VI. The World Wars and the Interwar Period, 1914–1945 > E. Latin America and the Caribbean, 1914–1945 > 5. The West Indies > e. Haiti
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1915, July 3)
e. Haiti
1914, Dec. 17
Fearing German designs on Haiti, and wanting to protect American commercial interests there, U.S. Marines landed at Port-au-Prince and seized $500,000 in gold coin from the National Bank. These actions marked the beginning of a 20-year period during which American troops would occupy Haiti (permanent occupation began in July 1915). The country had been in a state of constant unrest for several years, following upon a century of economic and environmental decline due in part to the inefficiency of Haiti's peasant-based agriculture. Unrest was intensified by the tensions between Haiti's small (10 percent) mulatto population, which held most of the power and wealth, and the large black population, which lived in extreme poverty. During the occupation the U.S. controlled Haitian customs and the police.  1
Philippe Dartiguenave, president.  2
1915, Sept. 16
Due to a fear that Haitian instability would make the nation an easy target for outside powers, the U.S. Marines occupied Haiti (to stay there until 1934). The U.S. also took over the financial administration of the country and the customs houses in order to ensure timely payment of the Haitian foreign debt. Over the next three decades the U.S. would come to control most aspects of Haitian political life, from the organization of the military to the choice of political leaders.  3
1918, June 19
A new constitution was introduced.  4
July 12
Haiti declared war on Germany.  5
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.