By James E. McClellan III
How used to be the nature of technological know-how formed through the colonial adventure? In flip, how could we make experience of the way technological know-how contributed to colonialism? Saint Domingue (now Haiti) used to be the world’s richest colony within the eighteenth century and residential to an lively society of science—one of in basic terms 3 on the planet, at the moment. during this deeply researched and pathbreaking examine of the colony, James E. McClellan III first raised his incisive questions about the connection among technological know-how and society that historians of the colonial adventure are nonetheless grappling with this day. lengthy thought of infrequent, the publication is now again in print in an English-language version, observed through a brand new foreword through Vertus Saint-Louis, a local of Haiti and a widely-acknowledged specialist on colonialism. usually pointed out because the an important start line in figuring out the Haitian revolution, Colonialism and technology should be welcomed by way of scholars and students alike. “By deftly weaving jointly imperialism and technology within the tale of French colonialism, [McClellan] . . . brings to mild the background of a virtually forgotten colony.”—Journal of contemporary background “McClellan has produced a magnificent case research delivering very good surveys of Saint Domingue’s colonial heritage and its heritage of science.”—Isis
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Extra resources for Colonialism and Science: Saint Domingue and the Old Regime
4 Sailing was not entirely free from hazards, for several shipwrecks occurred each year among the thousand or so crossings to and from France and Saint Domingue. Costs, too, were high for paying passengers: fares ranged from 160 livres for one trunk and a place among the crew to 800 livres for three trunks and a seat at the captain's table. 5 Sailing constituted the only way to cover the distance between France and Saint Domingue, and the regular operations of transatlantic sailing obviously required accurate navigation.
Clearly, French science received support because of the many practical benefits it offered or seemed to offer in establishing, maintaining, and enlarging French Saint Domingue. Science could investigate causes of tropical diseases, determine Saint Domingue's precise location, identify useful flora and fauna, and explore potential new avenues for colonial development, particularly promising economic enterprises. The full armamentarium of French science was constantly, relentlessly employed for its real or perceived utility across a broad range of activities.
The combination of mountains and considerable rain meant that Saint Domingue possessed many, mostly short rivers carrying runoff from the mountains. At least thirty-two named rivers flowed in Saint Domingue. 12 The little Dalmarie extended just over 1 mile long; the Artibonite was the longest river in Saint Domingue, stretching nearly 60 miles in French territory. Flooding often became a dangerous problem, when swollen and powerful courses would seasonally burst their banks. For example, two hundred people drowned when the Grande Riviere of Gorge Ste.