United States occupation of Haiti

The United States occupation of Haiti began on July 28, 1915, when 330 US Marines landed at Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on the authority of US President Woodrow Wilson. The first invasion forces had already disembarked from USS Montana on January 27, 1914.[2] The July intervention took place following the murder of dictator President Vilbrun Guillaume Sam by insurgents angered by his political executions of elite opposition.

The occupation ended on August 1, 1934, after President Franklin D. Roosevelt reaffirmed an August 1933 disengagement agreement. The last contingent of US Marines departed on August 15, 1934, after a formal transfer of authority to the Garde d'Haïti.

United States occupation of Haiti
Part of the Banana Wars
Occupation of Haiti

United States Marines and a Haitian guide patrolling the jungle in 1915 during the Battle of Fort Dipitie
DateJuly 28, 1915 – August 1, 1934
(19 years and 4 days)

USA victory

  • Haiti occupied
 United States
 Haitian government
Haitian rebels

First Caco War:

Second Caco War:
American: 1,500[1]
Haitian Gendarmerie: 2,700[1]

First Caco War:

Casualties and losses

First Caco War:
3 killed, 18 wounded[1]

Second Caco War:
American: 28 killed[1]
Gendarmerie: 70 killed[1]

First Caco War:
200 killed[1]

Second Caco War:
2,000+ killed[1]


Between 1911 and 1915, Haiti was politically unstable: a series of political assassinations and forced exiles resulted in six presidents holding office during this period.[3] Various revolutionary armies carried out the coups. Each was formed by cacos, or peasant militia from the mountains of the north, or who invaded along the porous Dominican border. They were enlisted by rival political factions under the promises of money, which would be paid after a successful revolution, and the opportunity to plunder.

The United States was particularly apprehensive about the roles (real and imagined) played by Imperial Germany in the Western hemisphere. Controlling Tortuga, it had intervened in Haiti (see Luders Affair) and other Caribbean nations at several times during the previous few decades to exert its influence as a rival power. Germany was increasingly hostile to United States domination of the region under its claimed Monroe Doctrine. In the lead-up to the World War I, the strategic importance of the island of Hispaniola, with its manpower, material wealth, and port facilities, was understood by almost all navies operating in the Caribbean, including Germany and the still-neutral United States. Germany had invested in military and intelligence gathering across Hispaniola as part of a wider network of German interest in Latin America and the Caribbean during the 1890s through the 1910s.

The United States' concern over Germany's ambitions was mirrored by apprehension and rivalry between American businessmen and the small German community in Haiti, which although numbering only about 200 in 1910 wielded a disproportionate amount of economic power.[4] German nationals controlled about 80 percent of the country's international commerce. They owned and operated utilities in Cap-Haïten and Port-au-Prince, including the main wharf and a tramway in the capital, and also had built the railway serving the Plain of the Cul-de-Sac.[5]

Haiti German legation 1900
Personnel from the German Legation and the Hamburg-Amerika Line

The German community was more willing to integrate into Haitian society than any other group of Caucasian foreigners, including the more numerous French. Some Germans had married into Haiti's most prominent families of "persons of color" (mixed race of African-French descent). This enabled them to bypass the constitutional prohibition against foreigners owning land. Nevertheless, the German residents retained strong ties to their homeland and sometimes aided the German military and intelligence networks in Haiti. They also served as the principal financiers of the nation's numerous revolutions, floating loans at high interest rates to the competing political factions.[5] Because of this, they were regarded as a threat to American businessmen's financial interests. The United States political and military leadership believed the Haitian Germans were tied directly to the government in Berlin.

In an effort to reduce German influence, the U.S. State Department in 1910–11 backed a consortium of American investors, headed by the National City Bank of New York, to acquire control of the Banque Nationale d'Haïti. This was the country's sole commercial bank and served as the Haitian government's treasury.[6]

In December 1914, the U.S. military seized the Haitian government's gold reserve, urged on by the National City Bank and the National Bank of Haiti (which was already under foreign direction). The U.S. took the gold to National City Bank's New York City vault.[7]

In February 1915, Jean Vilbrun Guillaume Sam, son of a former Haitian president, established a dictatorship. Five months later, facing a new anti-American revolt, he ordered the massacre of 167 political prisoners. All of the victims were from prominent families, mostly members of the better educated and wealthier mixed-race population with German connections. "President" Sam was lynched by an enraged mob in Port-au-Prince as soon as they learned of the executions.[8]

American intervention

The United States regarded the anti-American revolt against Sam as a threat to American business interests in the country, especially the Haitian American Sugar Company (HASCO). When the caco-supported anti-American Rosalvo Bobo emerged as the next president of Haiti, the United States government decided to act quickly to preserve their economic dominance.[9]

