Saint-Domingue Refugees and the Diaspora

The Saint-Domingue Refugees and...

The Diaspora

The Diaspora 1791-1803
After 1803
Other Migrations to and from Saint-Domingue - (before and after the Revolution)
The Most Difficult Journey of All
Refugee Communities within the United States
Special Focus Groups

»THE DIASPORA 1791-1803 —
Starting Over in a New Land — Cuba, Jamaica, the United States, etc.

§ Cuba

Debien, Gabriel.
"Les colons de Saint-Domingue réfugiés à Cuba (1793-1815)". In Revista de Indias 13, 54 (Oct-Dec 1953): 559-605; and 14, 55-56 (Jan-Jun 1954):11-36.

A detailed description of everyday life of the refugees, their impact on Cuban society & politics and the economy. This article has been translated by David Cheramie in Brasseaux and Conrad's The Road to Louisiana: the Saint-Domingue Refugees 1792-1809. See "Books" section for particulars of this book.

§ Jamaica

Debien, Gabriel, and Philippe Wright. "Les Colons de Saint-Domingue passés a la Jamaïque (1792-1835)". In Bulletin de la Société d'Histoire de la Guadeloupe 26 (4th trimester 1975): 3-217.

An exhaustive study of the refugees who fled to Jamaica and their life there.

de Cauna, Jacques. "La Diaspora des Colons de Saint-Domingue et le Monde Créole: le Cas de la Jamaïque". Paper presented at the Twenty-Fifth Conference of the Association of Caribbean Historians, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, 27 March-2 April 1993.

This paper lays the groundwork for a study of the presence of the refugees in Jamaica. It discusses the four specific phases of refugee migration, which corresponded directly to the various stages of the revolution in Saint-Domingue, and the reaction of the residents and officials of Jamaica to the refugees. Cauna calls for a study examining their economic impact on Jamaica, in comparison to Cuba and Louisiana.

§ Louisiana & the United States

Debien, Gabriel, and Le Gardeur, René. "Les colons de Saint-Domingue refugies a la Louisiane (1792-1804)". In Revue de Louisiane 9 (Winter 1980): 101-140 ; 10 (Winter, Summer 1981): 11-49, 97-141.

A study of the refugees who found their way to Louisiana during the revolts. A translation of this article can be found in The Road to Louisiana... See the entry under Cheramie, David for exact citation.

Lachance, Paul. "The 1809 Immigration of Saint-Domingue Refugees to New Orleans: Reception, Integration and Impact". In The Road to Louisiana The Saint-Domingue Refugees 1792-1809. Lafayette, LA: The Center for Louisiana Studies, 1992.

The title says it all. Especially good for the comparative statistical tables which sort the refugees out by sex, race, occupation and age. Based on early New Orleans and Louisiana records from 1803-1811.

Debien, Gabriel. "Réfugiés de Saint-Domingue aux États-Unis. In Notes d'Histoire Coloniale 27 (1950): 2-138. TULAL F1923.D4

The story of the refugées in the northern U.S., based on letters written to family and friends in France, originating mostly from Philadelphia, some from New York and Baltimore.

Childs, Frances Sergeant. French Refugee Life in the United States, 1790-1800. Baltimore, MD: [n.p.], 1940. [TU]

The story of the Saint-Domingue and French refugees, focusing on the more northern American cities (New York, Philadelphia, Boston). Although many of the refugees who arrived here were impoverished, this book tends to focus on the more well-off families, those who had ties to the north Atlantic seaboard well before the revolts in Saint-Domingue.

Houdaille, Jacques A. "French Refugees in the United States 1790-1810". In The National Genealogical Society Quarterly 51 (December 1963): 209-13.

A brief overview of the refugees in the U.S. - a bit of methodology, some sources.

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» AFTER 1803

§ Some fled to Santo Domingo

Guillermin, de Montpinay, Gilbert.,
Lic. C. Armando Rodríguez, trans. Diario historico: guerra dominico-francesa de 1808. Santo Domingo, DR: Editora de Santo Domingo, 1976. In Spanish [TULAL]

The story of the French forces under General Ferrand that retreated to the eastern part of Hispaniola in 1803 when the French evacuated Saint-Domingue. Originally in French, titled Journal historique de la revolution de la partie de l'est de Saint-Domingue... (Philadelphia, 1810) [French version available at Tulane on microfiche.], and Precis historique des derniers evenemens de la partie de lést de Saint-Domingue depuis le 10 aout 1808, jusqu'a la capitulation de Santo Domingo. Paris: Arthus-Bertrand, 1811.

§ The Expulsion from Cuba - Refugees Once More

Debien, Gabriel.
"Refugies de Saint-Domingue expulses de la Havane en 1809". In Anuario de Estudios Americanos 35 (1979): 555-610.

