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Siblings of Soil

Siblings of Soil
Dominicans and Haitians in the Age of Revolutions

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.

Series: Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Endowment in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture

November 2022
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368 pages | 6 x 9 | 3 b&w photos, 3 maps |

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 the anti-imperial movement in Santo Domingo, leading to Dominican independence from Spain in 1822. Voluntary unification followed as Dominicans embraced the citizenship and emancipation offered by Haiti, but over the next two decades, some Dominican elites, influenced by European colonial backlash and hardline Christianity, suppressed popular demands for a multicultural, multiracial society.

Elite reactions to this era formed anti-Haitian narratives, and racial ideas imbued 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.

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: “Siblings of Soil”
  • 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
  • Epilogue: Becoming Dominican in Haiti
  • Archives Consulted
  • Notes
  • Index

Charlton W. Yingling is an assistant professor at the University of Louisville. He coedited the book Free Communities of Color and the Revolutionary Caribbean.