American Marines In 1915 defending the entrance gate in Cap-Haitian - 34510
American Marines in 1915 defending the entrance gate in Cap-Haïten

On July 28, 1915, American President Woodrow Wilson ordered 330 U.S. Marines to occupy Port-au-Prince. Secretary of the Navy instructed the invasion commander, Admiral William Deville Bundy, to "protect American and foreign" interests. Wilson also wanted to rewrite the Haitian constitution, which banned foreign ownership of land, and replace it with one that guaranteed American financial control.[10] To avoid public criticism, Wilson claimed the occupation was a mission to "re-establish peace and order ... [and] has nothing to do with any diplomatic negotiations of the past or the future," as disclosed by Rear Admiral Caperton.[11] Only one Haitian soldier, Pierre Sully, tried to resist the invasion, and he was shot dead by the Marines.[12]

On November 17, 1915, the Marines captured Fort Rivière, a stronghold of the Cacos rebels, which marked the end of the First Caco War.[13]:201

For several decades, the Haitian government had been receiving large loans from both American and French banks, and with the political chaos was growing increasingly incapable of repaying their debts. If the anti-American government of Rosalvo Bobo prevailed, there was no guarantee of debt repayment, and American businesses refused to continue investing there. Within six weeks of the occupation, U.S. government representatives seized control of Haiti's customs houses and administrative institutions, including the banks and the national treasury. Under U.S. government control, a total of 40% of Haiti's national income was designated to repay debts to American and French banks.[14] While this helped improve the economic stability and credibility of the Haitian government, it led to allegations that the American actions froze Haiti's economic development. For the next nineteen years, U.S., government advisers ruled the country, their authority provided by the United States Marine Corps.[4]

The first nine months of Haitian occupation, until April 1916, was overseen by the U.S. military. After imposing rule in Port-au-Prince, U.S. authorities in Haiti looked to find a cooperative president to be duly "elected."[15] Philippe Sudré Dartiguenave, president of the Senate and among the mixed-race elite, agreed to accept the presidency of Haiti after several other candidates had refused. In 1917, President Dartiguenave dissolved the legislature after its members refused to approve a constitution drafted under the supervision of Franklin D. Roosevelt, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy.[16][17] A referendum in Haiti subsequently approved the new constitution in 1918 (by a vote of 98 225 to 768). It was a generally a liberal document, and it explicitly allowed foreigners to purchase land. Early leader Jean-Jacques Dessalines had forbidden land ownership by foreigners when Haiti became independent, and, since 1804, some Haitians had viewed foreign ownership as anathema.[18]

Government and opposition

In September 1915, the United States Senate ratified the Haitian-American Convention, a treaty granting the United States security and economic oversight of Haiti for a 10-year period.[19] Representatives from the United States wielded veto power over all governmental decisions in Haiti, and Marine Corps commanders served as administrators in the departments. Local institutions, however, continued to be run by Haitians, as was required under policies put in place during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson.

The US administration overhauled — if not dismantled in perpetuity — the already tottering constitutional system, reinstituted civil conscription (impressed labor) for building roads, and established the National Guards.[20] It invested in massive improvements to infrastructure: 1700 km of roads were made usable; 189 bridges were built; many irrigation canals were rehabilitated; hospitals, schools, and public buildings were constructed; and drinking water was brought to the main cities.

Marines' base in Cap-Haïtien
Marine's base at Cap-Haïtien

Opposition to the occupation began immediately after the Marines entered Haiti in 1915. The rebels (called "cacos" by the U.S. Marines) strongly resisted American control of Haiti. During the first period of the occupation, they received considerable support from the German government and entrenched German-Haitian elite. While German capabilities were seriously limited by World War One and the United States was neutral for a time, they were hostile parties, determined to wrest hegemony over Hispaniola. Germany's position benefited the indigenous resistance movements.

In response to this upswing of hostility, the Haitian and American governments began a vigorous campaign to disband the rebel armies. Perhaps the best-known account of this skirmishing came from Marine Major Smedley Butler, awarded a Medal of Honor for his exploits. He was appointed to serve as commanding officer of the Haitian Gendarmerie. (He later expressed his disapproval of the U.S. intervention in his book War Is a Racket (1935).)

