Paradise Lost: Haiti’s Tumultuous Journey from Pearl of the Caribbean to Third World Hot Spot

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Refresh and try again. Michael 's review Mar 24, I read this book to gain greater insight into the history and experiences of Haiti. He consistently frames the history and narrrative of Haitian back upon themselves to blame them for their struggles, and to highlight his perception of Haitian entitlement within their nationalism.

Journal of Haitian Studies

Admittedly, I ended up "finishing" the book only through active skimming whenever he jerks-off about this entitlement. I still feel there must be a better way to tell this story without being so distinctly prejudiced to blaming Haitians, and not just see Haiti as a "flawed state" but to analyze it from the role of being the first majority black "western" nation-state. Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Paradise Lost. Why has the United States felt a need to repeatedly intervene in Haiti's affairs? Why have multiple U. Philippe Girard answers these and other questions in Paradise Lost.

Journal of Haitian Studies

He examines how colonialism and slavery have left a legacy of racial tension, both within Haiti and internationally, as Haitians remain deeply suspicious of white foreigners' motives, many of whom doubt Haitians' ability to govern themselves. He also examines how Haiti's current political instability is merely a continuation of two hundred years of political strife that began during the War of Independence Finally, Girard explores poverty's devastating impact on contemporary Haiti.

This book is different from others in the field, arguing that Haitians - particularly home-grown dictators - bear a big share of the responsibility for their nation's troubles. These elements will all come together in showing the consequences of the sugar trade on Saint Domingue.

They brought in many military men and invited all types of people to inhabit the island. Although people came, their intentions were rarely to stay on the island permanently: many of them only wanted to profit from trade.


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They noticed that Saint Domingue had a rich virgin soil and that the island had much potential. However, in order to put in place crops such as sugar cane, cotton, tobacco or coffee they needed people to clean the land, prepare the soil, plant seedlings and weed them.

When it came to sugar cane, which was a much more expensive crop to have, the work was much harder and required more man-power. Europeans were dying of exhaustion due to the hard conditions, which is why they decided to import massive amounts of black slaves from Africa.

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Between and , the French brought about 1 million slaves to sugar islands, most of which went to Saint Domingue7. Quickly, Saint Domingue became the island in the Caribbean with the most slaves. This slave population was originally kidnapped in Africa, often in the Bight of Benin, by Africans and then sold to the slave traders.

They were then chained on slave ships with anywhere between to people on average8. They were fed little, and forced to do some kind of labor to keep their minds distracted, far from rebellion.

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However, as harsh as the conditions of the crossing might have been, the conditions did not necessarily get better once on shore. Saint Domingue was known for having the harshest living conditions for slaves in the Caribbean. The Living Conditions The living conditions on the plantations widely varied according to the social class one belongs to. The Atlantic Slave Trade.

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Cambridge: Cambridge UP, In sugar plantations they had to harvest the sugar cane with machetes, walking through the razor sharp leaves of the cane as well as the snakes and insects that inhabit the fields. Additionally, because sugar cane sours fast, these workers had to work in a very timely manner and were therefore rushed to crush the cane and boil its juice. The heat from the fire added to the already torrid tropical heat made this task all the more difficult. Punishments were just as much a part of daily life on plantations. Slaves were whipped daily without great resistance. They were often subject to nose and ear mutilations as well as branding with a hot iron in the shape of a heraldic lily.

Women were often raped or forced to have intercourse with a fellow male slave in order to produce slave children. These people did tasks that usually required more specific skills.

They often became servants or specialized workers. However, they were still slaves and legally did not have much more value than furniture. Although slaves had the hardest lives on the plantation that does not mean that the settlers had optimal lives.

Haiti, Pearl of the Caribbean

They also had a certain amount of work to do on the plantations.



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