In an effort to catalyze the pedagogical use of these pamphlets, we collaborated with Dr. Sarah Benharrech on a research assignment given to University of Maryland undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in her course “Riots, Rebellions and Revolutions,” taught in Fall 2015. The following notes provide clear and concise background information about the people involved in the administration, commerce, social structures, and other aspects of life in colonial Saint-Domingue leading up to the Haitian Revolution.
François Barbé-Marbois (1745-1837) was a French diplomat. He moved to Philadelphia where he worked until 1789 as a general consul, and as such, he was in charge of the French affairs to the United States.
Les Cayes is an existing city, which served as a port in Saint-Domingue during the period of the Haitian Revolution.
Several tribes of slaves came to Saint-Domingue, however, ethnic groups assigned to slaves were not necessarily their ethnic groups to which they belonged originally.
Barbé-Marbois wrote the Louisiana Purchase Treaty, by which Napoleon sold Louisiana to the Americans in order to ensure that the English wouldn’t seize the land.
César-Henri de La Luzerne was born in 1737 in Paris. He became governor of Saint-Domingue in April 1786 and kept that post until 1787, when he replaced Charles de Castries as minister of the Navy under Louis XVI and fulfilled its duties until 1791.
Jacques Brissot was born on January 15, 1754. He later decided to add the “de Warville” to his name, the anglicized form of “d’Oarville,” and the name of a small village close to Chartres, where his father owned some land.
Jean-François, Count of Reynaud de Villeverd was born in Grenoble on July 9,1731. Reynaud was named an officer in the French military and went on to participate in the American Revolution.
In 1789, the slaves in Saint-Domingue were already fourteen times more numerous than the 30,831 French colonists.
Louis Marthe de Gouy d’Arsy was born to a noble family in Paris in July of 1753. At a young age, he entered the army and continued to climb the ranks until he was named General-de-Brigade in 1792.
Marie-Charles Du Chilleau, born in 1734, was the General Governor of Saint Domingue from 1788 to 1794.
Port-au-Prince is a port and a city that was founded in 1749. The city became the capital of the colony in 1786 because it developed quickly and was able to provide access for the rich sugar-producing plains.
The Club Massiac was an organization based in Paris that supported slavery since its establishment in the late 18th century, and thus likewise opposed abolition.
One of the ethnic groups that lived in the French colony of Saint Domingue was the group called the “Creoles.” The creoles were all of the people who were born in Saint Domingue, and typically they were white and of European heritage, often French.
The free people of color were an intermediate social class in colonial Saint-Domingue between the enslaved blacks and the whites.