A detailed examination of the impact of the Napoleon's excursions into Spain on the French refugees who had resettled in Cuba. Contains a 27-page list of names with various amounts of biographical information.
Cheramie, David, trans. "The Saint-Domingue Refugees in Cuba, 1793-1815". In The Road to Louisiana. The Saint-Domingue Refugees 1792-1809. Lafayette, LA: The Center for Louisiana Studies, 1992.
A translation of Debien's "Réfugiés de Saint-Domingue à Cuba, 1793-1815" (source unknown). This study details the flight of the refugees to Cuba, and, once there, their influence on the economy, social life, and many other aspects, as well as the difficulties and resentment they encountered.

§ Others went to Puerto Rico in 1815

Cifre de Loubriel, Estela, Ph.D.
La inmigratión a Puerto Rico durante el siglo XIX. San Juan, PR: Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, 1964. JV7382.C5 [TULAL]

Discusses and analyzes in detail the migration to Puerto Rico during the 19th century, mentioning the Réal Cédula de Gracias of 1815, which attracted a large number of French and Saint-Domingue refugees. Most important is the catalog of immigrants, 13,217 names with bits of information (with citations) culled from 365 documents in some 40 different sources.

Cifre de Loubriel, Estela, Ph.D. Catalogo de extranjeros residentes en Puerto Rico en el siglo XIX. Rio Piedras, PR: Ediciones de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, 1962.

An alphabetical surname listing of resident foreigners in Puerto Rico in the 19th century, including a series of maps and tables based on biographical data about the foreigners. 972.95 W2c [LDS FHC, Salt Lake City, Latin American book area.

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(before and after the Revolution)

§ The Acadians in Saint-Domingue

Conrad, Glenn R., trans. & ed., "The Acadians in Santo Domingo: 1764-1789." In The Cajuns: Essays on Their History and Culture. Edited by Glenn R. Conrad. Lafayette, La.: Center For Louisiana Studies, University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1978. 976.3 C139 1978

A translation of Debien's original French work about theAcadians who took refuge in Saint-Domingue in the early years of their diaspora. They were settled on the most barren and difficult lands, on the northern peninsula of the island. Researched from official correspondence, reports, and church records. There are several editions of this book. Only the first one contains Debien's complete index compiled from the original records.

§ The Germans in Saint-Domingue

Germans from the failed French colony in la Guyane (South America) were resettled in the most desolate part of the northern peninsula, near Môle St.-Nicolas and Bombarde. If anyone has more information about this group in Saint-Domingue, please let me know.

This is a sampling of some of the German names found in the sacramental registers of Bombarde:


Elmwood, Augusta B. "The Germans in Saint Domingue". In The Saint-Domingue Newsletter, Vol. 12, No. 4 (Oct. 2000), pp. 32-34.

§ Saint-Domingue Emigration to Trinidad

Elmwood, Augusta B. "The French Connection in Trinidad". In The Saint-Domingue Newsletter 11 (October 1999): 27-29.

In 1776 and again in 1783, the Spanish crown invited Catholics to settle in Trinidad. Many settlers from the other French West Indies colonies, notably la Grenade moved to Trinidad, but no substantial migration from Saint-Domingue ever occurred. However, the arrival in Trinidad of some refugee families was noted in official correspondence. For a brief history and bibliography on the subject, click here for the Newsletter article.

Steiner, Xavier. "Recherches sur les Français de Trinidad: Les Sépultures des cimitières de Port d'Espagne, Saint-Joseph et Chacachacare". In Cahier du Centre de Généalogie et d'Histoire des Isles d'Amérique 61 (December 1997): 1-54.

A history of the French settlers and the French religious communities in Trinidad, accompanied by a good bibliography (mostly English-language titles. The list of almost 500 names abstracted from gravestones of 3 Trinidad cemeteries is indexed, as are the place names in the article.

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Stein, Robert. "From Saint-Domingue to Haïti". In The Journal of Caribbean History 19 (November 1984): 189-226.

The fascinating story of Haïti's struggle for political recognition. It discusses France's attempts to discredit and undermine the government by use of secret agents; also the negotiations that resulted in Haïti's underwriting of the indemnity payments in exchange for its official recognition by France as an independent country.

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Starting in 1790, several settlements were established in the United States by land companies (some of them fraudulent speculators) to attract exiles from the French revolution. Many Saint-Domingue refugees also moved to these communities, located at Gallipolis, Ohio, Greene, New York, Fontaine Laval, Maine, as well as the more famous Azilum, Pennsylvania, (near present-day Athens, which was developed as a home-in-exile for Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette), and the ill-fated Vine & Olive Colony in northern Alabama (near present-day Demopolis). However, news arrived in 1802, that Napoleon would restore the estates of the royalists who had fled France, and by 1815, most of these "islands" of exiles were deserted. Those who did not return to France, moved away and blended into America.

