Sugar Plantations and the Roots of the Haitian Revolution

Kentz Gustave, Dr. Jordan B. Smith, Department of Science, Widener University, One University Pl, Chester, PA 19013

My research looks at the production of rum and sugarcane in the eighteenth-century French Caribbean, and Haiti (then known as Saint-Domingue) in particular. I read French-language books written in the eighteenth century, as well as modern interpretations written by historians. Over the course of my research, I became interested in how the living situation of slaves in Saint-Domingue led to the Haitian Revolution. Slaves were treated as property instead of human beings, and their living situations were awful. They sometimes worked as many as 18 hours a day harvesting sugarcane and making sugar and rum. This left little time for household work, eating, and sleeping. Complaints about working conditions, harsh punishments, and suffering on sugar plantations helps explain the outbreak of the revolution in Saint-Domingue. These examples of rebellion beginning among enslaved people on plantations complicates studies of the Haitian Revolution that often focus on free people of color, French politicians, or imperial disputes.  

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Kentz Gustave

Institution: Widener University

Type: Poster

Subject: History

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 7
Date/Time: Tue 3:30pm-4:30pm
Session Number: 5165