Books on the Caribbean
Hubert Cole. Christophe: King of Haiti. New
York: The Viking Press, 1967.
The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution
Caribbean Doscourse (2004)
/ Barbara Harlow.
Resistance Literature (1987)
Josaphat B. Kubayanda.
The Poet's Africa: Africanness in the Poetry of Nicolas Guillen and Aime
Paul Laraque and Jack Hirschman.
Gate An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry
David P. Geggus, ed.
The Impact of the
Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World.
University of South Carolina Press, 2001.
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Holocaust in the Western World
Death of a Nation
By Hans Koning
To fill the empty ships going back to
Castile, to stop his detractors from talking, to prove his
success Columbus needed gold. And the following system was
adopted for this end.
Every man and woman, every boy or girl of
fourteen or older, in the province of Cibao (of the imaginary
gold fields) had to collect gold for the Spaniards. As their
measure, the Spaniards used those same miserable hawks' bells,
the little trinkets they had given away so freely when they
first came "as if from Heaven."
Every three months, every Indian had to bring
to one of the forts a hawks' bell filled with gold dust. The
chiefs had to bring in about ten times that amount. In the other
provinces of Hispaniola, twenty-five pounds of spun cotton took
the place of gold.
Copper tokens were manufactured, and when an
Indian had brought his or her tribute to an armed post, he or
she received such a token, stamped with the month, to be hung
around the neck. With that they were safe for another three
months while collecting more gold.
Whoever was caught without a token was killed
by having his or her hands cut off. There are old Spanish
prints (I saw them in the collection of Bishop Voegeli of Haiti)
that show this being done: the Indians stumble away, staring
with surprise at their arms stumps pulsing out blood.
There were no gold fields, and thus, once the
Indians had handed in whatever they still had in gold ornaments,
their only hope was to work all day in the streams, washing out
gold dust from the pebbles. It was an impossible task, but those
Indians who tried to flee into the mountains were
systematically hunted down with dogs and killed, to set an
example for the others to keep trying.
By that time there was no longer a
possibility of mass resistance. the Admiral, his brother
Bartholomé, and Hojeda had crushingly defeated the only army
the Indians ever managed to bring together. Armor, muskets,
swords, horses, and dogs had made the Spaniards invincible.
All prisoners had been hanged or
burned to death. The island was so well pacified that a
Spaniard could go anywhere, take any woman or girl, take
anything, and have the Indians carry him on their backs
as if they were mules.
Thus it was at this time that the
mass suicides began: the Arawaks killed themselves with
During those two years of the
administration of the brothers Columbus, an estimated
one half of the entire population of Hispaniola was
killed or killed themselves. The estimates run from
125,000 to one half million.
Then, in 1496, when there was obviously not
one grain of gold left, the gold tribute system was changed to
that of the repartimientos, later known as the encomiendas.
The Spaniards cut out estates for themselves; the Indians still
living on this land became their property.
They could be sued to work the land for the
owner or could be hired out indefinitely as labor gangs anywhere
else. These gangs "were marched all over the island, from
one end to the other." The same setup was later introduced
in all the new Spanish possessions in the Americas.
The killings continued at no less speed. In
1515 there were not more than ten thousand Indians left alive;
twenty-five years later, the entire nation had vanished from the
earth. Not one Indian on the island had ever been converted to
what Columbus called "our Holy Faith."
The harder black slaves from Africa were
brought in to take their place. They would, at the end of the
eighteenth century, stage the first and perhaps only successful
slave revolt in Western history. It made Haiti,
the western half of the island, the second independent republic
of this hemisphere.
The death toll among the blacks had been
frightful too, but they had been brought in such numbers that
enough of them survived to form a nation. The statistics (not
very precise, obviously) in the archives of Port-au-Prince (now
Haiti's capital) show that two million slaves were imported in
the century before independence. Of these, and all their
children, six hundred thousand survived when their revolution
Source: Hans Koning. Columbus:
His Enterprise--Exploding the Myth. New
York: Monthly Review Press, 1991
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Ancient African Nations
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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
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Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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update 28 April 2009