Barefield, Marilyn Davis. Old Demopolis Land Office Records and Military Warrants 1818-1860 and Records of the Vine and Olive Colony. Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press, 1988.

This abstract of land office records contains information about the French and Saint-Domingue refugees who bought shares in the Vine and Olive Colony of Alabama.

Childs, Frances Sergeant. "Fontaine Leval, a French Settlement on the Maine Coast, 1791". In Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 51 (April -October 1941): 187-222.

Lisbeth, Terrence L. "The Court of Louis XVI in America". In Louisiana Review 2 (Winter 1973): 37-40.

Murray, Elsie. Azilum French Refugee Colony of 1793. Athens, Pa: Tioga Point Museum, 1940.

The story of the colony at Azilum, PA. Some remains still exist near present-day Greene, PA. Includes maps, pictures, biographies of the residents. 3909Ht13

Naret, M.D., Edward. History of the French Settlers Gallipolis, Ohio, in 1790. Cincinnati, OH: Keating & Co., Printers, ca 1890. Mimeo by the Gallia County Historical Society.

Sibley, William G. The French Five Hundred. Gallipolis, MO: The Gallia County Historical Society, 1933.

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§ The Freemasons

Escalle, Elisabeth and Mariel Gouyon-Guillaume. Francs-Maçons des Loges Françaises "aux Ameriques" 1770-1850. Contribution à l'etude de la société créole. Paris: Chez les auteurs, 1993.

This patient and meticulous work is the result of a systematic and methodical extraction of information from the dossiers of the French Masonic Lodges in the Bibliothèque Nationale (and other archives and sources) established in the Antilles, Guyane and North America from 1770 to 1850. Part One contains a brief history of each French lodge and includes statistical breakdowns of the professions and the places of nativity of the members, and other information. Part Two is an alphabetical listing of 4,623 individual lodge members, gathered from documents in the Archives Nationales, Bibliotheque Nationale, and other public and private sources.

Casey, Powell A. "Masonic Lodges In New Orleans". In The New Orleans Genesis, 20 (Jan 1981): 1-20.

Alphabetical listings of member names, extracted from the rosters of selected Masonic Lodges in New Orleans (1794-1838), focusing on those Lodges which had a high number of members with a Saint-Domingue connection.

Zeringue, Earlene L., ed. "Masonic Lodges of Ile Saint Domingue - 1808". In The New Orleans Genesis 20 (Sep 1981): 473-479.

A list of names from pamphlets in the Masonic Lodges Imprints collection at the L.S.U. Archives, Hill Memorial Library, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A "tableau of the Brothers who compose the Mother Lodge Scottish of the Ile Saint-Domingue regularly constituted at the Orient of Jacmel in session at the Orient of Santo Domingo [city of] because of the events of the war, January 24, 1808."

The Louisiana Historical Center of the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans, and Hill Memorial Library on the campus of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge both have rare published material on the early Masonic Lodges in New Orleans. This material is especially valuable because an 1850 fire at the main Lodge in New Orleans destroyed all the records of these early lodges. The Amistad Center of Tulane University houses the records of the early Black Masonic Lodges in New Orleans - a largely unexplored, but promising collection of documents.

§ Free People of Color & Slaves

There is an ever-increasing amount of material being published about these two groups of people before, during, and after the revolts, in Saint-Domingue as well as in the United States. This is just a sample. Please let me know about any material you find on this subject.

Garrigus, John D. "Blue and Brown: Contraband Indigo and the Rise of a Free Colored Planter Class in French Saint-Domingue". In The Americas (October 1993): 233-63.

A detailed study of Saint-Domingue's free men of color, who comprised 47 percent of the colony's free inhabitants in 1788, many of them successful planters in the southern peninsula. It addresses the part they played in the economy and in the demise of slavery in the colony. A good 100-year overview of the colony's economy, concentrating on the last 40 years.

Garrigus, John D. "A Struggle For Respect: The Free Coloreds of Saint-Domingue, 1760-69". Ph.D. dissertation, The Johns Hopkins University, 1988.

Garrigus, John D. "Catalyst or Catastrophe? Saint-Domingue's Free Men of Color and the Battle of Savannah, 1779-1782". Paper delivered to the 24th Conference of Caribbean Historians, Nassau, Bahamas, 29 March-3 April, 1992.

Branson, Susan J. "The Influence of Black Refugees From Saint-Domingue on the Philadelphia Community in the 1790s". Paper presented to the Association of Caribbean Historians 24th Annual Conference, Nassau, Bahamas, 1 April 1992.

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