Throughout until 1697, in which Spanish handed over the

Throughout
the island’s history there has been a long struggle in which the western Haiti tried
multiple attempts to take over the Dominican Republic’s land on the eastern
side of the island. The conflict between these two nations started during
colonial times and still affects them today. The division of Hispaniola mostly
started because of Europe’s struggle for control of the New World throughout
the 17th century, which caused France and Spain to begin fighting
for control of the island. The entire island was once entirely under Spanish
rule until 1697, in which Spanish handed over the western third of the island
to France. This area called “Saint-Domingue” became the wealthiest French
colony. Thousands of slaves were brought there to produce sugar, coffee, coco,
cotton, and other goods. Then in 1791, there was a slave rebellion. It started
in the upper half of Saint Domingue (Haiti) and soon spread to the whole
island. The French Revolution was also occurring at that time. The Haitian
Revolution was a revolution within a revolution with France being unstable. Afterwards,
slavery was abolished, and the

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western side gained
independence on January 1, 1804 after a great battle. Saint-Domingue was then renamed
Haiti. The
Dominican Republic also became independent from Spain on December 1, 1821,
after more than 300 years of Spanish rule.

            Continuing forward, even the agriculture on opposite
sides of the island were different. The area that was used and good for
agriculture in Haiti was small, as most of Haiti’s land is mountainous compared
to that of the Dominican Republic side. The land has much more limestone
terrain, with soil that is thinner and less fertile. Its capacity for recovery
was also low.

Even though the Haitian side
of the island was environmentally worse, it developed a

rich agricultural economy
even before the Dominican side did. It became France’s most valuable colony overseas
since it produced one of the most profitable crops–sugar. However, on the
Dominican Republic side, Spain in the late 1500s began to neglect Hispaniola
because Spain itself was also in an economic decline. They thought Santo
Domingo, which was a small colony, did not have a great supportive impact for
the economy of Spain. Unlike the other European nations who contained many
people from the homelands, not many Spaniards came to Spain. It was mostly left
to the overseers and the slave labor force. This is another reason why Spain
was not as concerned about its colony. Even though, by the end of the
eighteenth century, economic situations were improving, the people of Santo
Domingo still did not get the same level of prosperity that Saint-Domingue had.
This also contributed to the separate paths of the two countries.

Following,
due to Santo Domingo not having as much success as Saint-Domingue did at the
time, they did not need as much slaves as Saint-Domingue did. The Spanish also allowed
a

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slave to purchase his and his
family’s freedom for a relatively small amount, which caused there to be a
higher number of freedmen in the Spanish colony. By the eighteenth century,
freedmen made up most of the population of Santo Domingo. Since France had the funds
and manpower, they enjoyed an economic boom. This would not last long without
the financial support of the French. After Haiti’s independence in 1804, its time
of wealth came at the cost of its own

environment. They sold off
trees to make ends meet and this eroded their soil. Many of the nations that traded
with Haiti were now afraid of this new nation; especially America. They were
scared that their own slaves would now try to revolt and they did not want that
since they still needed the labor force. New laws were passed in America and
trade with Haiti was stopped. This crippled the Haitian economy. The freed
slaves thought they would be prosperous and a better nation, but the results
were the opposite.

Haiti,
due to importing so much slaves had a much greater population than
its neighbor did during those times, and even today still does, but Haiti also
does not have as much area as the Dominican Republic. As a result, Haiti, with
a larger population and smaller area, has double the Republic’s population
density with less land mass and less fertile soil to use for economic
development (). This eventually contributed to
harming the Haitian economy while the Dominican economy remained stable.

            Furthermore, both colonies were also different in terms
of language and European ties. The different political and social conditions in
both countries would create sharply different economies, which in turn shaped
race relations (). The result was that the free
European and the enslaved African populations remained separate in
Saint-Domingue but mixed in Santo

Domingo().At the beginning of Haitian independence, and their
people trapped and fighting

for limited territory, so the
conflicts between Haiti and the Dominican Republic became

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frequent in the 19th century.
The French started invading Santo Domingo believing they could unify all of Hispaniola
into one combined nation. They succeeded, and the eastern part of the island
remained under Haitian control for twenty-two years.

In the
years under Haitian occupation, the Dominican Republic witnessed a steady
economic decline and growing resentment toward Haiti among Dominicans (). Also, the agricultural aspects in the former
Spanish colony started to become like the agriculture in Haiti, which at that
time, sadly, had little to no agricultural production for distribution. The Haitian
forces lived off the land in Santo Domingo, taking or confiscating anything
they needed

to perform their duties or to
fill their stomachs. Dominicans saw this as tribute demanded by petty
conquerors, who were seen as thieves ().

