Day 24 in Haitian Heritage Month: The “Indemnity” of 1825: The Haitian Receipts, by Celucien JOSEPH

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Day 24 in Haitian Heritage Month: The “Indemnity” of 1825: The Haitian Receipts

May 25, 2022 Dr. Celucien Joseph 

Day 24 in Haitian Heritage Month: The “Indemnity” of 1825: The Haitian Receipts

In the spirit of celebrating Haitian Heritage Month, I thought I would write a follow-up post to show the historical accounts penned by Haitian historians and writers who have provided detailed accounts about the indemnity of 1825, which Haitian president Jean-Pierre Boyer (1818-1843), in recognition of Haitian independence by Haiti’s former master, France, paid an indemnity of 150 million francs to the imperial France.

The literature on this issue in Haitian studies in the French language is voluminous; for the sake of convenience, I have selected the works of fourteen major Haitian historians and writers to substantiate my previous claim that Haitians have not been silent about their own history. Hopefully, this will serve as an archival reference for the New York Times to acknowledge Haitians in public about their own stories and histories and to cite them next time they write a piece on Haitian political history or the diplomatic relations between Haiti and the United States or the West. With the exception of the text by the eminent Haitian historian Leslie F. Manigat, all the sources listed below are accessible online for free. For each referenced work, I provide the page numbers to locate the history of the indemnity.

Thomas Madiou, the father of Haitian history, in a volume published in 1848, was the first Haitian writer to recount the history of the indemnity. Probably, the second major Haitian historian to have written on the issue in 1860 was Baubrun Ardouin. Two early Haitian diplomats and lawyers, Joseph Anténor Firmin and Jacques Nicolas Leger, wrote in 1905 and 1907 respectively about the indemnity. Hence, good people: we just have to dig deeper and go to “the source,” that is, the “Haitian archive” to find the receipts of what we are looking for.

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