King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences

Haitian almanac, 1814

Title page of featured itemTitle page of Haitian almanac, 1814The extremely rare publication featured here was published to mark the 11th year of Haitian independence. It gives details of the royal household and nobility established by Henri Christophe and was presented to James Stephen (1758-1832), the lawyer and slavery abolitionist, by a member of the Haitian government.

By the time this work was published, Haiti was divided into the Republic of Haiti in the south and the Kingdom of Haiti in the north. The south was ruled by the liberal government of Alexandre Pétion (1770-1818), a man of mixed race who had been expensively educated in France and who broke up the large estates into smallholdings that slaves could own as peasant farmers – a popular move which was, however, disastrous for the economy, as sugar production was largely curtailed. The north was ruled more autocratically by Henri Christophe.

The vicissitudes suffered by the Haitian people as they attempted to overthrow colonial government and then subsequently live under local rulers who often displayed similarly despotic tendencies, are illustrated in the items featured in this part of the online exhibition. Long after the revolution, colonial powers continued to fight for control and influence of the territory, adding to existing internal conflicts. Other nations, including the United States, were also reluctant to recognise the newly independent nation-state for fear of giving succour to their own slave populations.

In this exhibition

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