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Cul de SacPatrimony, Capitalism, and Slavery in French Saint-Domingue$
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Paul Cheney

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226079356

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226411774.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 22 May 2022

The Colonial Cul de Sac

The Colonial Cul de Sac

(p.1) Introduction The Colonial Cul de Sac
Cul de Sac

Paul Cheney

University of Chicago Press

Le Cul de sac est le plus cul de sac qu’il y ait du monde.

The Cul de Sac [plain] is the deadest dead end in the entire world.

—JEAN-BAPTISTE CORBIER to Étienne-Louis Ferron de la Ferronnays, 8 December 1779

Cul de Sac is a place, a highly fertile plain near Port-au-Prince, in what was the French colony of Saint-Domingue. This was the location of a sugar plantation owned by the Ferron de la Ferronnays family, nobles from the province of Brittany whose pedigree included long service to the French monarchy. Saint-Domingue, the western part of the island of Hispaniola that came under official French domination in 1697, was the most profitable of all of Europe’s eighteenth-century colonies; it was a powerful machine that pumped immense quantities of sugar and coffee onto avid world markets. On the eve of the French Revolution, the colony produced nearly as much sugar as the whole of the British West Indies, and it produced 60 percent of the coffee consumed by Europeans....

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