By John D. Garrigus (auth.)
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Additional info for Before Haiti: Race and Citizenship in French Saint-Domingue
Its settlers “grow the most beautiful cacao trees in the world . . 2 He predicted that their rich bottomland would soon be filled with farms producing cacao, indigo, rocou, tobacco, and cotton. This promising district, a “nursery for cacao and for children,” already had a name: Fond des Nègres. As Labat noted, these large and expanding families were almost all free mulattos or blacks. What the missionary witnessed in 1701 was a situation that leading colonists and imperial administrators at the end of the eighteenth 22 Before Haiti century tried to deny had ever existed.
Like cacao before it, much of the dye produced in the lands of the Saint-Domingue Company went to English and Dutch merchants, who probably established their own agents in French territory. In 1720, for example, a resident of the Development of Creole Society 37 Les Cayes plain named Jacob Vanderpar had eight slaves and no recorded agricultural installations. 61 In 1720, Versailles dissolved the Saint-Domingue Company, for the first time bringing the southern coast under direct royal administration.
44 But the most important political tension in eighteenth-century Saint-Domingue was between those who lived in freedom and the men and women they held in bondage. Membership in one of these two groups was marked in many ways, most of them written in a man’s or woman’s flesh. 45 Almost all of those who worked and died in Saint-Domingue’s cane fields were physically identifiable as non-Europeans, specifically, as Africans or descendants of Africans. In addition to their darker skin, distinctive hair, and occasionally, filed teeth or ritual scars, slaves’ bodies carried the marks made by their masters: stripes from the whip, lacerations from manacles, stockades, and other more fearsome punishments.
Before Haiti: Race and Citizenship in French Saint-Domingue by John D. Garrigus (auth.)