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Valuation of properties (including slaves) on Haitian plantations 1791

The combined value of all plantations, buildings and assets of the French territory of St Domingue (present-day Haiti) in 1791 was estimated to be 1.5 billion livres*. With a population of 455 thousand, at an average of 2.5 thousand livres each, black slaves were assigned a combined value of 1.14 billion livres; over three quarters of all assets on the St Domingue's plantations.

At this time, St Domingue was regarded as the most valuable overseas colony in the Caribbean, producing sixty percent of the world's coffee, a significant share of the world's sugar, and it was home to roughly half of the Caribbean's slave population. 1791 in Haiti is a significant point in world history, as it marked the beginning of the Haitian Revolution; this slave insurrection eventually led to a 13 year conflict, where the former-slaves won their freedom and founded the world's only country ever established by a slave revolt.

Combined valuation of various assets, including slaves, on the plantations of St Domingue (Haiti) in 1791

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Release date

October 2020



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

*The livre was the form of currency used in France and its colonies in the 18th century, and was replaced by the franc in 1795, where one franc was equal to one livre and three deniers (1.0125 livres). For comparative purposes, it is important to remember that the franc was then revalued in 1960, where one new franc was equal to one hundred old francs.

The total quantity of each asset and its individual price (in livres) is as follows:
Slaves: 455,000 - 2,500 livres
Sugaries - white: 451 - 230,000 livres
Indigo plantations: 3,097 - 30,000 livres
Sugaries - brown: 341 - 180,000 livres
Coffee plantations: 2,810 - 20,000 livres
Cotton plantations: 705 - 30,000 livres
Horses and mules: 16,000 - 400 livres
Lime-kilns, brick and pottery works: 374 - 15,000 livres
Horned cattle: 12,000 - 120 livres
Arak and rum distilleries: 173 - 5,000 livres
Tanneries: 3 - 160,000 livres
Cacao plantations: 69 - 4,000 livres

Release date is the date of most recent online access; the original source was published in 1850.

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