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Santo Domingo’s Slaves in the Context of the Peace of Basel: Boca Nigua’s Black Insurrection, 1796*

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This article analyzes the black insurrection of Boca Nigua’s sugar mill in Spanish Santo Domingo in 1796, to show that any slave rebellion must be regarded as a direct consequence of the slaves condition, though external circumstances might favor them. I highlight the importance of those events, which must be identified as the first echo of Saint-Domingue’s revolution, in the eastern part of Hispaniola. First, I describe the theoretical framework of my research. Then, I study the penetration of news of Saint-Domingue’s revolution, and of the French revolutionary ideology in Santo Domingo since 1795. Third, I describe two black uprisings prior to Boca Nigua’s rebellion, as well as the situation within that plantation before the cited events. Finally, I analyze the development and outcome of the rebellion, focusing on the slaves’ plans, on the desertion of one of their leaders, and on the violent repression by colonial government.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of History – Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Comparative Studies Network on Caribbean and Atlantic World (RECCMA), E-mail:


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