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Landscaping Hispaniola: Moreau De Saint-Méry’s Border Politics

Author(s): Maria Cristina Fumagalli

Journal: New West Indian Guide
ISSN 1382-2373

Volume: 85;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 169;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Haiti | Dominican Republic | France | social history | society | slavery | boundaries

This article focuses on Médéric Louis Élie Moreau de Saint-Méry's Description Topographique et Politique de la partie espagnole de l'Isle Saint-Domingue (1796) and his Description Topographique, Physique, Civile, Politique et Historique de la partie française de l'Isle Saint-Domingue (1797). The Descriptions were both written before the beginning of the French Revolution and the 1791 slave revolt in Saint Domingue but were published when the colonial frontier had been abolished (at least de jure if not de facto) by the 1795 Peace of Basle. Overall, the article argues that the two Descriptions are ultimately committed to the (re)inscription of the colonial frontier but intriguingly oscillate between its erasure and its reinforcement. It begins by focusing on Saint-Méry's territorial projections and appropriative landscaping of the Spanish colony; it highlights the important role played by the border in the racial politics of Hispaniola and then revisits Saint-Mery's border politics on the island in the light of the author's conviction that France should reannex Louisiana, given to Spain in 1762.
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