Polish Haitian

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Polish Haitian
Regions with significant populations
Cazale, Cap-Haïtien, Fond-des-Blancs, Jacmel, La Baleine, La Vallée-de-Jacmel, Port-Salut, Saint-Jean-du-Sud
French, Haitian Creole, Polish
Roman Catholicism
Related ethnic groups
Polish people, White Latin Americans, White Haitians

Polish Haitians are Haitian people of Polish ancestry or a Pole with Haitian citizenship. Cazale, which is a small village in Haiti about 45 miles away from Port-au-Prince in the Grand'Anse Department. It is the main center of population of the Polish community in Haiti, called La Pologne (Poland).[1][2] The name Cazale, or the home of Zalewski as many locals believe, originates from the popular Polish surname Zalewski and the Haitian Creole word for home (kay); is the home to those of Polish descent.[3]


Dating back to the Haitian Revolution, the Polish influence started in the town of Cazale. In 1802, Napoleon added a Polish legion of around 5200 to the forces sent to Saint-Domingue to fight off the slave rebellion. However, the Poles were told that there was a revolt in Saint-Domingue; upon arrival the platoon soon discovered that what was actually going on in the colony, was a rebellion of slaves fighting off their French masters for their freedom.[1]

During this time, there was a familiar situation going on back in their homeland as these Polish soldiers were fighting for their liberty from the invading Russia, Prussia and Austria that began in 1772. As hopeful as the Haitians, many Poles were seeking union amongst themselves to win back their homeland. They made advances to ally with France and joined Napoleon's army, but were distinct as the Polish unit nonetheless.[1]

As a result, many Polish soldiers admired their enemy and decided to turn on the French army and join the Haitian slaves, and participated in the Haitian revolution of 1804.[4] For their loyalty and support for overthrowing the French, the Poles acquired Haitian citizenship after Haiti gained its Independence, and settled there to never return to Poland. To this day, many Polish Haitians still live in Haiti and are of mixed racial origin, however some have blonde hair, light eyes, and other European features. Most settled in Cazale, La Vallée-de-Jacmel, Fond-des-Blancs, La Baleine, Port-Salut and Saint-Jean-du-Sud.[1][5]

Duvalier era[edit]

In the François Papa Doc Duvalier era, the small town of Cazale became a strong voice for communism and many young intellectuals residing there were at cross roads with the dictator's regime. As a result of their political indifference, March 29, 1969 became known as the worst day for the people of Cazale as Duvalier's Tonton Macoute (private army), built a barricade around Cazale, and murdered many young men.[1]

In 1983, Pope John Paul II visited Haiti. He mentioned how the Polish contributed to the slave rebellion leading to Haiti's independence. Several Haitian Poles from were selected from the most populous Polish areas of Haiti by Duvalier to attend the various ceremonies planned for the Pope's visit.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "The Polish Influence in Casale, Haiti and Contribution to the Haitian Revolution". Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Polish Haitians: How They Came to Be". Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "200 years away from home Polish descendants in Haiti". Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Abbott, Elizabeth. "Haiti: A Shattered Nation". Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Dapía, Silvia G. "Polish American Studies". University of Illinois Press. p. 5. Retrieved 1 January 2015.