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Haitian history not many of us know (Part I)

Black Caribbean Literature (BCL)
Calloway,Al (Author)
Newspaper Article
Publication Date:
Feb 12-Feb 18, 2010
Coral Springs, FL
African American Research Center, Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject Term:
Caribbean area, History, Blacks, Colonialism, Haiti, Slavery, Minority & ethnic groups
The French called the Island St. Domingue, and began importing thousands of African slaves to clear much of the land and build plantations. By the late 1700s, there were over half a million African slaves in St. Domingue, and dose to 40,000 whites, as well as almost as many "mulattos." (The word "mulatto" derives from the Spanish term meaning a young mule.) They were the "free people of color," the result of white men taking many slave women. [Adam Hochchild] goes on to tell us how very rich France became through its plantocracy on St. Domingue alone: "The colony's eight thousand plantations accounted for more than one third of France's foreign trade, and its own foreign trade equaled that of the newly born United States." White planters and merchants on the island lived a life of luxury unrivaled in "the New World." Hochchild tells us that on that fateful August night "a large group of slaves representing many plantations met under the night sky in a remote spot called Alligator Woods..." and these are the words reportedly shouted to the throng by a revolt leader: '"Throw away the image of the god of the whites who thirsts for our tears, and listen to the voice of liberty which speaks in the hearts of all of us."