In 1830, the Bahamas Governor, James Carmichael Smith, had been instructed by England to receive the Haitian flag and afford it all due respect. In other words, authority was granted, despite the fact that slavery in the Bahamas, and indeed in the British West Indies continued, to trade with the revolutionary government of Haiti, who seized its slave freedom through an uncompromisingly bloody battle.

(James Carmichael Smith, Governor of the Bahamas)

Haiti’s bid at maintaining its economy hung precariously between pit and pendulum. The newly independent country needed favourable economic allies to receive its sugar, agricultural produce and more. England, including its colony, the Bahamas, began trading with the revolutionary government, helping to bolster its economic stability in the region.

(The Freeman’s Journal, Ireland, Tuesday, 11 May 1830)

In 1830, the Haitian leader was President Boyer. Boyer reunited the north and south of Haiti in 1820 and also annexed the newly independent Spanish Haiti (Santo Domingo), which brought all of Hispaniola under one Haitian government by 1822. The combined rule would not last.

Jean-Pierre Boyer, (born 1776, Port-au-Prince, Haiti—died July 9, 1850, Paris, France). Boyer was a politician and soldier who served as president of Haiti in 1818–43 and tried unsuccessfully to stop a severe decline in the Haitian economy.

Jean-Pierre Boyer, (born 1776, Port-au-Prince, Haiti—died July 9, 1850, Paris, France), politician and soldier who served as president of Haiti in 1818–43 and tried unsuccessfully to stop a severe decline in the Haitian economy.

(The Freeman’s Journal, Ireland, Tuesday, 11 May 1830)


President Boyer believed Haiti had to be acknowledged as an independent nation, and that this could be established only by cutting a deal with France. On 11 July 1825, Boyer signed an indemnity treaty stipulating that Haiti would pay France a certain amount of money to compensate for the lost property in slaves and trade in exchange for formal diplomatic recognition of its independence.

Boyer famously announced, five years later in 1830, that the people of Haiti would sooner lose their lives than submit to Spain or any other foreign power.


Boyer’s rule lasted until 1843, when the poor economic situation was worsened by an earthquake. Boyer’s move to establish an independent Haiti with the acquiescence of France and an agreed independence debt, began a downward economic spiral for the island nation. Debt repayments, growing poverty, violence, threats and natural disasters wrecked havoc on the economic and social stability of the new nation.

The disadvantaged majority comprising the rural population rose up under Charles Rivière-Hérard in late January.

Presidential term: 1843 – 1844

President of Haiti Charles Rivière-Hérard (1843 to 1844)

On 13 February 1843, Boyer fled Haiti to nearby Jamaica. He eventually settled in exile in France, where he died in Paris in 1850.

By 1843, as well, Touissant L’Ouverture, the man largely recognised as the prominent figure in Haiti’s bloody revolution, had been dead some forty years. L’Ouverture died in a French prison on 7th April 1803.

Similarly, by 1843, Henry Christophe a key leader in the Haitian Revolution and the only, albeit self-proclaimed monarch of the Kingdom of Haiti, had been dead twenty-three years. King Henry committed suicide by shooting himself with a silver bullet rather than risk a coup and assassination. His son and heir was assassinated 10 days later.

And then there was Jean-Jacques Dessalines, another important leader of the Haitian Revolution. Dessalines became first ruler of an independent Haiti under the 1805 constitution. Under Dessalines, Haiti became the first country in the Americas to permanently abolish slavery. By 1843, Dessalines had been some thirty-eight years, having been assassinated on 17 October 1806, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The year 1843 became a significant turning point in the Caribbean nation of Haiti. 1843 began decades of political turmoil and bloodshed which ultimately culminated in the occupation of Haiti by the United States in 1915.


Constitution of Haiti was enacted on December 30, 1843, during the administration of Charles Rivière-Hérard. Almost all that had been carefully crafted and enacted by December 1843, would be done away with, superseded or discarded by a succession of Haitian leaders who seized power.

The constitution contained many important innovations. The judges were to be elected by the people, instead of being appointed by the President; all offenses, either criminal, political, or by the press, were to be submitted to trials by jury. Presidency for life was abolished; the term of the Chief of the Executive Power was limited to four years; and no measure could be adopted by the President without the countersign of the proper Minister. The right to introduce laws was conferred on the House of Representatives and on the Senate as well as on the President. Matters concerning the communes and the arrondissements were in charge of the municipalities and the arrondissement councils. An estimate of the revenues and expenses was to be voted annually; a Court of Accounts was instituted. The Army was declared a law-abiding body; and strict measures were enacted in view of guaranteeing personal freedom and respect of property.

1843 Haitian Constitution


INDEPENDENCE OF HAITI – A letter from Port-au-Prince on the 12th of July says— “An entertainment was given yesterday evening by the President to Baron De Mackau and officers of the French squadron. The whole was splendidly got up, and the greatest order and good humour preserved. The toast after dinner were— Charles X.( King of France)

The President of Haiti; ‘France and Haiti —- mother and daughter;’

and from a distinguished Senator with a great deal of emphasis and feeling, “May we never cease to feel in ourselves, or to impress on our posterity, that we owe our present situation, our existence as a nation free and independent, to the aid given by commerce from England, America, and Germany.”

(The Times, London, Saturday, August 6, 1825)


By 1830, President Jean Pierre Boyer had instituted a tax on the Haitian people specifically to pay for the independence debt he had negotiated with France, just five years before, in 1825.

We are in possession of the Feuille De Commerce, of the second instance, says the Gazette, from which we gather the following items of intelligence: –

The French frigate La Nereide, of 52 guns, commanded by Captain De Cayeu, arrived at Port-au-Prince on the 16th of June, from Martinique, having on board Admiral Demoges, commander in chief of the French naval forces in the West Indies.

On the 22nd instant of the same month the French frigate La Calypso of 52 guns, Captain Dubourdieu, arrived at the same port from Brest, last Martinique; and on the 29th the French brig of war, La Genie, of 20 guns, Captain Warnier de Walliy, sailed for Cape Haitien.

The object of the presence of this naval force at Port-au-Prince does not appear in the journal now before us, but we have learnt from other sources, upon which we can rely, that a demand has been made for the instalment of the debt due in France, which was offered to be paid in Haitian money, but which the French Admiral refused.

(Saunders’s newsletter, Wednesday, 23 August 1843)

HAITI 1843 to 1915

“Of the twenty-two heads of state between 1843 and 1915, only one served out his prescribed term of office.

Three died while serving.

One was blown up with his palace.

One presumably poisoned.

One hacked to pieces by a mob.

One resigned.

The other fourteen were deposed by revolution after incumbencies ranging in length from three months to twelve years.

During this wide gulf between the 1843 revolution and occupation by the United States in 1915, Haiti’s leadership became the most valuable prize in an unprincipled competition among strongmen.”