Cap-Haitian During the Colonization Period

The city of Cap-Haitian has a reach history, specially during the French colonization. This small city has its name changed at least four times. It as founded in 1670 by Bertrand d'Ogeron who saw the great opportunity at the time based on its geographic location. However, as the region started growing as an economic force for France, the city called at this time Cap-Francais became a major port to ship sugar, coffee, cotton and indigo. The merchants began to display their wealth and Cap-Francais acquired the name'Paris of the Antilles.'


The great wealth the city well know to be generating at the time was produced on the back of the African slaves who had replaced the indigenous peoples who had migrated from present-day Central and South America in the 16th century. Due to the colonization and introduction of new infectious diseases, as well as poor treatment received by the colonizers, the indigenous population rapidly declined.

The slave rebellion which eventually led to the independence of Haiti started in the region around Cap-Haitian. Many early rebellions by the slaves were met with the full extent of the law, with death as the ultimate punishment. The inhabitants witnessed the executions of Mackandal in 1758, Vincent Ogé, who had agitated for mulatto's rights, in 1790 and Boukman a year later.

The final battle of Vertiere took place on the outskirts of the city when Jean Jacques Dessalines won the final victory that brought independence, and renamed the city Cap-Haïtien as a symbol of freedom.

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