She could provide almost forty percent of foreign trade in France. Sugar plantations were the main producer of this wealth.
The wealth acquired from the colony however was born on the hard labor of slaves who had traveled on slave ships across the Atlantic from their motherland Africa. Slaves made out more than eighty-five percent of the colonys plantation while the rest were whites and mulattoes/colored. Important to note is the fact that of all the profit generated, very little remained on the island.
The plantation society was founded on a law that strictly segregated the three classes namely slaves, freedmen/coloreds and whites. Among the colored/freedmen were many who owned plantations and even slaves as well as coloreds who served in the armed forces (Dubois, p65). The slaves endured hard labor and many often died because of the working conditions as well as the brutality they faced. The slaves in Haiti thus formed the lowest class in the social strata of the colony.
The upper class consisted of the whites or the blancs who were the owners of vast plantations in which the slaves worked and other French who mainly run small scale businesses. Mulattoes or the coloreds, who formed the middle class, were the children of slave women and their French owners – they were light-skinned in color. Children from these unions obtained education from their white fathers and even conscription into the French army (Dubois, p 20).
The first French to settle in Haiti were buccaneers and logwood cutters around the mid seventeenth century. The French hunted cattle, which they would sell, to traders and sailors. With time, these French people began to plant sugar cane on a large-scale level prompting the French government overseas to establish a governing council in the island of Saint Domingue (Bryan, p1).
The French settlers however were only involved in making minor decisions such as court decisions to do with the slaves whereas the ultimate political power