Colony in Haiti
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Haiti became a French colony in 1697 (Haggerty, 1989). During the first hundred years, this country was conquered by the French and then Spanish regime. It was one of the most powerful colonies in the world that produced the sugar, indigo, coffee, and cotton. However, later adopting the experience of the French Revolution Haitians won their independence. Haiti became a powerful colony since paid special attention to the care and treatment of slaves, which created favorable conditions for the Haitian Revolution and the abolition of slavery itself.
The economy of the colony was focused on the agricultural sector. The latter was concentrated on slave plantations. Before the Seven Years’ War, the economy of Saint-Dominguez gradually grew. Sugar and coffee became important export crops. After the war, during which the maritime trade was broken, the colony entered a stage of rapid growth. The work on the plantations was occupied by more than 790 thousand of African slaves (Dubois, 2004, p. 92). Between 1764 and 1771, the annual importation of slaves was 10-15 thousand, and it was about 28 thousand in 1786 (Haggerty, 1989). Throughout the period of the colony, most slaves were born in Africa as the cruel living conditions interfere with their natural growth. Moreover, the growth of slaves created conditions for exchange of goods from Haiti to Europe, thus forming a dominant economic system in the world.
They followed the example of neighboring Caribbean colonies where slaves were carefully treated. Thus, they worked more intensively and less died. It was a perfect formula for the next increasing their influence and status in the world colonies. This led to cattle breeding and agricultural holdings. Besides large plantations of coffee and spices were created, they fishing, growing cocoa, coconut, and tobacco (Haggerty, 1989). The colony quickly surpassed other colonies in population and wealth. It was called the Pearl of the Antilles — the richest French colony that has become a hub for transporting goods from America to Europe. In 1767, it shipped 72 million pouds of rare sugar, and 51 million pounds of refined sugar were shipped from the colony (Haggerty, 1989). Moreover, one million pounds of indigo and two million pounds of cotton were also transported from the port to the European countries of that year (Haggerty, 1989). This small colony produced more sugar and coffee than all of the British Western colonies. Thus, income and taxes on slaves became the main income of France. Therefore, tiny Haiti became the most important colonial center for continuous profit during from 1700 to 1709 (Dubois, 2004, p. 118). Then the Haitian Revolution has changed the situation forever.
Haitian Revolution was initiated as a reaction of slaves on board colonialists who wanted to earn more money than cheap power. Although slaves were well cared by white masters, their number was constantly growing, and the situation remained unchanged for years (Rand, n.d.). Haitian Revolution repeated the French Revolution. It was a strike of the below people that were not satisfied with their social status (Rand, n.d.). Accordingly, social and economic injustice caused these people for both the French and the Haitian Revolution. One more important reason was that Napoleon lost interest in the French colonies because he was rapidly preparing for war. He sent troops from the island and left it without any support. Haiti was virtually devoid of military control. Therefore, it gave an additional opportunity for revolution.
Haitian Revolution began with the Bois Caïman ceremony during which it was decided to set fire numerous plantations according to their plan (“Haitian”, n.d.). There were rumors that “white masters and colonial authorities were on their way to France to fight the Crown’s recent decrees granting mulattoes and free blacks rights” (“Haitian”, n.d.). However, it was false information. Nevertheless, from this certain point, the Haitian Revolution has started, and slaves wanted these rumors to come true. This ceremony and other riots were the results of the long period of planning and a carefully organized strategy. Therefore, the Haitian RRevolution was not a spontaneous episode. The total number of slave leaders exceeded two hundred people. Thus, the revolt plan virtually covered the entire territory of Haiti. They occupied key positions in the plantations, and the majority of them were influential commanders. Therefore, they had a significant impact on other slaves. With the well-built strategy of maneuvering, they easily united a large number of African slaves, mulattos, maroons, and free blacks (“Haitian”, n.d.).
Among the leaders of the Haitian Revolution was a charismatic priest of voodoo and maroon leader, François Mackandal, who succeeded in uniting the black confrontation (Haggerty, 1989). He inspired many slaves for rebellion based on the ancient African traditions and religions, including voodoo. He also united maroon gangs and organized secret organizations among plantation slaves. However, among the leaders were many aristocrats and free black people who occupied key positions in the administration and worked in the plantation houses as well. Since they had access to information of their owners, they were partially aware of all plans, and, therefore, could plan a rebellion. Toussaint Louverture was the main leader who was disappointed with the other leaders of the rebellion, including their willingness to cooperate with the white radicals. Hence, Toussaint began to prepare his own army of 40,000 slaves that was well educated by him to lead a guerrilla war (“Haitian”, n.d.).
Thus, the French colony in Haiti was one of the most famous in the world history that transported various products and substances. The favorable geographic position, a large number of slaves, and investment funds created one of the profitable colonies in the world. However, Haitian slaves were dissatisfied with social inequality and using their cheap labor for French income. Haiti took over the experience from the French Revolution, and thus it was a sort of inspiration for the Haitian Revolution. Still, carefully thought-out strategy and perfect unification of various slaves were the main reason for successful revolution.
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