In the 16th century, Spain imported large numbers of African slaves whose descendants now populate the country. The colony subsequently fell under French, and in the Napoleonic wars, British rule. The newly-named Haiti declared its independence on 1 Jan. 1804. Ruled by a succession of self-appointed monarchs, Haiti became a republic in the mid-19th century. From 1915 to 1934 Haiti was under United States occupation.
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