Dominicans And Haitians Essay

1783 words - 8 pages

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Dominicans and Haitians

Few countries geographically close and as distinct culturally as Dominican Republic and Haiti yet there are many similarities between them. The Dominican Republic and Haiti were once colonies both having African roots, although one denies having African roots and the other acknowledges. Many Dominicans perceive their European/Hispanic identity to be superior. Dominicans became Dominicans after the Haitian occupation. By then the Dominicans were no longer Spanish, they were also to a large extent African in origin although the Spanish ...view middle of the document...

This represents a drastic change from Haiti, which was once the richest French colony. (Dash, 2001)
In 1822, Haiti, an independent, black republic, invaded the present-day Dominican Republic. Dominicans waged a successful revolt against Haitian rule almost one quarter of a century later. Haitian occupation had a lasting impact on the Dominican Republic. Although Dominicans are of African descent, they classify themselves as Indians rather than blacks. Dominican’s deny their African descent as a way to deny any kind of connection to Haiti. The development of strong political parties and democracy in the Dominican Republic somewhat comes from their desire of not being like Haiti.
Haiti won its independence from France in 1804 in the only successful slave revolt in history. Haiti has always relied on its main crops which consist of sugar and coffee as means of income and revenue. Since 1804, the Haitian population has grown from half-a-million people to about eight million people.
During the century of relative isolation that followed Haiti’s independence, the peasantry developed distinct traditions in religion, ritual, cuisine, music, dance, and dress. Many elements of the African culture has survived, such as prayers, words, and a few spirit entities, but the Haitian culture is distinct from the African culture and many other New World cultures.
Despite the presence of over a million Haitian farm workers, servants, and urban laborers, there exists an intense prejudice against the Haitian people. In 1937, the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo ordered a massacre of approximately fifteen to thirty-five thousand Haitian people living in the Dominican Republic.
Be it legal or not a marriage or union is typically considered complete and gets the respect of the community when a man builds a house for the woman and after the first child has been born. When marriage does occur, it is usually later in a couple's relationship, most of the time after a household has been established and the children have reached adulthood. Couples usually live on the property that belongs to the parents of the man.
Unlike Haitians the Dominican people usually marry and have children early. Most couples come together through religious and legal marriages, but consensual unions are still common. Legal unions are more prevalent in the urban areas, whereas consensual relationships or concubinage are more frequent in rural sections of the country.
Although not legal, about 10 percent of Haitian men have more than one wife. These relationships are acknowledged as being legitimate unions by the community. The women live with their children in separate homesteads that are provided for by the man. Polygamy is also a practice known of Dominican men to have multiple partners and more than one household.
About 95 percent of the Dominican population is Roman Catholic. Practicing Catholicism was introduced by Columbus and the Spanish...

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