Welcome to Polonia, a country within a country most of the world has never heard of. This is mainly because Polonia is not a real country, it is the name given to the section of Haiti's Diaspora that includes the descendants of Polish legionnaires who fought for the country's independence during the revolutionary war. The section of the country where most of these descendants still live, viewed as the Polish Haiti, is Casal. With a small population, Casal and its inhabitants remained largely obscure for many years. But, recently, curiosity about the blue-eyed Haitians that live there have shined the spotlight on the small city.
The Poles came to Haiti in 1802 as part of the Napoleon army sent to suppress the slave revolts that threatened to destabilize the French rule over the island. However, after figuring out that the plight of the black slaves in Haiti was not so far removed from their own struggles back in Poland, many soldiers began to be conflicted. Their home country was, itself, embroiled in a fight for their independence, and joining with the French army had been a way of securing aid for their fight. Still, by 1804, many Poles began fighting on the side of the slaves, unable to justify killing those who dreamed of the same freedom they did.
For their loyalty, Casal, in the Grande Anse Department, close to Port-au-Prince, was given to the former Napoleonic soldiers, who were naturalized as reward for their efforts. Their selfless contribution was a great aid to Haiti in a time of need, one that should never be forgotten.
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