Racist attitudes towards the Haitian people by the American occupation forces were blatant and widespread. Initially, there was intermingling of officers and the elites at social gatherings and clubs but when families of American forces began arriving, such gatherings were minimized. Relations degraded rapidly, however, upon departure of officers for World War I in Europe; this changed the nature of the relationship between the races the most. The Haitian elite found the American junior and non-commissioned officers to be ignorant and uneducated. There were numerous reports of remaining Marines drinking to excess, fighting and sexually assaulting women. The situation was so bad that the Marine General John A. Lejeune based in Washington, D.C., banned the sale of alcohol to any military personnel.[21]

The NAACP sent James Weldon Johnson, its field secretary; to investigate conditions in Haiti. He published his account in 1920, decrying "the economic corruption, forced labor, press censorship, racial segregation, and wanton violence introduced to Haiti by the US occupation encouraged numerous African Americans to flood the State Department and the offices of Republican Party officials with letters" calling for an end to the abuses and to remove troops.[22]

Based on Johnson's investigation, NAACP executive secretary Herbert J. Seligman wrote in the July 10, 1920, NATION:

Military camps have been built throughout the island. The property of natives has been taken for military use. Haitians carrying a gun were for a time shot on sight. Machine guns have been turned on crowds of unarmed natives, and United States marines have, by accounts which several of them gave me in casual conversation, not troubled to investigate how many were killed or wounded.[23]

For their part, the rebel forces acted well outside the usual etiquette of combat, engaging in terrorism and other war crimes against both the occupation forces and the general population. Charlemagne Péralte led a rebellion of 5000 cacos in 1918 before he was killed in 1919.[13]:211–218 Prior to his death, he launched an attack on Port-au-Prince. The Second Caco War ended with the death of Benoit Batraville in 1920,[13]:223 who had commanded an assault on the Haitian capital that year.

The end of the First World War in 1918 deprived the rebels of their main ally in the guerrilla struggle. Germany's defeat meant its end as a menace to the US in the Caribbean, as it lost control of Tortuga. Nevertheless, the US continued its occupation of Haiti after the war, despite the embarrassment that it caused President Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, when he supported self-determination among other peoples. In addition, Congress held hearings in 1922 to investigate the occupation.

President of Haiti arrives in Washington. The Secretary of State, Frank B. Kellogg, and other high officiai of the government greeted the President of Haiti, Louis Borno, upon his arrival in LCCN2016888075
President Borno on an official visit to the U.S. in 1926

In 1922, Dartiguenave was replaced by Louis Borno, who ruled without a legislature until 1930. That same year, the US appointed General John H. Russell, Jr. as High Commissioner. The Borno-Russel government oversaw the expansion of the economy, building more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of road, establishing an automatic telephone exchange, modernizing the nation's port facilities, and establishing a public health service. Sisal was introduced to Haiti as a commodity crop, and sugar and cotton became significant exports.[24]

However, efforts to develop commercial agriculture met with limited success, in part because much of Haiti's labor force was employed as seasonal workers in the more-established sugar industries of Cuba and the Dominican Republic. An estimated 30,000-40,000 Haitian laborers, known in Cuba as braceros, went annually to the Oriente Province between 1913 and 1931.[25] Many Haitians continued to resent the loss of sovereignty.

At the forefront of opposition among the educated elite was L'Union Patriotique, which established ties with opponents of the occupation in the U.S. They found allies in the NAACP and among both white and African-American leaders.[26]

The Great Depression disastrously affected the prices of Haiti's exports, and destroyed the tenuous gains of the previous decade. In December 1929, Marines in Les Cayes killed ten Haitian peasants who were among marchers protesting local economic conditions.[18] President Herbert Hoover appointed two commissions to investigate conditions, including one headed by a former U.S. governor of the Philippines William Cameron Forbes. They criticized the exclusion of Haitians from positions of authority in the government and constabulary, now known as the Garde d'Haïti.

Haitian reactions

Aside from the caco rebels, Haitian writers and public figures also responded to the Occupation. For example, one public figure, a minister of public education, Dantès Bellegarde[1], continuously discussed his issues with the event. In his book, La Résistance Haïtienne (l'Occupation Américaine d'Haïti), Bellegarde outlines the contradictions of the Occupation with the realities. He accused President Wilson of writing the new Haitian Constitution to benefit the Americans, and that Wilson's main purpose was to remove the previous Haitian clause that stated foreigners could not own land in the country. The original clause was designed to protect Haiti's independence from foreign powers.[27] With the clause removed, Americans (including whites and other foreigners) could now own land. Furthermore, Bellegarde discusses the powerlessness of Haitian officials in the eyes of the Occupation because nothing could be done without the consent of the Americans. However, the main issue that Bellegarde articulates is that the Americans tried to change the education system of Haiti from one that was French based to that of the Americans. Even though Bellegarde was resistant he had a plan to build a university in Haiti that was based on the American system. He wanted a university with various schools of science, business, art, medicine, law, agriculture, and languages all connected by a common area and library. However, that dream was never realized because of the new direction the Haitian government was forced to take.

