After revolutionary cooperation between Dominican and Haitian majorities produced independence across Hispaniola, Dominican elites crafted negative myths about this era that contributed to anti-Haitianism.
Despite the island's long-simmering tensions, Dominicans and Haitians once unified Hispaniola. Based on research from over two dozen archives in multiple countries, Siblings of Soil presents the overlooked history of their shared imperial endings and national beginnings from the 1780s to 1822. Haitian revolutionaries both inspired and aided Dominican antislavery and anti-imperial movements. Ultimately, Santo Domingo's independence from Spain came in 1822 through unification with Haiti, as Dominicans embraced citizenship and emancipation. Their collaboration resulted in one of the most unique and inclusive forms of independence in the Americas.
Elite reactions to this era formed anti-Haitian narratives. Racial ideas permeated the revolution, Vodou, Catholicism, secularism, and even Deism. Some Dominicans reinforced Hispanic and Catholic traditions and cast Haitians as violent heretics who had invaded Dominican society, undermining the innovative, multicultural state. Two centuries later, distortions of their shared past of kinship have enabled generations of anti-Haitian policies, assumptions of irreconcilable differences, and human rights abuses.
Charlton W. Yingling is an assistant professor at the University of Louisville. He coedited the book Free Communities of Color and the Revolutionary Caribbean.
Yingling offers a major contribution to the scholarship on the Age of Revolutions through the lens of the island of Hispaniola. His well-researched and illuminating presentation challenges historical distortions and sheds light on cooperative anticolonial defiance and political and cultural interdependence between Haitians and the Dominicans in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
~Michele Reid-Vazquez, University of Pittsburgh, author of The Year of the Lash: Free People of Color in Cuba and the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World
Siblings of Soil is an excellent and urgently needed book. It tells the story of the Haitian Revolution and Haitian independence from a new and necessary vantage point (Santo Domingo), while also narrating the reality of Dominican decolonization and Haitian unification. The author situates this layered and complex narrative in the histories of the Spanish Empire, the French Empire, the Haitian Revolution, and Latin American wars for independence, placing it at the crux of multiple historiographies for a broad audience.
~Julia Gaffield, College of William and Mary, author of Haitian Connections in the Atlantic World: Recognition after Revolution
Yingling’s Siblings of Soil is a history of the Haitian Revolution and its aftermath that focuses on the militaristic, religious, and kinship ties between Haitians and the Spanish side of the island. Grounded in astonishing archival research that spans Europe, the Caribbean, the United States, and Australia, Siblings of Soil demonstrates how African descendants across Hispaniola collaborated across time to ultimately unify the island under Haiti in 1822. This contribution centers the whole island in the broader historical literature on the Age of Revolutions. It moreover is a poignant reminder of a bygone era of cooperation in the forging of an independent, anti-slavery, and anti-colonial Black state. The Isis Duarte Book Prize committee commends Siblings of Soil for its extraordinary research and timely innovation.
~Isis Duarte Prize Committee, Haiti/ Dominican Republic section of the Latin American Studies Association
Yingling . . . masterfully [argues] that the Dominican Republic did not gain independence from but rather separated itself from Haiti. He also provides pertinent examples of Dominican influence on Haiti in its early years and of collaborative efforts between the two 'siblings.' . . Importantly, Yingling locates Santo Domingo in the historiography of the Age of Revolutions. Haiti, at least, has received more recognition in this era given the significance of the Haitian Revolution. . . This well-researched book incorporates archival material from Haiti, the Dominican Republic, France, Spain, Cuba, and Vatican City. . . Highly recommended.
Siblings of Soil successfully delineates the importance of an archivally grounded understanding of the history of the island and is a notable contribution to the historiographical eﬀort, expanding how we under‐stand the revolutionary age to have been lived.
~H-Net Reviews (H-Caribbean)
[Siblings of Soil] is a welcome contribution to a range of historiographies, and it sheds light on a too-often overlooked part of the Age of Revolutions . . . Yingling has produced a signiﬁcant work that belongs in the libraries of scholars on both sides of the Atlantic.
~H-Net Reviews (H-Slavery)
Introduction: The Entire Island Has One Family
Chapter 1: Race and Place in Eighteenth-Century Hispaniola
Chapter 2: Following a Revolutionary Fuse, 1789–1791
Chapter 3: Belief, Blasphemy, and the Black Auxiliaries, 1792–1794
Chapter 4: Many Enemies Within, 1795–1798
Chapter 5: French Failures, 1799–1807
Chapter 6: Cross-Island Collaboration and Conspiracies, 1808–1818
Chapter 7: The “Spanish Part of Haiti” and Unification, 1819–1822
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