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Why Haiti Should Be Rich

Thanks to decades of news coverage, if you know anything about Haiti it’s probably the phrase “the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.” This cliché appears in virtually every article about the country. Less well known is Haiti’s distinction as the first country to permanently abolish slavery. Less well known still is how responses to its abolition of slavery—an event of utmost importance in the global development of human rights—in many ways set the country on the trajectory that has led to its current poverty. In his presentation, Matt Robertshaw will examine the history of Haiti from its triumphant declaration of independence and abolition of slavery, through its alternating abuse and neglect at the hands of foreign powers, to its current instability, as well as what hopes the country has for a better future.

Bio: Matt Robertshaw is a PhD candidate in History at York University. He focuses on Haiti, the Caribbean and French colonialism in Africa. He teaches courses in history and the Digital Humanities and is a video essayist via Sleeper Hit History on YouTube:

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