Another figure that was highly regarded during the period was Jean Price-Mars.[28] He associated the reasons behind the Occupation to the division between the Haitian elite and the poorer people of the country. He noted that the groups were divided over the practice of Vodou, with the implication that the elites did not recognize Vodou because they connected it to an evil practice.[29]

Transition to fully Haitian government

In 1930, Sténio Vincent, a long-time critic of the occupation, was elected President of Haiti. By 1930, President Hoover had become concerned about the effects of the occupation, particularly after the December 1929 incident in Les Cayes. Hoover appointed a commission to study the situation, with William Cameron Forbes as the chair.[13]:232–233

The Forbes Commission praised the material improvements that the U.S. administration had achieved, but it criticized the continued exclusion of Haitian nationals from positions of real authority in the government and the constabulary, which had come to be known as the Garde d'Haïti. In more general terms, the commission asserted that "the social forces that created [instability] still remain – poverty, ignorance, and the lack of a tradition or desire for orderly free government."[30]

The Hoover administration did not fully implement the recommendations of the Forbes Commission; but United States withdrawal was under way by 1932, when Hoover lost the presidency to Franklin D. Roosevelt. The latter as Assistant Secretary of the Navy had overall responsibility for drafting the most recent Haitian constitution; he was a proponent of the "Good Neighbor policy" for the US role in the Caribbean and Latin America. On a visit to Cap-Haïtien in July 1934, Roosevelt reaffirmed an August 1933 disengagement agreement. The last contingent of U.S. Marines departed on August 15, 1934 after a formal transfer of authority to the Garde.[31] The U.S. retained influence on Haiti's external finances until 1947.[32]

Effects on Haiti

American poses with dead Haitian revolutionaries after being killed by US Marine machine gun fire - 10-11-1915
American poses with dead Haitian revolutionaries killed by US Marine machine gun fire - Oct 11, 1915

The occupation by the United States had several significant effects on Haiti. An early period of unrest culminated in a 1918 rebellion by up to 40,000 former cacos and other members of the opposition. The scale of the uprising overwhelmed the Gendarmerie, but US Marine reinforcements helped put down the revolt. The assassination of rebellion leader Charlemagne Péralte in November 1918 solidified US Marine power over the Cacos.[33] An estimated 2,000 Haitians were killed in the fighting.[18]

The occupation greatly improved some of Haiti's infrastructure[4] and centralized power in Port-au-Prince. Infrastructure improvements were particularly impressive: 1700 km of roads were made usable, 189 bridges were built, many irrigation canals were rehabilitated, hospitals, schools, and public buildings were constructed, and drinking water was brought to the main cities. Port-au-Prince became the first Caribbean city to have a phone service with automatic dialing. Agricultural education was organized, with a central school of agriculture and 69 farms in the country.[24]

The Americans inhabited neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince in high quality housing. This neighborhood was called the "millionaires' row".[34] Hans Schmidt recounted a navy officer's opinion on the matter of segregation: "I can't see why they wouldn't have a better time with their crowd, just as I do with mine."[35] American racial intolerance provoked indignation and resentment – and eventually a racial pride that was reflected in the work of a new generation of Haitian historians, ethnologists, writers, artists, and others. Many of these later became active in politics and government. The elite Haitians, who were mostly mixed race with higher levels of education and capital, continued to dominate the country's bureaucracy and to strengthen its role in national affairs.

The United States redesigned the education system. It dismantled the "liberal arts" education which the Haitians had inherited (and adapted) from the French system. The Americans emphasized vocational training, similar to its industrial education for minorities and immigrants in the United States. The elite Haitians despised this system, believing it was discriminatory against their people.[36]

All three rulers during the occupation came from the country's small mixed-race elite. At the same time, many in the growing black professional classes departed from the traditional veneration of Haiti's French cultural heritage and emphasized the nation's African roots.[37] Among these were ethnologist Jean Price-Mars and the journal Les Griots, edited by Dr. François Duvalier. (The title referred to traditional African oral historians, the storytellers.)

The United States military issued two Haitian Campaign Medals to U.S. Marine and Naval personnel for service in the country during the periods 1915 and 1919-20.

