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HISTORY The Spaniards used Hispaniola (of which Haiti is the western part and the Dominican Republic is the eastern) as a launching point to explore the rest of the Western Hemisphere. French buccaneers later used the western third of the island as a point from which to harass English and Spanish ships. In 1697, Spain ceded the western third of Hispaniola to France. As piracy was gradually suppressed, some French adventurers became planters, making Saint-Domingueas the French portion of the island was then calledone of the richest colonies of the 18th century French empire. During this period, African slaves were brought to work the sugarcane and coffee plantations. In 1791, the slave populationled by Toussaint L'Ouverture, Jean Jacques Dessalines, and Henri Christopherevolted and gained control of the northern part of Saint-Domingue. In 1804, local forces defeated an army deployed by Napoleon Bonaparte, established independence from France, and renamed the area Haiti. The defeat of the French in Haiti is widely credited with contributing to Napoleon's decision to sell the Louisiana territory to the United States in 1804. Haiti is the world's oldest black republic and the second-oldest republic after the United States in the Western Hemisphere. Haitians actively assisted the American Revolution and independence movements of Latin American countries. Two separate regimes (north and south) emerged after independence but were unified in 1820. Two years later, Haiti conquered Santo Domingo, the eastern, Spanish-speaking portion of Hispaniola. In 1844, however, Santo Domingo broke away from Haiti and became the Dominican Republic. With 22 changes of government from 1843 until 1915, Haiti experienced numerous periods of intense political and economic disorder, prompting United States military intervention in 1915. U.S. military forces were withdrawn in 1934 at the request of the elected Government of Haiti.