DID YOU KNOW?

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DID YOU KNOW?


Did you know
North of d’Ennery, le Quartier du Dauphin contained steep mountains and only mediocre soil? Nevertheless, it offered a safe port at Lespérance, which had lent the district its name until Governor de Micoud renamed it after Monsieur le Dauphin.

The district’s main village, le Mouflet had the only intact church left on the island after the 1780 hurricane. The Lespérance and the Marquis Rivers would each turn several waterwheels, yet in 1784, Dauphin had no more than five sucreries and 1200 slaves, where 12 plantations and 7000 or 8000 slaves would bring the district up to full working capacity, according to Lefort de Latour.

He also mentioned the existence of several beautiful cotton and coffee estates, which covered the entire mountain sides including Morne La Sorcière where coffee grew almost up to the summit.

Source: A History of St. Lucia by Harmsen, Ellis & Devaux – 2012
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Did you know Baron de Laborie’s enthusiastic dedication between 1784 and 1789 went a long way towards improving St. Lucia’s plantation economy? By the time he passed away, in April 1789, 43 sugar estates were once again in production, plus 143 coffee and 88 cocoa plantations.

The largest sugar estates were established in Soufrière – nine, Vieux Fort – eight, Castries – six, Laborie – five, Gross let and Anse la Raye – four each, Praslin – three, Dauphin – two and Micoud and d’Ennery – one each. The district of Choiseul had no sugar estates.

Cotton fetched high prices, and some 200 planters set up or re-established cotton plantations, and by 1789, cotton merchants had set up business houses in Castries, Soufrière, Laborie, Micoud and Gros Islet. In 1803, cotton remained St. Lucia’s primary export crop and fact is, the true dominance of sugar as the island’s main crop was a nineteenth century phenomenon.

Source: A History of St. Lucia by Harmsen, Ellis & Devaux – 2012
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Did you know the three decades between 1765 and 1794 saw two periods of dedicated development of a plantation economy in St. Lucia based on sugar cane, cotton, coffee and cocoa? Both periods were distinguished by French rule: from 1765 until the end of 1778 under Governor Baron de Micoud and his nephew Deputy Governor de Micoud, and yet again from 1784 until 1793 under Governors de Laborie (1784-1789) and his successors Governors de Gimat, de Ricard and Goyrand.

However when the English captured the island in late 1778, it was not their intention to undermine the plantation economy, but their military priorities seriously affected crop production. The few remaining working plantations were later wiped out by the hurricanes of 1780.

It took the French authorities, under the governorship of Baron de Laborie five years to get St. Lucia’s plantation economy and infrastructure back on its feet. De Laborie’s successors continued to keep the island on the right track until 2793, when the French revolution dramatically impacted on life in St. Lucia and the wider Caribbean.

Source: A History of St. Lucia by Harmsen, Ellis & Devaux – 2012

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This feature runs every Tuesday and Thursday. It is written by daughter of the soil Anselma Aimable, a former agricultural officer and former correspondent for Caribbean Net News, who has a deep interest in local culture and history. Send ideas and tips to [email protected]   

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3 COMMENTS

  1. This history makes me love my country more each day that passes by.SLU you got your issues but it will always be the land of my birth.

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    • Yes you can, but be very careful when heading to Des Barras, not sure if the road have been repaired since Tomas.

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