Internal Turbulence 1904 – 1957



1 January Haiti celebrates 100 years of independence. Haiti’s national debt is estimated at $41 million with more than 80% of the national revenue going to repayment of debt to western nations.


President Woodrow Wilson ordered the U.S. Marines to occupy Haiti and establish control over customs-houses and port authorities. The Haitian National Guard is created by the occupying Americans. The Marines force peasants into corvée labor building roads. Peasant resistance to the occupiers grows under the leadership of Charlemagne Peralt, who is betrayed and assassinated by Marines in 1919.


The US rewrites the Haitian constitution to allow foreigners to own land in Haiti.


Led by Charlemagne Péralte, peasant-based guerilla warfare against the US marines escalates.


Péralte is assassinated, leading to the end of the peasant insurrection. Ten thousand are estimated to have died.


The U.S. withdraws from Haiti leaving the Haitian Armed Forces in place throughout the country. Displacing peasants, more than 226,000 acres of land are ceded to North American companies who benefited from cheap Haitian labor at 20 cents per day. US investments in Haiti triple during the occupation.Haitian national banks and treasury are now owned by National City Bank of New York (now Citibank).


Thousands of Haitians living near the border of the Dominican Republic are massacred by Dominican soldiers under the orders of President General Trujillo.


Under the government of Élie Lescot, the Protestant Church shared with the Voodoo religion suffered the persecution of the Catholic Church.


8 December The bicentennial of Port-au-Prince’s founding is celebrated; a World’s Fair, the Exposition internationale du bicentenaire de Port-au-Prince, is held.


8 October Presidential and legislative elections are held; Colonel Paul Magloire becomes the first president of Haiti to be elected directly by the people, the Delegates, and the Senators.