The Arming of Slaves in the Haitian Revolution

TitleThe Arming of Slaves in the Haitian Revolution
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsGeggus, David
EditorBrown, Christopher Leslie, and Philip D. Morgan
Corporate AuthorsGilder-Lehrman, Center for the St
Book TitleArming Slaves: From Classical Times to the Modern Age
PublisherYale University Press
CityNew Haven, CT ; London

Saint Domingue, the site of Haitian Revolution of 1789ā€“1803, was one of the largest and most productive slave societies during the eighteenth century. In 1791, the French colony was a major supplier of sugar and coffee to the Atlantic market. At the time of the uprisings, it was home to about half a million slaves, 30,000 whites, and a similar number of free people of color. The slave revolt ended both slavery and French colonial rule. More than 80,000 European troops were brought to the colony, but slaves and former slaves made up a large proportion of combatants on all sides. This chapter examines the arming of slaves in the Haitian Revolution, the extent of which was without precedent in the Caribbean. It first looks at developments prior to the revolution before turning to four types of militarization involving slaves: plantation guards, irregular corps raised by colonists, alliances with insurgents, and formal corps formed by states.

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