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Cacos were bodies of armed men, originally drawn from the enslaved population of Haiti who came to wield power in the mountainous regions of Haiti following the victory of the Haitian Revolution in 1804.[1] This nickname Cacos is derived from the red-plumed bird because the insurgents "used to hide, like the bird of the same name, under the leaves so as to come unexpectedly upon and attack their enemy"[2]

Resistance to US occupation 1915-1934Edit

U.S. Marines and guide in search of bandits. Haiti, circa 1919., 1927 - 1981 - NARA - 532584

US Marines in search of Cacos, circa 1919

The United States invaded Haiti on 28 July 1915, and maintained a force of marines to occupy the island until 1934. While they were able to seize control of the cities quite quickly, the Cacos maintained stubborn resistance in the mountainous areas to the north. In Cap Haitien the Cacos threatened to drive the US Marines out, but last minute reinforcements enabled the marines to counter attack, killing 40 Cacos. The marines then slowly encroached upon the mountainous Cacos territory, evenually trapping the guerilla army in Fort Reviere.

Prominent Cacos fightersEdit

  • Charlemagne Péralte emerged as one of the Cacos leaders from his escape from captivity until his death on 1 November 1919.
  • Benoît Batraville, a lieutenant of Péralte, took over as commander of the Cacos in December 1919. He was killed by the US Marines on 20 May 1920.[3]


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