Haiti is among the poorest nations in the world and it is the single poorest country in the western hemisphere. Yet, Haiti once possessed the exact opposite connotation. Haiti was once the French colony of Saint-Domingue, the wealthiest, most profitable colony in the world. Saint-Domingue was France’s most prized possession and it became the prime destination for fortune seeking Frenchmen. However, the vast majority of people did not benefit from the colony’s robust economy, as Saint- Domingue became an economic powerhouse as a plantation economy based on slave labor.
In 1791, slaves and free blacks rebelled against their masters and the colonial administrators in order to claim freedom and equal rights for themselves. The rebel forces defeated the French army in 1803, which made the Haitian Revolution the first successful slave revolt. Thus, on January 1, 1804, the rebels declared independence and created the modem nation of Haiti, the first black republic. The Haitian Revolution and the subsequent declaration of independence caused an economic decline that has left Haiti mired in poverty.