The Haitian Revolution refers to the influential anti-slavery rebellion in the former French colony of Santo Domingue, now known as Haiti. The revolution took place between the years of 1791 and 1804, and was a war waged by slaves and some free peoples against French authority. Slaves self-liberated and destroyed the institution of slavery in their colony which eventually led to the foundation of Haiti as a sovereign state. The Haitian slave revolution was the only slave revolution to ever result in the founding of a new state which would be free from slavery, and it was the largest slave insurrection since Spartacus.
It is clear that the Haitian Revolution was highly significant and impactful, although it was not widely recognized and studied until the past few decades. One may ask then, why is it that the Haitian Revolution is marginally forgotten. Other revolutions such as the American and French Revolutions are extensively documented in history and studied across the globe. The American Revolution was a political revolution that took place from 1765 to 1783. In this revolution, American Colonists called to become a sovereign state, seceding from British parliamentary rule. They fought against taxation by the British when there were no British representatives in their colonies. Their fight against the British rule led to the creation of the United States of America. The United States of America developed into a world superpower and was arguably the strongest force in the world throughout the 1900s. The United States, referred to as the free world, quickly became a symbol for freedom and democracy. The United States still remains one of the most influential and powerful nations in the world, and a symbol of democracy that many revolutionized nations in the twentieth century have based their own constitutions upon.
One of the other most significant and widely celebrated revolutions, the French Revolution, followed the American Revolution as it took place between the years of 1789 and 1799. It was marked by widespread political and social unrest which led to the overthrow of the monarchy and established a republic. As was the American Revolution, the French Revolution was highly influential. The two together seemed to spark a global deterioration of absolute monarchies. The French Revolution is regarded by some as the most influential event in all of history.
Why then, was the Haitian Revolution, in comparison, forgotten? It can be argued that the Haitian Revolution was even more influential than some other revolutions such as the French or American revolutions on the grounds that the Haitian Revolution was also an anti-slavery movement that preceded many anti-slavery campaigns around the world. The Haitian Revolution was arguable before its time and went unremembered. I wonder what implications this has for social and political movements today? Will important social movements in the United States and other areas go widely forgotten? Part of me believes that it is primarily a problem of location. Often times people forget that societal and political movements happen in less influential nations as well. Years down the road will we remember all of the nations that legalized gay marriage before the United States? Because the United States, and certain other influential nations are such super powers their contributions to societal and political movements are the ones that will be remembered even if they were not exactly the pioneers of such movements.