This article is a microlevel study of the effects of international warfare on one sugar plantation situated in one of the most highly developed and profitable areas of sugar cultivation in eighteenth-century Saint-Domingue (Haiti) during the War of American Independence (1775 – 83). During this and similar conflicts, which were endemic to the Atlantic economy of the eighteenth century, planters were cut off from the food supplies, capital goods and credit they required; as their produce became temporarily worthless and slaves suffered from malnutrition, planters shifted their efforts to subsistence food production and infrastructural improvements such as irrigation works in the hopes of weathering the effects of international blockade. Yet in reality, as this article shows, these plantations had a very limited capacity to adapt to such circumstances; very quickly, debilitating economic losses and social unrest took hold of these highly profitable, but essentially fragile, operations.

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