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Latin American & Caribbean Special Collections: Haitian Collections

This libguide includes archival collections related to Latin America and the Caribbean. It also includes information on rare books and digital collections. It is organized by region. The material listed here can be consulted in Special Collections.

Slavery in Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti)

The first French settlement on the island of Saint-Domingue was made in 1670 in Cap François (present-day Cap-Haïtien). Settlers grew cacao, coffee, tobacco and indigo and began importing slaves for labor. In the 18th century, Saint-Domingue was France's richest colony, producing approximately 40% of all sugar and 60% of all coffee consumed in Europe and the Americas.

Jeremie Papers. 1714-1896. The records of Jeremie's civil administration, legal documents, ecclesiastical records, and the archives of over thirty notaries who operated both in Jeremie and in outlying areas of Saint-Domingue.

Slavery and Plantations in Saint-Domingue Collection. 1779-1791. Letters, inventories, and account books pertaining to potential sales of various plantations and holdings, including slaves, in Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti). Provides information about the French colony in the decade leading up to the revolt by black slaves in 1791.

Other Collections

Deren, Maya: Collection of Haitian Vodou Recordings. 1947-1954. Recordings of Vodou ceremonies made by Maya Deren during her trips to Haiti.

Haitian Registries. 1800-1885. Notarial papers from offices in various regions of Haiti.

Haitian Revolution

Haiti's War of Independence began in 1791 with the slave revolt and Haiti became officially independent in 1804. Toussaint L'Ouverture was a former slave who became the leader of the Haitian Revolution and the de facto governor of the free colony. During that time period, slavery was not questioned and the fact that Haiti became the first nation born out of a slave revolt caused fear in the minds of countries such as France, the United States, and Spain. These countries were scared that other colonies, seeing that slaves could gain their freedom, would follow the path of Haiti and also revolt. Therefore, even after L'Ouverture had gained control of the government and declared an end to slavery, both the French and Spanish attempted to re-impose European control and continue the system of slavery in the island. The Haitian Revolution also influenced the outlawing of the slave trade in several countries, including France and Britain. The success of the Haitian Revolution influenced other slaves to demand their freedom from the settlers.

Jeremie Papers. 1714-1896. The records of Jeremie's civil administration, legal documents, ecclesiastical records, and the archives of over thirty notaries who operated both in Jeremie and in outlying areas of Saint-Domingue.

Rochambeau, Donatien Marie Joseph de Vimeur: Papers. 1764-1803. Correspondence, decrees, and other documents regarding Donatien Marie Joseph de Vimeur Rochambeau's involvement with Saint Domingue and Toussaint Louverture.

Saint-Domingue and Haitian Autograph Collection. 1769-1802. Miscellaneous autograph documents related to Saint-Domingue and Haiti at the end of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th century.

Mangonès, Edmond: Collection. 1655-1843. A selection of documents (on microfilm) from the private library of Mangonès, a Haitian collector and historian of the early 20th Century. Most of the documents date from before and after the Haitian revolution.

Haiti: A Free Nation

Slavery was not questioned during the late 18th and early 19th centuries and the fact that Haiti became the first nation born out of a slave revolt caused fear in the minds of countries such as France, the United States, and Spain. Although Haiti became independent in 1804, for several years, the United States refused to recognize Haiti as an independent nation. The U.S. refused to acknowledge Haiti's independence because if Haiti was seen as a free nation, that could incite other slaves to revolt and demand their freedom. However, the Haitian Revolution influenced the outlawing of the slave trade in several countries, including France and Britain, and France and the U.S. eventually recognized Haiti's independence.

Haitiana Collection. 1805-1954. Correspondence and other records documenting politics in Haiti in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Crumbie, Frank R.: Papers. 1926-1931. Customs inspector, Haiti. Letters, notes, and photos relating to West Indies

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