Could the Haitian revolution of 1804 been the turning point of the abolition of slavery throughout the British colonies? It most definitely had an impact on the passing of the Anti Slave Trade Act of 1807. Should nations be recognizing this grand feat with more than just a quick mention if any mention at all. Most individuals know little about the significance of this revolution. Children are able to recite phrases and significant dates regarding the French revolution of 1789.
Most school aged children have never heard of an African slave revolution otherwise known as the Haitian revolution which began in 1791 and ended in 1804.The colony of Saint-Dominique became the first free republic ruled by enslaved people of African descent. Saint-Dominique was a land mass equivalent to Haiti today. It was a colony driven by slave labor and had a climate perfect for all types of agriculture. Saint-Dominique was said to be the richest colony in the West Indies. It is almost unimaginable and heart breaking to know that it was one of the richest colonies in the world. The demise of this great land happened quickly after the revolution which ended in 1804. The statement “No man is an Island” rang all too true for independent Saint- Dominique. There were many events which took place in the early years leading up to 1791 when the slave uprising began.
Many rich white planters became weary and frustrated with the current French rule. They were also prohibited by French law to trade with other colonies. They grew extremely frustrated with fees and taxes established by the French much like north Americas disillusionment with King Henry’s excessive tariff. The white planters were supporters of slavery as they needed free labor to maintain their property.
Besides the planters fighting to gain their independence, there were those fighting for full citizenship. There were roughly 30,000 free people of color living in saint-Dominique around 1789. Half of that population consisted of children of white Frenchmen and African slaves. The other half consisted of slaves who bought their freedom. Most of the free people of color were rich or at least extremely well off. They were able to own plantations and slaves. Even though they were not accepted by the whites, they tried desperately to assimilate, dressing French European, refusing to speak Creole. They often had more wealth than the planters. With all this, they still had limited rights, thereby siding with the planters in vying for Saint-Dominique’s independence from the French.
The slave population consisted of mostly field slaves and a quarter of them being domestic slaves. There were over 500,000 slaves in Saint-Dominique. Those who were domestic slaves were cooks, and servants. Their life on the plantations, although harsh were much easier than the field slaves. When a slave owner threatened a slave by telling them they would be sold to Saint-Dominique, It was because treatment on this island consisted of no medical treatment, grueling temperatures and an over abundance of slaves. It was much easier to replace an ill or old slave with a new one.
Lastly there were slaves which escaped into the mountains. These people called themselves “Maroons”. They set up a social, political system for themselves and even had defense systems in place in case of intruders or being recaptured.