Arawak Indianswere the original inhabitants of this island when Columbus arrived. Later, theisland became a colony of England. Haiti remained virtually unsettled until themid-17th century, when French colonists, importing African slaves, developedsugar plantations in the north. Under French rule from 1697, Haiti (then calledSaint-Domingue) became one of the world’s richest sugar and coffee producers.
Soon, Haiti became a land of wealth with the vast use of slavery as their methodof production. The rising demand for sugar, coffee, cotton, and tobacco createda greater demand for slaves by other slave trading countries. Spain, France, theDutch, and English were in competition for the cheap labor needed to work theircolonial plantation system producing those lucrative goods. The slave trade wasso profitable that, by 1672, the Royal African Company chartered by Charles IIof England superseded the other traders and became the richest shipper of humanslaves to the mainland of the Americas. The slaves were so valuable to the openmarket – they were eventually called “Black Gold.
” Plantation ownersbegan to be represented in the colony either by their agents or plantationmanagers, who kept them, informed of production levels, profits, expenses, andthe general operations of the plantation. The arrogance and conceit of theseagents, or procurers, was that they were surrounded by a multitude of domesticslaves to satisfy every want or need of their own. The greater number ofdomestic slaves one may have entails a great amount of prestige for these peoplein their time of the early 1700’s and no though was given to the immoral waysand acts taken by their race because they though it not an issue. Plantationowners and those of the like continued to be heavily involved in social aspectsof culture and the French way of life. Commuting from their authoritativelyconstructed world of pleasure in France with wealth and prestige combined withthe occasional visits to the plantation for business.
The life of a plantationowner and those that surround him is of luxury and negative profusion. TheHaitians are almost wholly black, with a culture that is a unique mixture ofAfrican and French influences. Haiti was a French colony until 1791 when, firedby the example of the French Revolution, the black slaves revolted, massacredthe French landowners and proclaimed the world’s first black republic. As noted,this is the first revolution of slaves against their owners and their successdid not go unnoticed.
The treatment of slaves around the globe is quite unjust. Because of the colonization of Haiti by France, the importation of Africanslaves, and the original inhabitants, the Arawak Indians, three languages werespoken on the island. This sparked a need for a common language between theinhabitants of the island. In fact, a large factor in the success of the HaitianRevolution (1804) was the creation of Haitian Creole through African dialectsand French.
The fact that the majority of the residents spoke their languagemade their domination even more prevalent. The language was created through theslavery and the need for communication. The people of Haiti were also aware thatCreole was spreading to Jamaica as well and their match had been met. ‘Invisible’ and anxious to be ‘seen’ by their masters, the privileged few of theblack culture and the mass of freed blacks conceived of visibility through theeyes of their masters’ already uncertain vision of life. The slaves of Haitirose up against their French and mulatto masters in August of 1791. This markedthe beginning of the end of one of the greatest wealth-producing slave coloniesthe world had ever known.
The early leaders forming the core of this movementwere Boukman Dutty, Jeannot Bullet, Jean-Francois, and George Biassou. Later,slaves armies were commanded by General Toussaint who was eventually betrayed byhis officers Jean-Jacques Dessalines and Henri Christophe who opposed hispolicies. The revolt consisted of long days and nights and the energy tocontinue to fight and defend their cause. It ended in 1804 and the island ofHaiti became a free land without slavery. Haitian Creole preserves much ofFrench phonological, morphological, syntactical, and lexical characteristics,but a merger of both French structural features and West African featurescharacterizes the language.
The inflectional system of French is greatlyreduced. As with the pidgin languages, which result from the need to communicatewith the overseers and those who did not share the same language, this was adevelopment in linguistics, which is still studied today. The expansion andstrength of the languages are a part of our history and are present in otherlands of slavery and persecution. Although pidgin is used for trade only and forno social communication, its use resulted in a new form of communication, orlanguage, for the new people in the New World.
The bioprogram hypothesis (Goodenhandout) “claims that Pidgin/Creole is the “invention” ofchildren growing in a multiracial community. These children find the”language” being spoken inadequate and without enough structure tofunction as a natural language. ” This is true because the children andwomen slaves needed to communicate with others slaves from different Africandialects and they needed to communicate with the overseers as well. Today,Haitian Creole is spoken by 95% of the people who live there.
It is also has thelargest number of speakers of the Caribbean Creoles. Speakers include 700,000 inHaiti; 159,00 in the Dominican Republic; and 200,000 in New York City. French isan official language along with Haitian Creole, yet many people in Haiti do notspeak French. It became the official language in 1804 at the end of therevolution. The Haitian flag was a result of removing the white band from theFrench flag and turning it on its side. The decision for the flag came fromthose who were victorious in the revolution and its leaders of freedom.
It isalso meaningful to know that many of the migrants from Haiti are driven not onlyby political issues but also by the immense amount of AIDS and other third worldcountry issues like potable water, deforestation and soil erosion. Although,Haiti is still plentiful with trees and vegetation, a large amount of theirfarmland is being destroyed and food has become a rare commodity to those whoare underprivileged. They result in fleeing the country and in the 1980’s, itwas reported than more than 500,000 Haitians had migrated to the United States,legally and illegally, to New York, Miami, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia. Theinformation on Haitian Creole is quite scarce and the resources of worthwhileinformation regarding the creation and purpose Creole has served in Haiti, andother places, is not available.
Many resources regarding the Haitian Revolutionare present and the requirement focuses more on the impact and development ofthe language. The ability to make communication work in a confused andinappropriate era of turmoil in the eyes of the slaves is a profound result ofGod and life. The development of another language out of others is mind-power,strength, inventiveness and tenacity. The people of Haiti continue to bemistreated and neglected by many countries of the United Nations. The UnitedStates can apply only so much support to one country since we are looking aftermany countries as the lead nation in the world as support.
The assistance thatis needed by Haiti is of immense detail and the feats of success are few and farbetween for many of the local people in Haiti. Problems exist here because ofthe age-old tradition of neglect and desecration of the people of Haiti andtheir ancestors who hands created the land of wealth that benefited those beforethem. BibliographyScott III, Julius Sherrard “The Common Wind” UMI Publishing 1986Dayan, Joan “Haiti, History, and the Gods” University of CaliforniaPress 1995 Fick, Carolyn E. “The Making Of Haiti: The Saint DomingueRevolution from Below” The University of Tennessee Press 1990 http://babel.uoregon.edu/romance/rl407/creole/haitian.htmlTitle: Haitian Creole Yahoo search http://www.eli.wayne.edu/students/Newsletter96F1/creole.htmlTitle: The Origin of Haitian Creole Yahoo search