In exchange for French recognition of Haiti as a sovereign republic, France demanded payment of 150 million francs (modern equivalent of $21 billion). - External debt of Haiti
I'm still left with the same question. Most countries at the time refused to recognize Haitian independence. There must be something more. Ahah! I should have known...basic intimidation and extortion. Classic.
Haiti’s legacy of debt began shortly after gaining
independence from France in 1804. In 1825, France, with
warships at the ready, demanded Haiti “compensate” France
for its loss of a slave colony. In exchange for French
recognition of Haiti as a sovereign republic, France
demanded payment of 150 million francs (modern
equivalent of $21 billion). Haiti was forced to choose
between paying this exorbitant sum, about five times Haiti's
annual export revenue, or facing a bloody military clash
with the French fleet. - Fact Sheet - Hatian Debt
Also remembering how in 1825, France was desperate. They just very recently failed to take over Europe and I am certain that they were out of funds. So what do they do? Extort money from Haiti for a "crime" 20 years after the fact. Yup, France should give the money back...with interest.
Should France Payback Haiti's "Independence Debt?" - The Snob Blog - Danielle Belton's The Black Snob