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Background Material
(the Refugees in historical context)

• General Histories
• The Years of Turmoil 1791-1803
The Diaspora 1791-1810
After 1804
Other Migration
Special Focus Groups

(arranged chronologically)

Charlevoix, Pierre F. de. Histoire de l'isle Espagnole où de Saint-Domingue...Par le p. Pierre-François-Xavier de Charlevoix. 2 vols. Paris: Chez Jacques Guerin, 1730-31. 972.94C478 (also F1911.C46) [TULAL rare]

This work is almost universally recommended as essential to a more complete understanding of the early French colony of Saint-Domingue. Many maps of early islands and towns. There is also a Spanish edition, F1911.C4618.

McClellan III, James E. Colonialism and Science. Saint-Domingue in the Old Regime. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992.

Although this book focuses on a rather narrow field in Saint-Domingue, the intellectual community of the island, centering around the Cercle des Philadelphes, it also contains much background information about the colony, for example, ballooning, meteorology, the presence of an independent press, the development of cochineal production on the island, etc. A useful and interesting work. Part I provides not only a history-in-a-nutshell, but also detailed vignettes of the physical, social, political, economic, demographic, and religious aspects of the colony. A good source to consult if you are writing a history of your family and want to know what everyday life was like in Saint-Domingue.

Mills, Herbert Elmer. The Early Years of the French Revolution in San Domingo. Poughkeepsie, N. Y.: Press of A. V. Haight, 1889. F1923 M65

This work was presented to the faculty of the Cornell University as a Thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in July, 1889. A source often quoted by other researchers and scholars.

Ott, Thomas O. The Haitian Revolution 1789-1804. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1987. F1923.087 1987

This impartial account of the conflict is well-written, using original records and documents. The detailed chapter endnotes and bibliography list some novel sources. It explores the influence and effects of the French Revolution on the slave uprisings in Saint-Domingue. Reviewers call it a "solid narrative of political and military developments in Saint-Domingue between 1789 and 1804" and say that "...Ott's book fills a gap in the Haitian Revolution in English". Required reading for researchers of any discipline in this area.

de Vaissière, George Pierre Charles de. Saint-Domingue: La Société et la vie Créoles sous l'Ancien Régime(1629-1789). Paris: Perrin et Cie, 1909. F1901.V132 [TULAL]

An excellent work based on French and English archival sources. Provides a sound background for understanding conditions in Saint-Domingue before the Revolt. A good companion volume to Moreau's work.

De Wimpffen, Alexandre, Baron D. Voyage à Saint-Domingue, pendant les années 1788, 1789, et 1790. 2 volumes. Paris: n.p., 1797. 917.293/F1901.W75 [TULAL, LSUHill]

This work is credited with being one of the most level-headed, impartial ones about the colony from all viewpoints. It is a first-hand account of the colony in the early years of the French Revolution.


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British Occupation 1793-1798 — France's attempt to retake it's colony 1801-1803 — Eyewitness accounts

Edwards, Bryan. The history, civil and commercial, of the British West Indies. By Bryan Edwards...with a continuation to the present time. London: G. and W.B. Whittaker, 1818-19. TULAL Rare Books F2131.E29 & TUMf, fiches 1-38.

Includes eye-witness accounts of events observed when the author landed with money and supplies (as part of a British delegation) to assist the devastated colony in the 1790s.

Geggus, David Patrick. Slavery, War, and Revolution The British Occupation of Saint Domingue1793-1798. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982. F1923.G37 1982 [TULAL]

This opus major reviews the events and conditions that led up to revolution, and discusses military, social, and economic strategies used by British during their occupation of the island. A very detailed study of military and everyday life in Saint-Domingue under the British. Exhaustive bibliography.

Buckley, Roger Norman. The Haitian Journal of Lieutenant Howard, York Hussars, 1796-1798. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1985. F1923.H78 1985 [TULAL, UNO]

A first-hand account of the experiences of Lieutenant Thomas Phipps Howard during the last two years of the British occupation of Saint-Domingue. The journal is not only a military history, but also a detailed account of the trip across the Atlantic and through the West Indies, and contains descriptions of various urban and rural areas of Saint-Domingue, with personal comments on the politics, manners, and life-styles of the colonists.

Pachoski, Jan, and Wilson, Reuel K. Poland's Caribbean Tragedy: A Study of Polish Legions in the Haitian War of Independence 1802-1803. New York: Columbia University Press, 1986. F1923.P32 1986 [UNO]

A translation, adaptation, and amplification of Pachoski's earlier works. This book explores a little known aspect of the struggle in Saint-Domingue - the story of two Polish demibrigades which became tragically involved in Napoleon's futile attempt to regain the former colony. A good part of this work is based on Polish sources, some of which were destroyed in World War II. Entertaining and informative without being stuffy. At the turn of the 20th century, there were about 1500 descendants of some of these Polish troops still living in Haïti at Cazales (near St.-Marc).

Parham, Althéa de Puech, trans. and ed. My Odyssey. Experiences of a Young Refugee from Two Revolutions By a Creole of Saint-Domingue. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1959.

My Odyssey... relates the adventures of a young man (Saint-Domingue-born and Paris-educated), who fled the turmoil of the Revolution in France, only to find himself in the jaws of the slave uprisings on his native island. This eye-witness account describes his experiences as he escapes the ravaged island, his trials and tribulations in the United States, and his experiences when he returned to Saint-Domingue to fight the Republican-backed slaves. This account is a translation of a journal kept by a person believed to be the editor's ancestor.

Généalogie et Histoire de la Caraïbe. "Le début de la révolte de Saint-Domingue dans la Plaine du Cap, vécu par Louis de Calbiac". Généalogie et Histoire de la Caraïbe, 48 (Avril 1993): 774-785.

This letter, written by Louis Calbiac from Saint-Domingue to his mother, in Castillonès, France details the events of the initial slave uprisings and subsequent civil war in the colony. It is a brutally honest letter, written by a man at the height of his youth, relating the grisly daily occurrences from September 1791 to January 1792.

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