Finally, the political, military, and economic power of both the small German-Haitian community and the Imperial German government were utterly broken by the long years of hostile occupation. Germans had been censured for association with anti-American mobilization. German intelligence cells operating on the island were purged or forced to surrender. The US had entered the war against the German Empire in 1917, and in 1918 the latter was defeated in the war and almost immediately collapsed. The remaining German-Haitians were largely left isolated, with many opting to emigrate (usually back to Germany) or to stay on and try to claw their way back.

See also

Further reading

  • Boot, Max. The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power. New York, Basic Books: 2002. ISBN 0-465-00721-X
  • Dalleo, Raphael (2016). American Imperialism's Undead: The Occupation of Haiti and the Rise of Caribbean Anticolonialism. University of Virginia Press. ISBN 0-8139-3894-5.
  • Harper's Magazine advertisement: Why Should You Worry About Haiti? by the Haiti-Santo Domingo Independence Society
  • Hudson, Peter (2017). Bankers and Empire: How Wall Street Colonized the Caribbean. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-2264-5911-X.
  • Marvin, George (February 1916). "Assassination And Intervention in Haiti: Why The United States Government Landed Marines On The Island And Why It Keeps Them There". The World's Work: A History of Our Time. XXXI: 404–410. Retrieved August 4, 2009.
  • Renda, Mary A. (2001). Taking Haiti: Military Occupation and the Culture of U.S. Imperialism, 1915-1940. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-4938-3.
  • Schmidt, Hans (1995). United States occupation of Haiti (1915-1934). Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0-8135-2203-X.
  • Weston, Rubin Francis (1972). Racism in U.S. Imperialism: The Influence of Racial Assumptions on American Foreign Policy, 1893-1946. University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 0-87249-219-2.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Clodfelter (2017). Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Encyclopedia of Casualty and Other Figures, 1492-2015. p. 378.
  2. ^ "US Occupation of Haiti 1915-1934", History, United States Navy
  3. ^ Heinl 1996, p. 791.
  4. ^ a b c Occupation of Haiti, 1915-34 Archived February 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., US Department of State
  5. ^ a b Schmidt, 35.
  6. ^ Douglas, Paul H. from Occupied Haiti, ed. Emily Greene Balch (New York, 1972), 15–52 reprinted in: Money Doctors, Foreign Debts, and Economic Reforms in Latin America. Wilmington, Delaware: Edited by Paul W. Drake, 1994.
  7. ^ Bytheway, Simon James; Metzler, Mark (2016). Central Banks and Gold: How Tokyo, London, and New York Shaped the Modern World. Cornell University Press. p. 43. ISBN 9781501706509.
  8. ^ Millett, Allan Reed (1991). Semper Fidelis: The History of the United States Marine Corps. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 185.
  9. ^ Weinstein, Segal 1984, p.28
  10. ^ "Haiti's Tragic History": Review of Laurent Dubois, Haiti: The Aftershocks of History, New York Times, 1 January 2012
  11. ^ Weston 1972, p. 217.
  12. ^ Pamphile, Léon Dénius (2008). Clash of Cultures :America's Educational Strategies in Occupied Haiti, 1915-1934. Lanham: University Press of America. p. 22. ISBN 9780761839927.
  13. ^ a b c d Musicant, I, The Banana Wars, 1990, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., ISBN 0025882104
  14. ^ Weinstein, Segal 1984, p. 29.
  15. ^ Renda, Mary (2001). Taking Haiti: Military Occupation and the Culture of U.S. Imperialism 1915-1940. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press. pp. 30–31. ISBN 978-0-8078-2628-7.
  16. ^ Roosevelt asserted his authorship of the Haitian Constitution in several speeches during his 1920 campaign for Vice President - which was at best a politically awkward overstatement and caused some controversy in the campaign. (Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Crisis of the Old Order, 364, citing 1920 Roosevelt Papers for speeches in Spokane, San Francisco, and Centralia.)
  17. ^ "SAYS AMERICA HAS 12 LEAGUE VOTES; Roosevelt Declares He Himself Had Two Until Last Week, Referring to Minor Republics" (PDF). The New York Times. August 19, 1920.
  18. ^ a b c U.S. Haiti Rebellion 1918, On War
  19. ^ Plunging Into Haiti: Clinton, Aristide, and the Defeat of Diplomacy, p. 78, at Google Books
  20. ^ Paul Farmer, The Uses of Haiti (Common Courage Press: 1994)
  21. ^ Pamphile, Léon Dénius (2008). Clash of Cultures: America's Educational Strategies in Occupied Haiti, 1915-1934. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America. p. 177.
  22. ^ /_To_Start_Something_to_Help_These_People_African_American_Women_and_the_Occupation_of_Haiti_1915-1934?auto=download&campaign=weekly_digest Brandon Byrd, ""To Start Something to Help These People:" African American Women and the Occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934", The Journal of Haitian Studies, Volume 21 No. 2 © 2015, accessed 2 February 2016
  23. ^ Pietrusza, David (2008). 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents. Basic Books. p. 133.
  24. ^ a b Heinl 1996, pp. 454-455.
  25. ^ Woodling, Bridget; Moseley-Williams, Richard (2004). "Needed but Unwanted: Haitian Immigrants and Their Descendants in the Dominican Republic". London: Catholic Institute for International Relations: 24.
  26. ^ "Haiti, Haitians, and Black America". H Net.
  27. ^ http://www.lehman.cuny.edu/ile.en.ile/paroles/bellegarde.html
  28. ^ "Jean Price-Mars", Lehman Center, City University of New York
  29. ^ Price-Mars, Jean (1983). So Spoke The Uncle. Washington, D.C.: Three Continents Press. pp. 1–221. ISBN 0894103903.
  30. ^ "Occupation of Haiti 1915-34", Globalsecurity.org.
  31. ^ p 223 - Benjamin Beede. The War of 1898 and U.S. Interventions, 1898-1934: An Encyclopedia (May 1, 1994 ed.). Routledge; 1 edition. p. 784. ISBN 0-8240-5624-8.
    The Haitian and U.S. governments reached a mutually satisfactory agreement in the Executive Accord of August 7, 1933, and on August 15, the last marines departed.
  32. ^ Schmidt, Hans. The United States Occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1995. (232)
  33. ^ A., Renda, Mary (2001). Taking Haiti : military occupation and the culture of U.S. imperialism, 1915-1940. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 9780807826287. OCLC 56356679.
  34. ^ Schmidt 1995, p.152.
  35. ^ Schmidt 1995, p.137-38.
  36. ^ Schmidt, p. 183.
  37. ^ Schmidt, p. 23.


