Caribbean History Series: The Plain of Cul-de-Sac

The year is 1899.

Hesketh Prichard, a British explorer, adventurer and travel writer, has arrived in Haiti to see with his own eyes the land where “the law of the world is reversed, and the Black man rules.”

It has been 105 years since the abolition of slavery in Saint-Domingue in 1794. Nearly a century has passed since Haiti won its independence from France. In Haiti, the negro inherited “a wide land sown with prosperity,” a “made country,” where he was “turned loose to work out his salvation.”

In 1789, there were 58 heavily irrigated sugar plantations covering around 36,000 acres in the Cul-de-Sac plain that surrounds modern Port-au-Prince. The lush fields of the plain were connected to its port by a straight and well-maintained road system.

Once upon a time, the Cul-de-Sac and Artibonite plains in the Western Province around Port-au-Prince – where there had been a total of 314 sugar plantations  – were the Detroit of capital intensive, export-based plantation agriculture. Saint-Domingue was the jewel of the French Empire.

The following excerpt comes from Hesketh Prichard’s book Where Black Rules White: A Journey Across and About Hayti:

“On my way to San Domingo, I rode out of the capital toward the plain of Cul-de-Sac, which in the days of French occupation had contained many flourishing plantations, the soil being rich and productive beyond the average even in prolific Hayti.

“Yes, sir, you are right plumb in the centre of the most fertile district in Hayti – in the world. Do you know how much the revenue from this Plain of Cul-de-Sac totted up to in the time of the French colony a hundred years back? It was 20,000,000 francs, and what would you put it at now?”

I had overtaken the speaker. I looked round. We were riding up a steady but hardly perceptible incline, and were in the heart of the plain. Ever since the first streak of dawn I had been passing ruined walls patted with vegetation, a few irregular patches of corn, a few clumps of Guinea grass about each solitary palm-thatched hut, yet mangoes, bananas, and tamarinds bore witness to the soil’s unaided fruitfulness. As we went on the surroundings grew more lonely. Save for the town of Pompadette no village broke the desolate ranges of forest on either hand.

Here among wild and hardy trees some hint of the old time occupation of man might be traced in the existence of gentler-bred shrubs, but the splendid country houses of the French period had apparently been absorbed by the jungle, which had closed in about them when man ceased to dwell there. Mules, bred between the parrot and the blackbird, chattered in the riotous foliage, and droves of lean pigs eked out a precarious existence on the land that the forest had reclaimed from the dominion of man.

“The present revenue? I had not an idea,” I replied.

My questioner laughed. “Not a red cent, sir! Each year the forest comes forward, and no effort is made to keep the ground clear, much less to cultivate it. There is a proverb in this island which you may have heard – ‘In Hayti, there are only three classes who work: the white man, the black woman, and the ass.’ …

The Plain of Cul-de-Sac is, roughly, twenty-seven miles by twenty-four. Port-au-Prince lies at one end of it, and there the ships of all nations offer a ready outlet to its wealth. And yet, for all practical purposes, its wealth is not. A few huts, primitive enough to cost the labour of but half the day, lie scattered over its surface, but the occupiers are satisfied to subsist on the produce of the land as Nature gives it into their hands. The very sugar-boiling pans of a hundred years ago lie rusting where the dawn of slave-emancipation found them, and in these evidences of a bygone prosperity the lizard has its dwelling-place.”

Pompeii was buried in ash by a volcanic explosion.

Following the Haitian Revolution, the prosperity the Cul-de-Sac and Aritibonite plains was laid low by the immutable laws of the Visible Black Hand of Economics. In 1904, Cuba exported 1.1 million tons of sugar. In spite of the Spanish-American War, Cuba still exported 345,000 tons of sugar in 1899.

In Haiti, it was a national proverb at the time that there were only three classes who worked: the white man, the black woman, and the ass. Is that why Haiti is always referred to as the poorest country in the Western hemisphere? It had a jump on the rest of Africa in decolonization.

About Hunter Wallace 12387 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent


  1. Haiti also has a hydro-electric plant built by the U.S. in the 1950’s. Much of the dam has silted up over the years because of lack of maintenance which has reduced the dam’s capacity to generate electricity. Thousands of cubic yards of silt need to be removed from all dams periodically or they will fill in.

    This may not be too important however because the electrical distribution system is a shambles from lack of maintenance also. It’s unlikely all the power could be sued even if %100 of the dam’s theoretical capacity were available. This is another example of the benefits of diversity.

    Africa wins again.

  2. I grew up in a evangelical Methodist Church that had a mission in Haiti. The family that ran the mission for many years has daughters and keep them low profile living in Haiti with the violence and high crime. The family when returning to the United States to talk about their work with the church conference seemed morally defeated and wanted out. Collectively Sub Sharan blacks can’t move forward and independently to maintain high levels of civilization yes whites with pathological altruism can be blamed however China is moving in with alternative measures that are not selfless pathological altruism

    • “Wherever there are blacks, everything is going down,
      Wherever there are Whites, everything is going up.”
      R E Lee

    • Indeed.

      For all the amazing things he accomplished, Napoleon really did the world a disservice by not smashing the Haitian slave revolt before it got out of hand.

      But then, I suppose, that whole “being at war with literally every major power in Europe” thing was a bit of a distraction…

  3. The British don’t produce fine fellows like Hesketh Prichard anymore. Were they all killed off in the Great War?

    • Apparently many of the best of European stock were killed off and Europe never recovered from WWI. They rallied to the colors early and were killed in enormous numbers by the machine gun and massed, accurate artillery ironically only a few hundred yards apart.

      The slaughter was appalling and demoralized victors and vanquished alike and led to a crisis of legitimacy in all European institutions. This led to the rise of Communism and violent reactions to Communism. The Romanovs, Hapsburgs and other prewar dynasties were replaced with the wonders of “democracy” at bayonet point by the victors.

  4. The Haitians always have voodoo to comfort them, along with bleeding hearts of White Christians and endless international aid from western countries.

    As Patrick J. Buchanan stated in 1992 and was immediately chastised for it, “You can’t build Vermont in Africa.”

    • The saying in Haiti is that the people are %90 Catholic, %10 Protestant and %100 Voodoo. The fact that Voodoo negates both Catholic and Protestant teaching and doctrines and is actually Satanism is lost on these geniuses. It’s the same south of the Rio Grande, Voodoo in various forms is always in the background, a thousandth of an inch below the surface.

      Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.

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