            Continuing, racial dislikes affected both sides. Black
Haitian troops reacted with resentment against the lighter-skinned Dominicans,
while Dominicans came to associate the Haitians’ dark skin with the oppression
and the abuses of occupation (). Religious and
cultural life also suffered under Haitian rule. The Haitians, who associated
the Roman Catholic Church with the French colonists who had exploited and
abused them before independence, confiscated all church property in the east,
deported all foreign clergy, and severed the ties of the remaining clergy to
the Vatican (). For Dominicans, who were great
believers of the Roman Catholic church, the actions of Haiti were insulting and
negative. In addition, upper class Haitians

considered French culture superior
to Spanish culture, while Haitians soldiers and others from the lower class simply
disregarded Hispanic values and customs ().

 

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Due to
the Haitian government’s mismanagement, heavy military disputes, and an
economic crisis, the Haitian government became even more unpopular in the east,
so the Dominican people decided to overthrow the Haitian government. Following,
the Dominican then fought “The Dominican Independence War” which gave the
Dominican Republic independence from Haiti on February 27, 1844. And, after
multiple attempts over the years a boundary agreement was finally signed
between the two nations in 1936, establishing a definitive border between the
Dominican Republic and Haiti. After so many years of uncertainty over the
borders, the people who lived in the border regions, and who were now randomly
assigned a new country, were not about to move. Creole speakers did not stop
speaking their language, even though the

land they lived on now happened
to be Dominican. This caused so much
tension between the two nations because change is not so easy for everyone. There
were so much disputes that there was even a time when the split between the two
countries was drawn with blood. This was known as the 1937 Parsley Massacre.

The Parsley Massacre is usually regarded as a turning point in
Haitian-Dominican relations. The slaughter, carried out by Dominican dictator
Rafael Trujillo, targeted Haitians along with Dominicans who looked dark enough
to be Haitian. These people were asked to pronounce the word
“perejil”, believed to be hard for Haitians because of the
“r” and the “j”. Everyone who failed the test were killed. The
number of dead is still unknown, though it is now calculated between 20,000 and
30,000. This
massacre is a very dark spot in Dominican history against the Haitians, but
most
Dominican people did not participate in Trujillo’s massacre of the Haitians. Many
Haitians were saved by good-hearted Dominicans who could not accept the
killings that were done. The best example of this fact is the Dominican
politician, Jose Maria

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PeZa Gomez, who is believed
to be of Haitian descent, and who escaped the massacre because a White
Dominican family adopted him. Despite his color he was very popular among
Dominican voters.

Moving
forward, after everything that Haiti had been through it became one of the
poorest countries in the Western world. Its poverty has created constant
frictions between itself and the Dominican Republic due to Haiti now having to
depend on the Dominican Republic for job support, its illegal immigration activity,
and the use of the Dominican Republic’s infra structure. Due to this, the
Dominicans started exploiting thousands of Haitians and denying them even basic
rights. Haitians felt like they were once again being treated like slaves and
not equals. Now the Dominicans are seen as “higher” than the Haitians. Police had engaged in indiscriminate round-ups of Haitians, even
those born in the Dominican Republic. Thousands of Haitians left or had been
forced to leave. In fact, on September 2013 the Constitutional Tribunal of the
Dominican Republic stripped citizenship from descendants of people who were
deemed to have been in the Dominican Republic illegally. This left more than an
estimated 200,000 people stateless by removing their citizenship, refusing to
issue them birth certificates and identity documents, thus denationalizing them
and creating what has been justifiably termed the “Western Hemisphere’s worst
refugee crisis.” This is also why there is still tension between
the two, even till today.

Another
factor that contributes to the conflicts between both countries is language.

Spanish is the Dominican
Republic’s official language. Spanish, just so happens to be the world’s second
most widely spoken language, including over half of the Americas. Meanwhile,

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90% of Haitians speak Haitian
Creole, which most of the outside world would not speak, so this kind of leaves
Haiti isolated in comparison to the Dominican Republic.

             In conclusion though
Haiti and the Dominican Republic may share one island, their histories unfolded
quite differently. In the past, Haiti was the wealthy colony, and Santo Domingo
was just a normal one. Through the course of history, the Dominican Republic’s
economy began to grow while Haiti’s economy began to decline.  The differences in languages, values, and history
between the two nations are so vast that they add up to a clash of cultures. Haiti
inspires fear and dislike among many Dominicans. Meanwhile, the Haitians see
the Dominican as their abusers, like they were turning back into slaves without
any rights. The culture clashes, huge immigration-related problems, racism and
genocide are all factors that caused such discord between the nations. It is a
fact that the present-day division of the island of Hispaniola is a consequence
of the bitter European struggle for control of the New World during the 17th
century. This led to the two rival colonies that were virtually forced to
follow different paths that would greatly affect the people’s mindset of each
other.