  • Heinl, Robert (1996). Written in Blood: The History of the Haitian People. Lantham, Md.: University Press of America.
  • Schmidt, Hans. The United States Occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1995.
  • Weinstein, Brian and Aaron Segal. Haiti: Political Failures, Cultural Successes (February 15, 1984 ed.). Praeger Publishers. p. 175. ISBN 0-275-91291-4.
  • Weston, Rubin Francis. Racism in U.S. Imperialism: The Influence of Racial Assumptions on American Foreign Policy, 1893-1946. Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press. 1972
Alix Mathon

Alix Mathon (9 October 1908 – 4 May 1985) was a Haitian novelist, lawyer, politician, and journalist. He received the France-Haïti prize for his novel La Fin des Baïonnettes, which described the events leading up to the United States' occupation of Haiti. Other notable novels by Mathon are Le Drapeau en Berne (1974), Témoignages sur les Evénements de 1957, and La Reléve de Charlemagne.

Battle of Fort Dipitie

The Battle of Fort Dipitie was fought in October 1915 during the United States occupation of Haiti. U.S. Marines and rebel Haitians — known as "Cacos" — fought at the Grande Riviere which resulted in the destruction of Fort Dipitie, an outpost of Fort Capois.

Battle of Fort Rivière

The Battle of Fort Rivière was the most remembered battle of the United States occupation of Haiti in 1915. U.S Marines and sailors fought at Fort Rivière against rebel Cacos.

Battle of Port-au-Prince (1919)

The Battle of Port-au-Prince took place on either October 6 or 7, 1919, when Haitian rebels, known as cacos, attacked the capital of Haiti during the Second Caco War and the American occupation of Haiti.

The assault began at 4:00 a.m., with between 200 and 300 cacos, armed with "swords, machetes, and pikes" and commanded by Charlemagne Masséna Péralte, entering the city from the North, only to be met by fearsome rifle and machine gun fire from the American Marines and Haitian gendarmes garrisoning the city. The latter were ready for the attack, since Péralte had "sent an advance warning to the British embassy." The defenders counterattacked and, within two minutes, the caco raid disintegrated.On October 8, Lieutenant Kemp C. Christian, leading 12 Haitian gendarmes, captured Péralte's base camp, killing 30 caco rebels and capturing 20 horses, some rifles and swords, and a field gun (Péralte's only one). The rebel leader managed to escape.

Battle of Port-au-Prince (1920)

The Battle of Port-au-Prince, or "la débâcle", took place on January 15, 1920 when Haitian rebels, known as cacos, attacked the capital of Haiti during the Second Caco War and the American occupation of Haiti.

