Haiti : Ile a Vache (cow island) Haiti


Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2009
Île à Vache was originally claimed by the Spanish Empire as part of Hispaniola, the first landing site of Christopher Columbus in 1492, and for the next two centuries it was known by its Spanish name, Isla Vaca.

Port Morgan is named for the pirate captain Henry Morgan (c.1635–1688) for whom the little island served as a frequent base of operations.[2] Morgan planned and staged many of his largest raids from Isla Vaca and in 1676 he narrowly survived a costly shipwreck on its shore: Morgan's ship Jamaica Merchant sank with a full complement of cannon which the pirate had been bringing to bolster his presence at Port Royal.[3]

In 1697 the island of Hispaniola was formally divided between Spain and France in the Treaty of Ryswick which ended the Nine Years War. France assumed control of the western half of the island, Haiti, and Isla Vaca took on its current name, Île à Vache.

In 1863, during the American Civil War, the island's owner Bernard Kock offered to resettle freed black slaves from the United States. Despite support from President Abraham Lincoln, funding never materialized, and the first attempt to set up the colony failed in a matter of months.



Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2009
Bernard Kock: King of Cow Island

Bernard Kock was an opportunist and entrepreneur who probably started out with good intentions. His grand plan for colonizing Ile A'Vache (Cow Island), Haïti with 5000 American black slaves was conceived when he attended the 1862 Great Exhibition in London. Kock was reported to own a cotton plantation in Florida and in his words, "was impressed by seeing two bales of excellent Hayti cotton on display in London. Having knowledge of President Fabre Nicolas Geffrard's (18.1.1859 - 13.3.1867) interest in promoting immigration of American blacks to Haïti.4 Kock left Southampton, England for Haïti on 17 May 1862 arriving there on 3 June. President Geffrard also had grand plans for improving the country, including the development of a true middle class using black immigrants from America. ...

...later he left for Washington to meet President Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865) who was already considering a scheme to colonize blacks in New Granada, (now Panama) and Liberia.5
Lincoln was an abolitionist but held a long standing belief that colonization could play a role in solving the slavery problem. After Lincoln abandoned the Central American colonization plans, Kock felt his chances with Lincoln would be good. ...

...The partners knew the possibility of obtaining Haïtian government approval to this clause was remote and they would probably not receive the $50 bonus. Kock insisted on proceeding with the venture and the agreement was executed with the US government on 3 April 1863. Kock, feeling pressure from his partners, volunteered to reduce his stake to 25% and a new partnership agreement was drawn up. He made a critical mistake by trusting his partners to execute this agreement. Kock had already passed the 6 month period for starting the venture called for in the Haïti agreement and on 13 April 1863 embarked on the Ocean Ranger with some 500 workers for Haïti. The precise number of workers was to be later questioned and reported differently on several occasions. The partners said they would send a second ship shortly with the sawmill and other critically needed supplies. During the voyage some of the workers had contracted smallpox. Upon arrival Kock set up a small temporary hospital at the west end of A'Vache where he enlisted Dr. Müller to treat the patients..

...Kock then tried to make a new contract with the government but they refused. On 20 December 1863 Kock visited the island for the last time. When he arrived at the island he found the workers demoralized and "many of them had gone actually mad, under the influence of some religious excitement, to which they had surrendered themselves" perhaps a veiled reference to Voodoo. Kock also found an agent of the US government on the island who he was told by the workers "had endeavored to persuade them all to return to the United States, and enlist in the army under him as their colonel."

On 22 December 1863 President Lincoln sent a ship to Haiti and brought the remaining 453 workers back to the US. No colonization plans have been found after this venture.

complete article here: http://networkhaiti.com/ileavache/welcomef/bernard.htm


Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2009
Proclamation 99 - Repudiation of an Agreement with Bernard Kock
April 16, 1863

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation
To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting:

Know ye that, whereas a paper bearing date the 31st day of December last, purporting to be an agreement between the United States and one Bernard Kock for immigration of persons of African extraction to a dependency of the Republic of Hayti, was signed by me on behalf of the party of the first part; but whereas the said instrument was and has since remained incomplete in consequence of the seal of the United States not having been thereunto affixed; and whereas I have been moved by considerations by me deemed sufficient to withhold my authority for affixing the said seal:

Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby authorize the Secretary of State to cancel my signature to the instrument aforesaid.

Done at Washington, this 16th day of April, A. D. 1863.

By the President:

Secretary of State.


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