By John D. Garrigus (auth.)
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Additional resources 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.
The geography of the southern peninsula, especially, outweighed the attempts of the French crown to create a colonial society tightly bound to France by commerce and culture. Instead, colonists in the South Peninsula gravitated towards trade with the rest of the Caribbean. The ease of this inter-American commerce, in fact, was what prompted the formal colonization of the region. 2). Courtiers had petitioned the king for these monopoly rights, anticipating that Spain would grant France permission to supply Spanish America with African slaves.
In 1713, there were already 171 indigo estates in the districts of Les Cayes, Saint Louis, and Aquin, in the southern peninsula. Because it did not lose its value in storage the way sugar did, indigo was an ideal smuggler’s crop. 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.
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