Today in Haitian History - July 28, 1915 - Beginning of a 19 years U.S. Marine Occupation of Haiti.
Following the bloody assassination of Haitian President Vilbrun Guillaume Sam by an angry mob in Port-Au-Prince (in response to the equally bloody slaying of political prisoners days before), the United States felt it had no choice but to occupy the country to put an end to the violence and anarchy that had characterize Haitian politics since the late 19th century.
While these were certainly part of Washington’s overall considerations, most historians have pointed out that, from the beginning of the 1900s onwards, the United States attempted to pressure different Haitian governments into accepting a “peaceful” intervention in the country. In the 1910s, the United States battled with French interests for the control of the Banque Nationale d’Haiti. A few years before, it also took control of the neighbouring Dominican Republic customs, thus becoming arbitrator of the country’s economy (and occupying it officially as of 1916). More importantly however, there were many (misguided) accounts that Haiti was on the verge of being controlled by German merchants who were a small but powerful community in the island.
By 1915, one more incident was needed for the United States to enter Haiti and give its intervention the appearance of respecting international law. This “opportunity” came on the 28th of July and Marine forces occupied Haiti for the next 19 years.
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