The Haitian Revolution of 1789-1803 transformed the Caribbean's wealthiest colony into the first independent state in Latin America. It encompassed the largest slave uprising in the Americas and inflicted a humiliating defeat on the three main colonial powers - France, Britain, and Spain. In Haitian Revolutionary Studies, David Patrick Geggus sheds new light on this tremendous upheaval by marshalling an unprecedented range of evidence drawn from archival research in a half-dozen countries. Together with a narrative overview, Geggus's thirteen fine-grained essays explore central issues and little-studied aspects of the conflict including new historiography and sources, the origins of the black rebellion, relations between slaves and free people of colour, international repercussions, and the naming of the new state. Major topics discussed are the contributions of vodou and marronage to the slave uprising, Toussaint Louverture and the abolition question, the policies of the major powers toward the revolution, and its interaction with the early French Revolution.
Among the more unusual issues investigated are black counterrevolutionaries and resettlement of the insurgent leaders in Latin America. Questions about ethnicity, identity, and historical knowledge are raised in an investigation of why the first modern black state was given an Amerindian name. For scholars and students of Latin American and African American history, Haitian Revolutionary Studies makes a major contribution to understandings of a complex revolution.
David Patrick Geggus is Professor of History at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He is the author of Slavery, War, and Revolution, editor of The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, and co-editor (with David Barry Gaspar) of A Turbulent Time: The French Revolution and the Greater Caribbean (Indiana University Press).