Wars, Coups, and Conflicts of Haiti

 Flag of Haiti

Flag of Haiti


In Haiti's history, there have been numerous rebellions, coups, and many instances of political and social chaos. This list of Haitian wars and conflicts shows the major military conflicts in Haitian history.


Haitian War of Indendence (1791-1804)--The enslaved population of Haiti, descended of Africans captured by Europeans, rose in revolt against their French rulers. After thirteen years of brutal warfare and French attempts to re-assert contol, Haiti gained independence from France.

The Haitians benefited from the military leadership of Pierre Dominique Toussaint L'Ouverture, who ably defeated French armies. The French captured L'Ouverture through treachery, and imprisoned him in France. The rebellion was then led by Jean Jacques Dessalines, who made named himself as Emperor Alexandre I after Haiti gained independence in 1804.


Haitian Annexation of Spanish Haiti (1821-1822)--Haiti occupies and annexes the newly independent state of Spanish Haiti (also known as Santo Domingo and, currently, as the Dominican Republic).

Dominican War of Indendence (1844-1849)--The Dominicans wage a successful war for indepenence from Haiti.

Haiti-Dominican Wars (1849, 1850, 1855, and 1856)--Under self-proclaimed Emperor Faustin I, the Second Haitian Empire contiually invaded the Dominican side of the island in futile attempts to re-conquer the Dominicans. Each time, the Haitains lost.


Haitian Intervention in Dominican-Spanish Conflict (1861)--After Spain re-established colonial control over the Dominicans, Haiti, under President Fabre Geffrard, sent Haitian forces to Dominica to help fight the Spanish. Spanish threats forced Haiti to end this intervention.


U.S. Occupaiton of Haiti (1915-1935)--In part due to a fear of German influence in Haiti and the Caribbean in general, and also to bring order to the country following the murder of dictator President Vilbrun Guillaume Sam by rebels, American President Woodrow Wilson ordered U.S. forces to occupy and control Haiti. The fact that the new president of Haiti was supported by the rebel factions and was an opponent of the many American companies that dominated and exploited the nation. American troops and administrators ruled Haiti until the administratio of President Franklin Roosevelt, who brought the troops home.

During the American Occupation of Haiti, there were two rebellions that are "named wars," and are referred to as the Caco Wars or Caco Rebellions. The Haitain guerrilla fighters were known as Cacos, namef from the Caco, a feisty red-plumed bird found in Hait. Many Caco fighters wore patches of red cloth and red hatbands). The term Caco refers to fighters throughout Haitain history and originally referred to the former slaves who fought against the French during the Haitian Revolution .

The First Caco War (1915)-American forces (mostly Marines) in their initial invasion of Hiati, defeated the Caco forces, and took control of the nation.

The Second Caco War (1918-1920)-This rebellion against American occupation came about largely due to the brutal nature of the U.S. occupation. The American forces on the island were almost all white, while the vast majority of Haitians are black. This rebellion was put down by 1920.



U.S. Occupaiton of Haiti (1994-1995)--In Operation Uphold Democracy, American forces invaded and occupied Haiti and overthrew the military dictatorship that took power in the 1991 Haitian coup d'état that overthrew the elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. This American intervention restored Aristide to power. The intervention was authorized by United Nations Security Council Resolution 940.

The occupation did not encounter military opposition, due to the American diplomatic mission led by former President Jimmy Carter, U.S. Senator Sam Nunn and retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell, who persuaded the dictator of Haiti, General Joseph Raoul Cédras, to step down and allow the elected officials to return to power. As the American diplomats were talking with Cedras, American airborne troops were en route on a combat mission. When Cedras agreed to turn over power, the combat mission turned into an occupation mission, and fighting was avoided.

The last UN-authorized troops (American and others) left Haiti in 2000.


FLRN Insurgency (2001-2004)--Armed rebels, believed to be supported by right-wing Haitian elements, as well as by the Dominican Republic, the U.S., and France, launched military raids into Haiti from the Dominican Republic. The FLRN is an acronym for National Revolutionary Front for the Liberation and Reconstruction of Haiti.

This conflict culminated in a coup in 2004, in which President Aristide lost power and was flown out of the country on an American military plane. He later claimed he was kidnapped by the Americans.




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