History is brutal, but ...
If we don’t know history, we can’t see the patterns and ripple effects in our modern day.
But Tina, you write fantasy and romance. How does history affect your writing? I love to write all in one world, but in different time periods, as I pepper history through my stories..
But fiction is not fact; yet we can braid those things together, while entertaining and informing.
One such topic I uncovered while writing my time travel paranormal romance is that of cruelty of Napoléon, who historians often praise. But, did you know France forced Haiti to pay reparations to France to ensure their freedom?
I don’t remember hearing anything about this while growing up. The lack of information caused me to dig deeper.
My stories are set in this timeline, mostly, and I wanted to reference something historical that still impacts today. This meant shining a light on Haiti’s history and presenting some of it as part of the background for the story.
The tale of independence for present day Haiti from French rule came with generational consequences.
As France was creating fashion trends with its 18th century, mouse hide eyebrows, Haiti, known as the French colony of Saint Domingue, which had gained independence in 1801, was once again fighting off a new potential colonial rule, this one being Napoléon. He was hell-bent on retaking the colony and threatened to reinstate French rule and chattel slavery.
The fight for independence was brutal. But it wasn’t until 1805, when Haiti became officially independent. Here’s the caveat: for France to recognize this, Haiti had to agree to pay France 150 million francs, as well as a 50% discount on exported goods to them.
This debt did not go away.
In 1838, France agreed to reduce the debt to 90 million francs. It would take Haiti 122 years to pay it off, finally settled in 1947.
The world we see today, the moving pieces and nuances, we can often discover by digging deeper. After all, nothing is how it might first be perceived.
The United States didn’t recognize Haiti until 1862. This meant that the US also didn’t trade or have commercial relationships with Haiti, although benefitting from its pressure on revolting against French rule. It is suspected that because of Haiti’s revolution, this is a partial reason of why Napoléon gave up on the “New World” and agreed to sell the Louisiana Territory, what is known as the Louisiana Purchase.
France will not give reparations or payment back to the modern day Haitians, and… just in case you think Britain was any better, well, they were paying reparations to actual slave owners descendants until 2015.
Why am I showcasing this? Because with a wealth of knowledge comes power to enact genuine progress. Yes, history is often evil… but the more we know, the more we can help to change our world for the better, and I’m hoping to do that with my stories too. There is nothing like taking the darkness of history and fighting back with the fantastical and have the good guys win.
My dragon series continues to play with history, sprinkling in historical truths, and lighting it on fire with beautiful magic.