This timeline is the result of a final project by Kona Shen at Brown University. Thank you to the Brown University Department of Africana Studies and the Brown University Library for hosting this site from 2008-2022 at https://library.brown.edu/haitihistory/index.html
This site was last updated in July 2022. With feedback, questions, or comments, please get in touch.
This site started as a project at Brown University in 2008 as I tried to understand the dates, locations, and key figures of the Haitian Revolution during an independent course with Professor Tony Bogues. I had spent the previous summer in Leogane, Haiti, and I was fascinated by the country's history, culture, and environment. I spent my time at Brown studying Haiti through coursework, a campus job at the John Carter Brown Library (where I got to study rare primary sources), and an internship with the Haitian government during summer break. In 2010, I was writing my senior thesis, "Failing Haiti: How Blame, Disasters, and Foreign Aid Have Destroyed the Haitian Environment," when a massive earthquake struck Haiti. lt was yet another devastating blow to a nation that had suffered so much throughout history due to both domestic crises and foreign intervention. By this point, I knew parts of Haiti firsthand, spoke Kreyòl, and was desperate to get on the ground to help. I volunteered as an interpreter during an aid trip in March 2010 and moved to Leogane just weeks after graduating Brown in May to start GOALS Haiti. In a country where NGOs often did more harm than good, I wanted to collaborate on equal footing with rural communities to help them rebuild in the ways that they thought best. GOALS is still going strong today and is a constant reminder that Haiti is much more than the headlines we see and the poverty it's known for.
The Haitian Revolution Timeline started as a class project but over time, it has taken on a life of its own. Since publishing the Timeline on the Brown University Library website in 2008 at https://library.brown.edu/haitihistory/, countless students from around the world have contacted me about their own projects. As I updated the site in 2022, I was amazed to see how widely the Timeline has spread around the web and all the different places it's cited.
In updating the site, I made a conscious effort to improve the Timeline in a few specific ways. First, I added more information about the indigenous Taíno population that inhabited Ayti during the pre-Columbus era. Second, I cast a critical eye on how enslaved Africans were portrayed in the Timeline, both through writing and images, and tried to provide additional context and detail to help readers understand key events. Third, I added more citations to properly attribute direct quotes where possible, updated the Resources page and provided new recommendations on how readers can learn more about Haiti today.
This is a living resource and there is still so much more work that can be done. My goals are to continue to add new images that better represent the Haitian Revolution, research new details that help bring key events to life, and incorporate feedback from collaborators who suggest changes. For readers, I hope that the Timeline helps capture this fascinating period of Haiti's history and I look forward to hearing what you think.
- Kona Shen, July 2022
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