desire to have the lands, and wealth of their perceived lesser, landholding blacks/mixed-africans, as well as, the legal and social rights that the grand blancs had. Maroons continued their raids to free family members from plantations whenever they could, and above all slaves wanted to be free from their bondage entirely. An unsteady house of cards, Saint-Domingue society would come crashing down with the start of the Haitian Revolution.
A great start