Historical Highlights of Haiti and Its Link to Black Heritage;
Introduction of Culturally Competent Physicians Helping Haiti
While the nation and Island of Haiti was well known before the earthquake of 2010, its history is much less well known. Therefore, Health Power considered providing a small bit of Haiti’s history helpful in order for our users, especially those who appreciate the importance of history, to better understand the context within which Haiti has survived. Haiti’s history underscores why it is so important that there be an ongoing global response to its need for active and ongoing support, until it can overcome the devastating physical and human impact of the 2010 Haitian earthquake.
Historical Excerpts of Haiti:
1492 – The island that became Haiti is reported to have been discovered by Christopher Columbus on December 5, 1492. It was then inhabited by the Taino, an Arawakan people, who called their island Ayiti, Bohio, or Kiskeya. Columbus claimed the island for the Spanish Crown and renamed it La Isla Espanola (the Spanish Island), or Hispanola.
1697 – Spanish control over the colony ended with the Treaty of Ryswick, which divided the island into French controlled St. Domingue, and Spanish Santo Domingo. At the height of slavery, some 500,000 people, mainly of Western African origin, were enslaved by the French.
1781 to 1803 – A slave rebellion occurred which led to a 13-year war of liberation against St. Domingue’s colonists and later, Napoleon’s army, assisted by Spanish and British forces.
1803 – The Haitian blue and red flag was created by taking the French tricolor blue, red and white, turning it onto its side, and removing the white band. The battle of Vertieres marked the ultimate victory of the former slaves over the French.
1838 – France recognized Haitian independence in exchange for a financial indemnity of 150 million francs. Most nations shunned Haiti for almost 40 years, being fearful that its example could cause unrest in other slaveholding countries. Over the next few decades, Haiti was forced to obtain loans of 70 million francs to repay the indemnity and gain international recognition.
1838 – – – – – 2010 Subsequent loans to Haiti from various nations, which were not, or could not be repaid, are considered by many to have contributed significantly to Haiti’s status as the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere.
The remainder of Haiti’s long and compelling history since 1838 has been dotted – off and on – with great political conflict and struggle, as well as long-standing poverty. Especially noteworthy, however, has been the sustained demonstration by Haiti’s people of a determined will to live.
January 12, 2010 – The will to live of Haiti’s population was overwhelmingly demonstrated after they felt the sudden and great shock, tremble, and movement of their land, and experienced the widescale destruction and loss which followed.
After the Hurricane of 2010: It is vitally necessary that those who recognize the importance of physical, mental and spiritual health,“Remember and continue to Help Haiti”. Further, when all the media are gone, and much of the help is gone, many needs of Haiti will still be there. So give now, give later, and find out if there are other ways you can help. Most importantly, don’t just remember Haiti, do something to help protect and sustain this very important asset of Black Heritage
U.S. Based Haitian and Other Culturally Competent Physicians Helping Haiti
While there are a number of credible organizations helping Haiti, we are pleased to introduce two more that are not as well known as they should be:
1. Association of Haitian Physicians Abroad, or Association des Medecins Haitiens a l’Etanger (AMHE), located at www.amhe.org. AMHE has been deploying physicians, nurses other medical personnel and medical supplies to Haiti since the earthquake, and working side by side with their Haiti based colleagues.
2. Empire State Medical Association (ESMA), a chapter of the National Medical Association whose President is Daniel LaRoche , M.D. of Haitian descent. ESMA, at www.nyesma.org, is partnering with AMHE’s relief effort.