Haiti’s history of revolutions and revolutionary leaders is a long one. In 1902, one ousted Haitian leader, General Joseph Auguste Anténor Firmin and over 300 of his soldiers and followers, fearing reprisals after a failed revolution, fled to Inagua. This group would come to form an early Haitian settlement, on what was then called, Great Inagua.
Days after his failed attempt at constructing a revolutionary government, General Firmin, a man of substantial professional accomplishments, left Inagua, abandoning hundreds of his fellow countrymen there. Some forty or so were returned to Haiti to be tried for crimes against the state. Those remaining, a reported 380 persons, were left destitute on the island. Eventually, however, they stayed and made their lives in Inagua.
Each chapter in Haiti’s history, as an independent country, has impacted its nearest neighbours in varying ways. Most notable, has been the effect, in human terms. Large numbers of Haitian citizens, throughout its history, have fled the island nation because of successive revolutions, historical patterns of political violence and a seemingly unsolvable level of persistent poverty.
In stark contrast to its sociopolitical trials and tribulations, there is a Haiti, in the early 1900s, which was an incredibly progressive, highly educated society, producing scores of negro intellectuals and professionals. Haitians were educated across Europe, and in particular in France, at some of the most prestigious schools there. Haiti also had its own medical school on the island.
The plagues of political unrest, violence and paucity have also marred the historical significance, of the Haitian Revolutionary War, as one of the greatest military battles, not only Black western history, but world military history.
Haiti has been impacting life in The Bahamas, for almost 150 years. This is underscored by the confusion in 1889, over who actually controlled Great Inagua. Despite it clearly being part of the British West Indies, the Americans were negotiating with the Haitian leader, President Salomon, with a view to acquiring the island of Great Inagua, from Haiti.
May 13, 1902 – Haitian General Firmin Stages Revolutionary Coup Ousting President Sam
October 31, 1902 – Only 40 of General Firmin’s followers returnto Haiti.
November 4, 1902 – After Failed Revolution, Haitians Left Destitute On Inagua
1911 – General Firmin dies in St. Thomas after another attempt to regain Haitian presidency
General Antenor Firmin arrived in Haiti on the 18th August, 1911 but was not allowed entry. Firmin came to challenge the general elections with a view of staging another coup. He was prepared to fight if he felt that the other candidates had somehow manipulated the voting process. Military guards were sent to ensure Firmin would never set foot on Haitian soil ever again. One month later, on the 19th September, 1911, General Firmin, Haitian Revolutionary President for less than six months, died in St. Thomas, then the Dutch West Indies.