The Haitian Revolution

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In 1789 Europe witnessed a revolution that would rock the continent of Europe and have a great impact on the colonies in the Caribbean especially St. Domingue. At the time of the French Revolution St. Domingue (the name of Haiti at the time) was the richest colony in the Caribbean and was known as "The Pearl of the Indies". It was the richest french colony but had the worst slave conditions.

Social Structure
There were three social groups white, mulattoes and blacks. The whites were at the top of the social pyramid and did not socialize with the other social groups. The whites were divided into three groups Metropolitan white, Grand Blancs and Petit Blancs. The Metropolitan whites were those that were born in France. The Grande Blancs were the rich whites, civil workers and owners of businesses. The Petit Blancs were the poor whites and were treated badly. They could not own land and did not have the right to trade due to a law passed called 'The Exclusive" or even participate in political matters. Being white was their only badge of honour. Both the Grand Blancs and the Petit Blancs were envious and inferior to the Metropolitan whites because they were locally born while the Metropolitan whites were born in France. Hence they were looked down on by the Metropolitan whites and were called Creoles (locally born whites).

At the middle of the social pyramid were the Mulattoes. These were the offspring of white plantation owners and black slave women. They were not black and they were not white so they were referred to as Coloured. The mulattoes were restricted from a number of things: they could not wear shoes in some places, they could not play European games, they were even restricted from the titles Mister or Madame at one point.

At the bottom of the social pyramid were the blacks, these were the slaves. They contributed to most of the population of St. Domingue (about 80%). They were treated the worst of all the social groups. They hated the white...
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