At 4:00 a.m., "more than 300" caco rebels, many wearing the stolen uniform of the Haitian gendarmes, commanded by Benoît Batraville, attacked the city. The rebels moved into Port-au-Prince in columns, "with flags and conch horns blowing," only to be gunned down by Browning Automatic Rifle and machine gun fire. It turns out that the city's garrison of American Marines and Haitian gendarmes were ready for the assault, since a citizen who heard the rebels coming informed the former. The cacos were forced to break ranks and seek shelter in buildings, where they proceeded to snipe from windows and from around corners. One caco group attacked the city's slums and set a block on fire, which lit up "the entire surrounding countryside."One of the defenders' patrols, led by Lieutenant Gerald Thomas, met a caco force on the waterfront that was headed for the National Bank. Near the Iron Market, "a large number" of rebels was spotted coming down the street. The city's defenders detrucked and proceeded to open fire. Within five minutes, Thomas had lost one killed and six wounded, although the cacos were reportedly mowed down."Fully a fifth" of the caco attackers were killed, according to one estimate. Another source puts the number of rebel dead at 66, plus "many more" wounded and captured. One of the dead was Solomon Janvier, a Port-au-Prince resident and one of the leaders of the attack. The surviving cacos would remember the battle as "la débâcle." With the arrival of daylight, "patrols moved east and north of the city," killing "more than fifty" additional rebels.

Faustin E. Wirkus

Faustin Edmond Wirkus (born 16 November 1896, Pittston, Pennsylvania – died 8 October 1945, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.) was a Polish-American U.S. Marine stationed in Haiti during the United States occupation of Haiti (1915-1934). He was reputedly crowned Faustin II, King of La Gonâve, a Haitian island west of Hispaniola, on 18 July 1926, and ruled until he was transferred by the United States Marine Corps to the United States mainland in 1929.

Fritz Jean

Fritz Alphonse Jean (born 1956) is a notable Haitian economist, politician and writer who served as governor of the Banque de la République d'Haïti from 1998 until 2001. Since 2012, he is the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Professions of Nord-Est. and is part of the national commemoration committee of the 100-year anniversary of the United States occupation of Haiti.

Haiti during World War I

Following the United States declaration of war on Germany (1917), the Haitian government protested against the heavy German U-boat submarine activity in the area, and officially declared war on July 12, 1918.

Haitian–American Convention

The Haitian–American Convention was a treaty between those two nations, ratified by the United States Senate on 16 September 1915 (following the United States occupation of Haiti earlier that year) which granted the United States the right to provide security in and administer the finances of Haiti for a period of 10 years.

Herman H. Hanneken

Herman Henry Hanneken (June 23, 1893 – August 23, 1986) was a United States Marine Corps officer and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor.

Beginning his career as an enlisted man, Hanneken served in the Banana Wars of the 1910s and 1920s. During the United States occupation of Haiti, he assassinated the resistance leader Charlemagne Péralte, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Subsequently, granted a commission, Hanneken served in Haiti for several more months and was awarded a Navy Cross for killing another rebel leader. He received a second Navy Cross for his actions during the occupation of Nicaragua in the late 1920s.

After a decade of stateside duty, he served in the Pacific Theater of World War II. During this conflict, he was awarded the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star. He retired in 1948, after a thirty-four-year career, and was promoted in retirement to brigadier general.


Hinche (Haitian Creole: Ench; Spanish: Hincha) is a commune in the Centre department Haiti. It has a population of about 50,000. It is the capital of the Centre department. Hinche is the hometown of Charlemagne Péralte, the Haitian nationalist leader who resisted the United States occupation of Haiti that lasted between 1915–1934.

Hôpital Universitaire Justinien

Hôpital Universitaire Justinien is the main hospital in the second largest city in Haiti, Cap-Haïtien. It is located close to the center of the city near the Place d'Armes Cathedral. The hospital is named after Justinien Etienne, a local magistrate who spearheaded and oversaw the construction of the hospital. Hôpital Universitaire Justinien began as a hospice in 1890 and was later transformed into a hospital in 1920 during the United States occupation of Haiti.

Hôpital Universitaire Justinien is a teaching hospital with 250 inpatient beds, with approximately 60 medical residents training in disciplines including internal medicine, general surgery, family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, urology, orthopedic surgery, otolaryngology, and anesthesiology. With help from the University of Miami, the hospital was the first in Haiti to start a family medicine residency program. The hospital has a laboratory, pharmacy, and radiology services for both inpatients and outpatients.

The hospital receives some financial support through the state and private organizations, and is able to provide a level of free medical care in addition to its fee-based services.

