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In the Pre-Columbian era, other Caribbean tribes would sometimes attack the island to kidnap people into slavery.The practice of slavery in the Spanish New World colonies would become so large-scale in Spain's colonization of the Americas that imports of African slaves outnumbered Spanish immigration to the New World by the end of the 1500s.Christophe and other leaders enacted policies allowing state land to be broken up and sold to citizens, and the plantation system largely gave way to one in which Haitians owned and farmed smaller lots.The ship's captain, and later Cuban officials, protested to Boyer that his trade was legal, but Boyer maintained that the 1816 constitution decreed there could be no slaves in Haitian territory, and no reimbursement could be given for their value.The lowest caste happened to be people of color who were free.These individuals were mostly "mulattos" (mixed race) and controlled a lot of the wealth and land of the European planters.
paying the rest to plantation owners and the government.Before the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789 there were eight times as many slaves in the colony as there were white and mixed-race people combined.Dessalines was the country's leader, first naming himself Governor-General-for-life, then Emperor of Haiti.He wrote that to the natives, the Christianity brought by the Spaniards had come to symbolize the brutality with which they had been treated; he quoted one Taino cacique (tribal chief), "They tell us, these tyrants, that they adore a God of peace and equality, and yet they usurp our land and make us their slaves.They speak to us of an immortal soul and of their eternal rewards and punishments, and yet they rob our belongings, seduce our women, violate our daughters." Las Casas commented that the Spaniards' punishment of a Taino man by cutting off his ear "marked the beginning of the spilling of blood, later to become a river of blood, first on this island and then in every corner of these Indies." Known as the "Pearl of the Antilles", the colony became the world's foremost producer of coffee and sugar.