Constitution of Haiti


The 1801 Constitution of Haiti, promulgated in the wake of the Haitian Revolution that had begun in 1791, was the first in a series of some twenty-three constitutions that have been adopted in that nation. Haiti, at the time called Saint Domingue, had been a French colony since the late seventeenth century; the name Haiti, from the indigenous name Ayiti (“mountainous land”) was adopted at independence in 1804. Along with Jamaica, Haiti produced the bulk of the world's sugar in a plantation economy built on the backs of slaves imported from Africa. The Haitian Revolution was essentially a slave revolt, the only successful slave revolt in modern history. As a result of the revolt, Haiti became the first independent nation in Latin America, the second in the Western Hemisphere (after the United States), and the first postcolonial nation led by blacks.

The Constitution of Haiti of 1801, sometimes called the Saint Domingue Constitution, was written by a ten-member committee,...

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Toussaint Louverture (Library of Congress)

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