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Saint Domingue: The First Successful Slave Rebellion

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  1. Introduction
  2. The outcome of Saint Domingue
    1. The western third of Hispaniola
    2. The French colony as the suplier of Europe's sugar, coffee, and cocoa
  3. The growth of St. Domingue
    1. The overwhelming productivity of Saint Domingue
    2. The revolution on Saint Domingue
  4. The early stages of the war
  5. Toussaint establishing contact with the United States
  6. The French war on Saint Domingue
  7. The victory of the Haitian slaves over white supremacy
  8. Conclusion
  9. Works cited

When Columbus first landed on the tiny island that would later be known as Saint Domingue, and eventually Haiti, it is doubtful whether he could have ever imagined it becoming ?the wealthiest European outpost in the New World,? nor the significant impact that it would eventually have on France, Great Britain, and the United States. Saint Domingue was to become the ?crown jewel among France's colonial possessions,? the British would try unsuccessfully to possess it and the events in Saint Domingue ?would change American history and help to save the heart of the continent for the United States.? The instigation for so much foreign involvement began when the massive slave population on Saint Domingue decided to follow the example of France, its mother country, and begin a revolution of their own. In the most massive slave revolt in history, the slaves of Saint Domingue would succeed in maintaining their independence from not only France, but England and Spain as well.

[...] Like other sugar colonies the slaves on Saint Domingue were brutally treated, there are numerous recorded instances of slave torture that would make any decent person cringe. They were worked virtually 24 hours a day during the harvest season and it was typical that 1 of 7 would die each year. Therefore, it can be assumed that in 1791 almost all of the slaves laboring in Saint Domingue were born in Africa. Rotberg concludes that this population of slaves, coming straight from Africa, was yet broken remembered their lost freedom [and] had little to lose by rebellion.? It is little wonder then that ultimately it will be these slave masses that will alter French and British colonial policy in the early nineteenth century. [...]

[...] Furthermore, it was also a chance for them to extend their grasp over the Caribbean; the British government was determined to seize control over Saint Domingue and believed that they could succeed were France had failed.[15] In the early stages of the war, the British government had come to understanding with Spain, who had also become involved in the war, that essentially the Spanish would have authority over North and part of West Saint Domingue and the British would take the ?South, Northwest, and the western shore of Haiti's great gulf.?[16] For a while the British were very successful in Saint Domingue. [...]

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