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

By J. Garrigus

Winner of the Society for French historic experiences 2007 Gilbert Chinard Prize! In 1804 French Saint-Domingue grew to become the self sustaining country of Haiti after the single winning slave rebellion in international historical past. while the Haitian Revolution broke out, the colony was once domestic to the most important and wealthiest loose inhabitants of African descent within the New global. ahead of Haiti explains the origins of this unfastened coloured classification, exposes the methods its participants either supported and challenged slavery, and examines how they created their very own New international id within the years from 1760 to 1804.

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Few of the colony’s hundreds of thousands of slaves would ever be legally free, or even know another slave who had been manumitted. 94 However, an official deed was not a slave’s only route to some degree of freedom. While most of the colony’s plantation slaves were trapped in the crushing routine of daily fieldwork, roughly one-fifth worked as artisans, domestic servants, guards, or animal drivers. Such persons enjoyed a wider range of mobility and personal autonomy than field slaves did. Some masters turned their most talented slaves out to earn money for the estate through contract work or selfleasing.

Over time many of Saint-Domingue’s African slaves were “creolized” by Caribbean slavery, and those slaves born in the island were true “creoles,” at home in a syncretic island-culture. They spoke a vernacular their predecessors had built out of the various African and European languages used in the slave trade. 48 Life in Saint-Domingue also changed Europeans and their islandborn children. Climate, slavery, the African cultures of the slaves, and the buccaneers’ irreligiousity and suspicion of authority all transformed colonists into creoles, who spoke the same vernacular as island-born slaves.

Following the wealthy families described in chapters 3 and 6, it shows how men of color in both Paris and Saint-Domingue dismantled the sexual images that excluded them from public life. But white colonial revolutionaries denied that brown and black men could be citizens. In 1791 French attempts to impose free colored citizenship brought civil war to Saint-Domingue and, ultimately, slave revolution. Chapter 9 uses the economic and social data from over 1,000 notarized contracts drafted in Aquin parish between 1790 and 1803 to trace the experience of the free colored elite in the Revolution.

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