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Slave Trade in Martinique since 1635 Boulard Hélène.

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Presentation on theme: "Slave Trade in Martinique since 1635 Boulard Hélène."— Presentation transcript:

1 Slave Trade in Martinique since 1635 Boulard Hélène

2 1/ Definition of Slavery: -What does it really mean? 2/The differents periods of trade towards Martinique : *-Martinique since 1635 and the beginning of the slave-trade towards Martinique *-Emancipation of slaves

3 1/Definition of Slavery: Slavery has always existed,and is as old as the hills. In fact, this phenomenon already existed in Greek, Roman and even Egyptian Antiquity. -What does slavery really mean? It means that you’ re somebody’s property, and bound to obedience.More precisely, in the case of the West Indies,African people forced to leave Africa to work for their masters.

4 2/ The different periods of trade towards Martinique : * Martinique since 1635 and the beginning of the slave trade toward Martinique In 1635, Pierre Belain Desnambuc, Who was sent by the Cardinal de Richelieu, colonized Martinique for the French Nation. Richelieu was one of the original founding fathers of the French colonial movement.

5 Pierre Belain Desnambuc

6 Around 1639, the American Island Company, initiated the importation of both indentured servants and slaves, bought on the African coast. The indentured servants were people committed to a thirty-six month work contract. In those days, the population of Martinique was mainly composed of white people and their servants. Tobacco production was introduced into the island and required very few slaves.

7 In 1640 Jewish settlers from Holland came here, bringing the know-how and techniques necessary to the production of sugar Sugar cane replaced tobacco and became the first crop of the West Indies. In this way, this new crop made the island become rich in the eighteenth century. The supply of manual labour wasn’t sufficient, so the slave trade started developing.

8 The Dutch were the first to organize,then shortly thereafter the French, the full scale slave trade. Gore island off the Senegalese coast near Dakar,was one of the French slave trading activity centre. Many ships left from le Havre, Nantes, La Rochelle and so on. They brought trinket and cheap goods to exchange with the slave traffickers.

9 Slaves traffikers

10 In 1685,Martinique was returned to the French Royal Domain. Colbert,Finance minister under Louis XIV, codifies a set of rules governing the status of slaves in the colonies, called The “Code Noir”. The origin of the “Code Noir” for Martinique goes back to 1661, when Colbert gave instructions to the intendant, Patoulet. But it was only in August,6th of 1685 that the intendant put it on practice in Martinique. This text deals with slaves and foreign people.

11 The production of sugar required 2 or 3 slaves per hectares_ Martinique at this time, had more slaves than free colonists. But there were 2 important problems: The First one was a general rebelliousness among the slaves in various forms (revolts,poisoning, suicides)… And the second one: There were too many male slaves therefore the colonists had to start importing slave women.The status of all children derived from their mother’s status: a child born of a slave mother and a free father became a slave.


13 F rom 1717 to 1845,many important events happened such as in 1787, the arrival of Rochambeau as a governor at the outbreak of the American Revolution. In 1789/1790, in response to British threats against the island,Rochambeau mobilized the militia and recruited slaves into it.

14 In 1793, the French Revolution continued and under the pressure of Friends of Blacks and Humanists like l’Abbé Gregoire,The French convention proclaimed the abolition of slavery, but Martinique refused to recognize it. The decree of Abolition of slavery,voted buy the convention on February, 4th 1794, had no effect, due to the fact that the island belonged to English at this time. This is in contrast to the situation in Guadeloupe, where slavery had already been abolished during the administration of Victor Hugues, the prefect. But slavery was to be re-established there on May, 19th 1802, under Napoleon Bonaparte.


16 Then, from 1822 to 1826, the deterioration of the economic situation produced various forms and incidents of rebellion among slaves and freedmen. In October, the rebellion of the half-free population broke out in Carbet. After, in 1830, sugar lost a third of its value while the improvement of the slaves’ life quality required increased government spending.

17 * From 1845, things began to change. The first factory was built; The need for manual labour in the factory contributed to social acceptation of the replacement of slave labour by paid labour. In February, the revolution was welcomed with relief. The emancipation is signed in Paris in April, 27th, but it will finally only become announced on June, 3rd. In April, “ The March 4 decree”, which had created the “Emancipation committee” has the population buzzing about official emancipation because…

18 “No French territory should have the right to hold slave any more.”


20 In 1848, because of the slaves’ impatience to be free, rioting broke out on May, 22nd. In fact, they had been promised freedom since the end of March at the same time as the proclamation of the Republic. Spurred by Victor Schoelcher, they abolished slavery immediately on May,23rd.

21 Victor Schoelcher

22 The Blacks broke and threw down their chains!

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