By Anna Gaskell Observer Staff Writer (Editor’s note: A group of mostly Haitian refuges recently landed on Nevis and were detained, which highlights the continuing problems besetting Haiti. Natural and man-made disasters plague the country. Last spring, rising food costs led to unrest that forced the prime minister to resign and political unrest continues to disrupt Haiti. In the coming weeks, The Observer will be looking at the problems of our neighbor nation to the north.) By 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte was in power in France. His despotic power marked the end of the revolution. Back in San Domingo in 1800, the civil war between the blacks and the Mulattoes was won by Toussaint’s forces. Many Mulattoes chose to leave San Domingo rather than serve under Toussaint. But those who stayed began to think that the civil war had been kindled by the whites in order to weaken both sides and restore slavery. Wednesday Online Code for Issue # 734 is CUP San Domingo was devastated by years of civil and foreign war.” Of the 30,000 whites in the colony in 1789, only 10,000 remained. Of the 40,000 free Mulattoes and blacks there were about 30,000, while of the 500,000 black slaves, perhaps one third had perished. Toussaint set about restoring the country, hoping to boost agriculture again. During the previous wars, he had tried to encourage his followers not to neglect the land; they still needed food. Many former slaves were reluctant to go back to cultivating the land, but Toussaint promised to pay them a quarter of their produce to prove that he was acting in good faith. The revolution in France had taught the San Domingo people that personal liberty was their right. The ex-slave Toussaint, who was now Governor of San Domingo, set about creating a society based on this foundation. He wanted to encourage personal industry, social morality, public education, religious toleration, civic pride, and racial equality. He had a lot of success. Cultivation prospered again, but this time not off the blood and sweat of slaves. Toussaint’s inspections of agricultural progress around the country often came unannounced. He was known to often leave a town in his carriage surrounded by guards, and then some miles away he would step out of it and ride on horseback in the opposite direction. In addition to overseeing everything in San Domingo, he wrote countless diplomatic letters every day and slept only two hours each night. For days he would be satisfied with two bananas and a glass of water. This tireless Governor wrote a Constitution for San Domingo in 1801, which outlawed slavery forever. When the French received a copy of the Constitution they saw that it left no place for any French official in the governance of San Domingo. In fact, it sounded a lot like independence.
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