JCB Fellow's Talk: Carrie Glenn

November 15, 2017 - 4:00pm

Carrie Glenn (University of Delaware) Jane L. Keddy Memorial Fellow

“From the harbour we beheld the terrific conflagration”: Perspectives of the 1802 Burning of Le Cap and Its Aftermath

From the 1770s through the early 1800s, Dominguans developed complex webs of credit, debt, and trust that cut across imperial and national lines, linking urban importers, retailers, and consumers to their counterparts throughout the Caribbean and North American littoral. The outbreak of slave revolution in Saint Domingue and the invasion of British and Spanish imperial forces in the early 1790s tested the durability of those Atlantic ties and upended the rhythms of life in Saint Domingue’s port cities, leaving those dependent on commerce economically vulnerable. Drawing on materials from the John Carter Brown Library and elsewhere, this talk looks at the 1802 destruction of Le Cap, the island’s principal port city, and its aftermath to think about how those engaged in commerce in the city adjusted to the upheavals wrought by renewed warfare. Why did some individuals remain in Saint Domingue and why did others who had previously fled, return? How did they coordinate their movements on and off the island in times of conflict? Even fragmentary answers to these questions move us toward understanding the varied responses available to those caught in the storm of imperial contests and revolution.

 The Reading Room will close to researchers at 3:30 p.m.