Jean Price-Mars

Jean Price-Mars (15 October 1876 – 1 March 1969) was a Haitian doctor, teacher, politician, diplomat, writer, and ethnographer. Price-Mars served as secretary of the Haitian legation in Washington (1909) and as chargé d'affaires in Paris (1915–1917), during the initial years of the United States occupation of Haiti.

In 1922, Price-Mars completed medical studies which he had given up for lack of a scholarship.After withdrawing as a candidate for the presidency of Haiti in favor of Stenio Vincent in 1930, Price-Mars led Senate opposition to the new president; he was forced out of politics. In 1941, Price-Mars was again elected to the Senate. He was secretary of state for external relations in 1946 and, later, ambassador to the Dominican Republic. In his eighties, he continued service as Haitian ambassador at the United Nations and ambassador to France.

Leon Laleau

Léon Laleau (3 August 1892 –7 September 1979) was a Haitian writer, politician, and diplomat. Laleau is still recognized "as one of the most brilliant writers of his time" He received several international awards, such as the Edgar Allan Poe Prize in 1962. He was also a member of the Ronsard Academy, the Académie Méditerranéenne (Mediterranean Academy). He was recipient of numerous honors, including The Legion of Honor rank of Grand Officer (France), Saint Grégoire (Vatican), and Palms Académique, Arts et Lettres rank of Commandeur (France).

Born in Port-au-Prince, Laleau held two degrees, one in law and another in letters and sciences. As a politician, he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of National Education, Agriculture, and Public Works. He served in numerous diplomatic positions, such as Chief of Diplomatic Missions in Rome, London, Paris, Santiago, and Lima and Special Mission Ambassador to Panama, Cuba, the United Nations, and UNESCO. He was a signer of the 24 July 1934 accord which ended the United States' occupation of Haiti.

Roger Gaillard (historian)

Roger Gaillard (10 April 1923 – 2000) was a Haitian historian and novelist. Born in Port-au-Prince, Gaillard earned a philosophy degree at the University of Paris in France. He is best known for his multiple-volume chronicle of the United States' occupation of Haiti.

Rosalvo Bobo

Pierre François Joseph Benoit Rosalvo Bobo or Rosalvo Bobo (1874–1929) was a Haitian politician who opposed the United States occupation of Haiti in 1915. He led the Cacos Rebellion in response to the landing of US Marines at Port au Prince on 28 July 1915. Admiral William B. Caperton ordered the troops in after the death of Jean Vilbrun Guillaume Sam. In this way Bobo was prevented from becoming president with Philippe Sudré Dartiguenave being installed as a US puppet. Bobo first fled to Cuba, but then moved on to Jamaica. He finally settled in France, where he died in 1929.

Samuel Gross (Medal of Honor)

Samuel Gross (originally Samuel Marguiles) (May 9, 1891–September 13, 1934) was a Private in the United States Marine Corps, 23d Company who earned the Medal of Honor for his efforts during the United States occupation of Haiti in 1915.

Suzy Castor

Suzy Castor (born 1936) is a Haitian historian, educator and human rights activist.

She was born in Port-au-Prince and studied social sciences at the École normale supérieure there. Castor earned a PhD in history from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). While living in exile in Mexico, she was a professor of political science and of philosophy and letters at UNAM from 1968 to 1986. In the latter year, following the fall of Jean-Claude Duvalier, Castor and her husband Gérard Pierre-Charles returned to Haiti. In the same year, the couple founded the Centre de recherches et de formation économique et sociale pour le développement.Castor has published six books and over 50 articles in various journals on subjects including the United States occupation of Haiti, relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic and the women's movement in Haiti.In 2005, she received the Juan Maria Bandres Prize for the Defense of the Right of Asylum and Solidarity with Refugees. In 2015, she was awarded the Ohtli prize by the government of Mexico.

War Is a Racket

War Is a Racket is a speech and a 1935 short book, by Smedley D. Butler, a retired United States Marine Corps Major General and two-time Medal of Honor recipient. Based on his career military experience, Butler frankly discusses how business interests commercially benefit, such as war profiteering from warfare. He had been appointed commanding officer of the Gendarmerie during the United States occupation of Haiti, which lasted from 1915 to 1934.

After Butler retired from the US Marine Corps, he made a nationwide tour in the early 1930s giving his speech "War is a Racket". The speech was so well received that he wrote a longer version as a short book published in 1935. His work was condensed in Reader's Digest as a book supplement, which helped popularize his message. In an introduction to the Reader's Digest version, Lowell Thomas praised Butler's "moral as well as physical courage". Thomas had written Smedley Butler's oral autobiography.

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