(image credit: Swiatoslaw Wojtkowiak)
In 1802, during the Haitian Revolution, Napoleon dispatched a Polish military unit of 5200 to Saint Domingue (part of present-day Haiti) to aid in suppressing the uprising. At this particular point in history, Poles were fighting their own war back home to maintain an independent nation from Russia, Prussia and Austria, a fight that had been ongoing since 1772. As Poland was allied with France, the Polish Forces agreed to fight with Napoleon in the Caribbean, provided they fight as a separate, cohesive Polish unit. When the Polish soldiers arrived at Saint Domingue, they quickly realized they were helping fight a battle similar to their own back at home. The Polish forces turned on Napoleon, chosing to fight with the Haitian slaves. After the revolution, the Poles were granted Haitian citizenship and live in Haiti to this day in small communities in Cazale, La Vallée-de-Jacmel, Fond-des-Blancs, La Baleine, Port-Salut and Saint-Jean-du-Sud.