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7440: 7372 Genealogical Inquiry: names, dates, locations, etc.? (fwd)

From: gilles hudicourt <hudic@videotron.ca>

Some records of slave arrivals do exist for Saint-Domingue and they almost
always do provide the "Nation" from where the slave arrived (Mandingue,
Arada, etc.), his sex, approximate age, his physical condition etc but no
name. It has little genealogical value.  The slaves were "baptized" with a
"Christian" first name when they arrived.  The reason the "Nation" of origin
of the slave was always mentioned was because the French thought certain
"Nations" had better aptitudes for certain jobs.  One who known to be a
herder in Africa would most likely be put in charge of herds in
Saint-Domingue, while others who practiced agriculture in their homeland
were preferred for field work.  Some were thought better house slaves etc.
Some were thought to be cannibals in Africa and were feared.  The typical
French planter was very knowledgeable of the different African tribes his
slaves came from and could often recognize one's origin just by looking at
No African ever arrived in Haiti a free man under French rule.  After
Haitian independence, British ships would sometimes intercept slave ships of
other nations and bring them to Haiti where the would-be slaves on board
were freed and given Haitian nationality. Haitian journalists who boarded
such ships before its cargo was off-loaded printed in the Haitian press and
in graphic details the conditions under which the Africans had traveled.
There were women and children among them.  Many had died during the trip and
several were in such sorry state that they died in Haiti even after their
ordeal had ended. Once, another slave ship, Portugeuse I think,  which was
being chased by a British warship sought refuge in Haiti.  The crew was
arrested and the slaves freed but it seems the ship was eventually released
by fear of retaliation by the Nation under which's flag it navigated.