Military Uniforms of Haiti in the XIX Century

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Military Uniforms of Haiti in the XIX Century

Post  Abadu on Tue 21 Sep 2010, 6:56 am

I'm having a hard time trying to find info on the subject. Does anyone here knows anything?

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Re: Military Uniforms of Haiti in the XIX Century

Post  Sean on Wed 22 Sep 2010, 6:30 am

I have some old postcards somewhere that I'll try to dig out.
They wore a French style of uniform with kepis, white trousers and jackets in the summer. Apart from that I'm guessing

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Re: Military Uniforms of Haiti in the XIX Century

Post  Abadu on Thu 23 Sep 2010, 12:33 pm

If possible, I'd like to take a look at those cards.

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Re: Military Uniforms of Haiti in the XIX Century

Post  Animal on Thu 30 Sep 2010, 10:00 pm

The men in those pics look a lot more like irregulars or partisans than regular soldiers. Of course for a country in as dire as economic straits as Haiti has been for most of its history, keeping its military properly supplied, equipped, and dressed is going to be problematic at best. However, such a slovenly appearance doesn't necessarily mean a lack of actual fighting quality, nor does being properly dressed mean a top notch unit.


Last edited by Animal on Fri 01 Oct 2010, 7:47 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Military Uniforms of Haiti in the XIX Century

Post  Sean on Fri 01 Oct 2010, 12:46 am

I believe the only time they looked like an army is when the Americans funded/provided their clothing and equipment.

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Re: Military Uniforms of Haiti in the XIX Century

Post  Abadu on Fri 01 Oct 2010, 3:57 am

Thank you Sean! Those pictures were very helpfull.

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Re: Military Uniforms of Haiti in the XIX Century

Post  Animal on Thu 07 Oct 2010, 7:48 pm

This does a fairly good job of explaining the rather rag tag appearance of these troops.



http://www.country-data.com/cgi-bin/query/r-5585.html

Haiti

THE MILITARY IN HAITIAN HISTORY

The origins of Haiti's military lie in the country's revolution (see The Haitian Revolution , ch. 6). A decade of warfare produced a military cadre from which Haiti's early leaders emerged. Defeat of the French demonstrated Haiti's considerable strategic stamina and tactical capabilities, but Haiti's victory did not translate into a successful national government or a strong economy. Lacking a strong constitution, Haiti was usually ruled by force. The armed forces, who had been united against the French, fragmented into warring regional factions. The military very soon took control of almost every aspect of Haitian life. Officers assumed responsibility for the administration of justice and for municipal management. According to a Haitian diplomat, the country was in its earlier days "an immense military camp." Without viable civilian institutions, Haiti was vulnerable to military personalities, who permanently shaped the nation's authoritarian, personalist, and coercive style of governance.

During the latter half of the nineteenth century, the army either failed to protect the central government or directly caused the government's collapse. Rural insurgent movements led by piquets and cacos limited the central government's authority in outlying areas. These groups carried on war into the twentieth century; they were finally put down by the United States Marines in 1919.

Prolonged instability weakened the military. By the end of the nineteenth century, Haiti's military had become little more than an undisciplined, ill-fed, and poorly paid militia that shifted its allegiances as battles were won or lost and as new leaders came to power. Between 1806 and 1879, an estimated sixty nine revolts against existing governments took place; another twenty uprisings, or attempted insurrections, broke out between 1908 and 1915. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Haiti's political problems attracted increasing foreign involvement. France, Germany, and the United States were the major actors; the latter occupied the country in 1915 (see The United States Occupation, 1915-34 , ch. 6). During the occupation, the United States made an unsuccessful attempt to modernize Haiti's armed forces.

The United States Marines disbanded Haiti's army, which consisted of an estimated 9,000 men, including 308 generals. In February 1916, the Haitian Constabulary (Gendarmerie d'Ha´ti) was formed. United States Marine and United States Navy officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs) commanded the group. The Gendarmerie attempted to secure public safety, initially by subduing the cacos; to promote development, particularly road construction; and to modernize the military through the introduction of a training structure, a health service, and other improvements.

The United States administration of Haiti (1915-34) brought order and resulted in some economic and social development. At the same time, the United States overhauled Haiti's disintegrated military infrastructure. The Gendarmerie became the Garde d'Ha´ti in 1928; the Garde formed the core of Haiti's armed forces after the United States administration ended. The United States sought to establish a modern, apolitical military force in Haiti. On the surface, it succeeded; the organization, the training, and the equipment of the Garde all represented improvements over the military conditions existing before the occupation. What the United States did not (and probably could not) reform was the basic authoritarian inclination of Haitian society, an inclination antithetical to the goal of military depoliticization.

308 generals for an army of 9,000 men? Countries that unstable usually don't do a good job of properly attiring or supplying their troops.

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Re: Military Uniforms of Haiti in the XIX Century

Post  zuo123 on Wed 17 Nov 2010, 7:35 pm

The United States sought to establish a modern, apolitical military force in Haiti. On the surface, it succeeded; the organization, the training, and the equipment of the Garde all represented improvements (Sales content not required) over the military conditions existing before the occupation. What the United States did not (and probably could not) reform was the basic authoritarian inclination of Haitian society, an inclination antithetical to the goal of military depoliticization.

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