Guerre, commerce et migrations dans le premier empire colonial français : approche micro-historique

Force, Pierre

The author of Wealth and Disaster provides an account of how his book came about, and he reflects on his conclusions as well as his method. The book arose from an archival find. Rather than seeking to prove or disprove a large-scale hypothesis, the book follows a micro-historical method in examining a few “cases”, i.e. facts that seem to go against the norms of a particular time and place (Lower Navarre in the 18th century). The author asks why two younger sons made their fortunes in Saint-Domingue even though they were destined to poverty in accordance to Pyrenean inheritance customs, and why a first-born decided to emigrate even though emigration was normally restricted to younger sons. One of the main conclusions is to show the impact of the colonial reality on the inheritance customs of rural zones that would initially seem immune to the upheavals of the Atlantic world. Emphasis is given to the convergence between this study and Paul Cheney’s Cul-de-Sac, especially regarding the vulnerability of sugar and coffee plantations to blockade and war. Finally, some reflections are offered on the relationship between capitalism and slavery as it was understood in the 18th and 19th centuries.

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La Révolution française

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Academic Units
French and Romance Philology
Published Here
June 4, 2024