Slavery and the Haitian Revolution

Stewart R. King

in The Oxford Handbook of Slavery in the Americas

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199227990
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Slavery and the Haitian Revolution

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  • History of the Americas
  • Slavery and Abolition of Slavery



This article reviews scholarship on the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804). The revolution stands as the only one in history to have destroyed a society in which slaves performed almost all productive labour and constructed on top of the rubble a nation-state in which slavery was prohibited. This unique phenomenon resonated throughout the transatlantic world, with repercussions in the imperial capitals of western Europe and throughout every slaveholding region in the Americas. The revolution inspired slaves with pride and the hope of ultimate deliverance and freedom, and it encouraged advocates of liberty in Europe. Perceptions of the revolution over the ensuing two centuries have been coloured by racial attitudes and by the subsequent experience of independent Haiti. In the last half century, scholars have rediscovered the Haitian Revolution. New data and new methods have advanced understanding of the social and cultural circumstances of the revolution and its preconditions.

Keywords: slaves; slavery; European imperialism; slaveholding; freedom

Article.  12248 words. 

Subjects: History ; History of the Americas ; Slavery and Abolition of Slavery

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