Santo Domingo’s Situation Months Before Dessalines Invasion

On August 4, 1804 a copy of an article on what was the situation on the Spanish part of the island of Santo Domingo months before Dessalines invades was published in The National Intelligencer: Washington Advertiser. The update on the situation in Santo Domingo was only months before Jean Jacques Dessalines committed one of the most atrocious Haitian invasion of Dominican territory. The news was given by Captain Clark of the Louisa boat upon arrival at Philadelphia. The original article was published in The Lazaretta of Philadelphia.

General Observations

  • At the beginning of 1804 the Haitian blacks declared their independence and named their new country Haiti. In March of the same year Jean Jacques Dessalines gives the orders to begin the general massacre of the white French population. From the very beginning the Haitians sustained that the entire island of Santo Domingo and the adyacent islands was theirs.
  • From 1802 the Spanish part of the island was under French leadership. On the arrival of the French troops sent by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Spanish part of the island accepted the rule of General Leclerc. Once he died of Yellow Fever the leadership position was replaced by General Ferrand. The Dominicans accpeted the French leadership because it was believed that their personal and material interests was going to be in better hands under French rule than under Haitian rule.  In addition, since the time Spain ceded the Spanish part of the island to France the Dominican population longed to return to the Kingdom of Spanish, a country the Dominicans shared a common origin, language, customes, and ideals. The Dominicans also believed that transitioning a return to Spain was easier to acheive via a temporary acceptance of French rule rather than Haitian rule.

Observations of the Article

  • During the Haitian Revolution, England had a maritime blockade on the French part of the island of Santo Domingo. The purpose was to impede a French exodus via the sea and any help the French could had received from foreign sources, which obviously required arrival by sea. This blockade was not extended on the Spanish part of the island.
  • The conflict that arose between Haitian leaders Henri Christophe and Jean Jacques Dessalines was perceived as potentitally devastating for the Haitian goal of acheiving their independence from France. Eventually they declared their independence on January 1, 1804.
  • Halfway through 1804 General Ferrand didn’t felt threatened by the blacks. According to reports at that time, there were no Haitian blacks within a radius of approximately 190 kilometers (118 miles) from the city of Santo Domingo. Unfortunately, in the first months of 1805 the fury of the Haitians reached the very gates and walls of the city of Santo Domingo. In that year Jean Jacques Dessalines put in place what they called The Campaign of the East. This was the bloodiest, saddened, and most devastating episode that the Dominican people have ever suffered.


The Article

Article published on August 4, 1804 in The Naitonal Intelligencer: Washington Advertiser of Washington DC, United States. It was a reprint of the original article published on July 23, 1804 in The Lazaretta of Philadelphia, United States.