Superb comment by Judith Mirville. This is one myth that so needs to die.
First of all, please never say again that platitude as to Haiti (or rather, Santo Domingo as it was then called) having been so prosperous and so sweet to live in under French rule, just before the revolted slaves turned it over into the hell-hole we know of nowadays.
Please keep in mind that Santo Domingo was definitely the harshest place for any black slave (and also for any white servant or prostitute) to end up in throughout all Middle Passage, it was the island with the shortest survival span for Negroes. It was actually a kind of extermination camp though accelerated exhaustion where negroes judged to non-docile to be sold to English American planters or to Portuguese Jews (Jews were indeed involved in slave trade and utilization in the Portuguese colonies — contrary to English American where they kept content with the financing of the antebellum Southern enterprises — but were also known to be more humane masters) were sold to a kind of buyer of last resort.
When the slave masters of Early Dixieland really wanted to scare recalcitrant manpower into submission and productivity, they threatened to sell them to Santo Domingo and made an example out of two or three. It was called the “Pearl of the Indies” not because of its enchanting setting, charming though it was then, but because of the highest and surest return shareholders in Europe expected from there, the best contemporary translation would be Blue Chip.
The revolution took place because those slaves knew they were in that Island to die anyway.
It took exactly twelve years and a quarter to unfold, from 14 August 1791 to 18 November 1803, and as it unfolded the Napoleonic regime ordered Final Solution (as it was called) through 100% extermination. About one twentieth survived. Among the favorite methods were the “pontoons” : decommissioned ships used as gas chambers : the hulks were filled up to the brim with prisoners to be killed with fumes emanating from burning sulfur and thrown into the sea so as to make room for another cargo.
France sacrificed her whole colonial empire in America, selling Louisiana to the Jefferson’s US among others, just to devote all the necessary logistical resources to that grisly enterprise as if it were her most sacred duty (Napoleon wanted to make his empire renowned for yet another thousand years repeating Crassus’ exploit against the revolt of Spartacus), and it failed.
The extermination camp had run so well that all tropical diseases and pests brought about by the authorities to make the place mortal for any fugitive or guerrilla ended up killing all the precious seaworthy French troops that were sent there too, and that would have been badly needed at Trafalgar (the voodoo legend also speaks of black magic used to that effect: given the fact that most of Haitian black magic is about poisons, this comes to no contradiction).
Lamenting the French regime in Haiti as a kind of prosperity never to dream on any more is tantamount to lamenting the good old days when Warsaw, Krakow and Auschwitz were German and under sound industrial management before entering the doldrums of East European post-war Communism.