Before Haiti: Race and Citizenship in French Saint-Domingue by J. Garrigus

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By J. Garrigus

Winner of the Society for French ancient reviews 2007 Gilbert Chinard Prize! In 1804 French Saint-Domingue grew to become the self sufficient kingdom of Haiti after the one profitable slave rebellion in international historical past. whilst the Haitian Revolution broke out, the colony was once domestic to the most important and wealthiest unfastened inhabitants of African descent within the New global. prior to Haiti explains the origins of this unfastened coloured type, exposes the methods its participants either supported and challenged slavery, and examines how they created their very own New international identification within the years from 1760 to 1804.

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8 acres). According to Labat, “The ground where one wants to plant the indigo seed is hoed and cleaned five times. . ” Moreover, manufacturing the dye required considerable equipment and skill. Indigo makers soaked and drained their harvest in a series of large masonry tanks, churning and paddling the water to increase the precipitation of dye particles. Although the putrid basins were said to spawn deadly diseases, merchants paid well for the dark powder left when the water drained away. 29 And planters with capital or credit could get these workers from Dutch, English, and French merchants plying a rapidly growing African trade.

As this chapter argues, Saint-Domingue remained a frontier society long after Labat went back to Guadeloupe, and the southern peninsula was the cutting edge of that frontier. Until the 1760s, a man able to clear trees from a hillside in the interior could easily claim a ranch or farm there, and many island-born children of hunters, indentured servants, slaves, and sugar planters did just that. Moreover, because French shipping was focused on the colony’s Atlantic coast, throughout the eighteenth century, settlers in the southern peninsula and elsewhere continued the intra-Caribbean smuggling that had sustained the buccaneers of Labat’s time.

69 Michel Depas’s brothers followed him from Bordeaux to the southern frontier and by mid-century they were successful planters there too. François Depas raised nine legitimate children in Aquin parish. In 1763, Philippe Lopez Depas, a third sibling, owned an Aquin estate with 63 slaves valued at 200,000 livres. Antoine-Joachim Lopez de Paz, possibly a relative, owned part of an indigo plantation not far away in Anse à Veau parish and another Lopez de Paz had half a share in a coffee estate in the frontier parish of Mirebalais.

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