United States occupation of Haiti

The United States occupation of Haiti began on July 28, 1915, when 330 United States Marines landed at Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on the authority of President of the United States Woodrow Wilson to establish control of Haiti's political and financial interests. The invasion and subsequent occupation was promoted by growing American business interests in Haiti. The July intervention took place following years of socioeconomic instability within Haiti that culminated with the murder of President of Haiti Vilbrun Guillaume Sam by insurgents angered by his ordered executions of elite opposition. The occupation ended on August 1, 1934, after President Franklin D. Roosevelt reaffirmed an August 1933 disengagement agreement. The last contingent of marines departed on August 15, 1934, after a formal transfer of authority to the American-created Gendarmerie of Haiti.

United States occupation of Haiti
Part of the Banana Wars

Top to bottom, left to right: United States Marines in 1915 defending entrance gate in Cap-Haïtien, Marines and a Haitian guide patrolling the jungle during the Battle of Fort Dipitie, U.S. Navy Curtiss HS-2Ls and other airplanes in Haiti circa 1919
DateJuly 28, 1915 – August 1, 1934
(19 years and 4 days)
Result American victory
 United States
 Haitian government
Haitian rebels
Commanders and leaders
Woodrow Wilson
Warren G. Harding
Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Smedley Butler
Kemp Christian
Gerald C. Thomas
Philippe Sudré Dartiguenave
Louis Borno
Louis Eugène Roy
Sténio Vincent
Josaphat Jean-Joseph
Charlemagne Péralte
Benoît Batraville

First Caco War:
2,029 soldiers[1]

Second Caco War:
1,500 American soldiers[1]
2,700 Haitian Gendarmes[1]
First Caco War:
Casualties and losses

First Caco War:
3 killed
18 wounded[1]

Second Caco War:
28 Americans killed[1]
70 Gendarmes killed[1]

First Caco War:
200 killed[1]

Second Caco War:
2,004+ killed[1]
3,250–15,000 Haitian deaths[2][3]
Hundreds to 5,500 forced labor deaths[4]

During the occupation, Haiti had three new presidents, though the United States ruled as a military regime led by Marines and the US-created Haitian gendarmerie through martial law. Two major rebellions occurred during this period, resulting in several thousand Haitians killed and numerous human rights violations – including torture and summary executions – by Marines and the gendarmerie. Corvée labor was utilized for massive infrastructure projects that resulted in hundreds to thousands of deaths. Under the occupation, most Haitians continued to live impoverished lives while the United States re-established power into the hands of a select minority of Haitians, the wealthy French-cultured mulatto Haitians.