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The Wrongful Death of Toussaint Louverture (historytoday.com)
53 points by Thevet 8 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 22 comments

I'm currently reading The Black Jacobins which is about Toussaint L'Ouverture and the revolution in Haiti. Even after having read accounts of the brutality of slavery multiple times before, it always seems to recede into an abstraction after a long time and the descriptions are as gruesome and horrifying as they ever were. And this is a book that spares the details, relatively speaking.

The wealth of the world is covered in blood.

>>The wealth of the world is covered in blood.

Slavery was not very productive. It existed globally from the beginning of organized human society to the 19th century.

In some regions it persisted into the 20th century, and these were all very undeveloped.

Productivity rose in accordance with the decline of slavery. The regions that eradicated slavery first, like Europe, saw the greatest productivity gains.

Labor from paid free individuals and industrialization produced much of wealth of the world.

>> Slavery was not very productive

Once we created mechanical slaves, it was not. But until then, it was.

Slavery was abandoned because productivity rose, not the opposite. Productivity is tied with energy consumption. That's why we won't ever be able to limit our greenhouse gaz production.

Europe itself didn't have slavery, and was by global standards, quite productive before it ever acquired colonies and slaves.

But I agree that it could have been rising productivity that led to the abolition of slavery, and not the other way around.


>>The bourgeoisie in Europe accumulated the capital required to start industrialization through their slave colonies. This isn't up for debate.

The trends leading to industrialization, like the steady accumulation of technology, and rise in productivity, started in Europe long before European states acquired colonies and engaged in the slave trade.

This is 100% up for debate. Please don't try to discourage debate.

>It is indeed the case that the British started supporting abolition when it became clear that they could exploit cheap free labor in their colonies more effectively than slave labor at that time in their development,

I've seen absolutely no evidence of that. There were orthogonal social forces leading to abolition, like the rising influence of the Quakers.

The Revolutions Podcast, by Mike Duncan who also did the History of Rome podcast, did a series on the Haitian revolution. It's excellent! It may be the only successful slave revolt and a truly fascinating story.

The series ran from 2015/12 through 2016/04. The podcast archives begin here: https://www.revolutionspodcast.com/2015/12/index.html

Everything up there is great. I've listen to the history of Rome and the French revolution multiple times. But I am very concerned about his increasing radicalization since doing the Haitian revolution. It's lowering the quality of his work significantly.

To put some context on "his cell, which was often freezing, was too cold", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_de_Joux shows that the fort is on the other side of the border from "the Siberia of Switzerland", where they say temperatures can descend to -40.

(-40 C or -40 F, it doesn't matter. 233 K)

also occurred in the area: the Bourbaki Army asylum at the end of the Franco-Prussian war. https://www.icrc.org/en/doc/resources/documents/article/othe...

Its interesting that coldest place en Suisse isn't some 4500m peak, but a valley in relatively low-lying hills far from anything very high.

And you are right, its actually impressive he survived for so long there.

Famous VC Ben Horowitz writes about Toussaint Louverture often [0], I think it's generally interesting, although I strongly disagree with his stance that he "won" against Napoleon in a battle, as he simply won against French troops, NOT led by Napoleon himself.

[0]: https://medium.com/@4thlettertech/ben-horowitz-my-unlikely-h...

"Hard thing about hard things" was a much better book for me. This sequel is mostly the same as what you get out of the articles for the book promo.

Ha! I wrote a review of it [0], in case you're curious.

[0]: http://brunozzi.com/2014/03/20/the-ugly-thing-about-the-hard...

Didn’t the French lose most of their Troops to disease? I’m also pretty sure that’s what Louvertute planned on.

I recently read and recommend A New World Begins: The History of the French Revolution by Jeremy Popkin. It it's focused on this, but talks about it in the context of the Revolution, which makes all the switching sides make a lot more sense.

Typo, should read It isn't focused.

The rock band Swans has an amazing song “Bring the Sun / Toussaint L’Ouverture” partially inspired by these events.


Also Santana had a song named after Toussaint but I don't think lyrics are describing anything about the actual person.

To reformulate the proverb attributed to Stalin:

The wrongful treatment of Toussaint Louverture was a tragedy, but the crippling debt imposed by France on Haiti was just... economic statistics.

The Haitian Revolution ended as a genocide against all whites on the island, including white abolitionists who were fighting alongside the enslaved. Several thousand French men, women and children were murdered.

Edit: The massacre happened the year after Louverture died, so that's not pertinent. I apologize. More details, including the Poles who only survived the genocide by hiding. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1804_Haiti_massacre

>Haitian Revolution, which was a genocide against all whites on the island, including white abolitionists who were fighting alongside the enslaved.

Not correct, the Polish that allied with the enslaved Haitains and fought off the French were given an honorary black card and Haitian citizenship but were still very much white.

Poland is also home to one of the oldest Black Madonna paintings which signals the strong ties between the Virgin Mary/Jesus and Egypt's Isis/Horus.


It's also important context to note that Louverture had been in control of much of Haiti for almost a decade and no genocide took place while he was in power.

You can't remake history, but is think many would argue that Louverture release would have put him in power and prevents those events (helping other caraibean countries free themselves more easily). Louverture could have been the first black governor, proving that the first French revolution was not just words.

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