December 5, 2010

The Citadel of Haiti

The is the famous Citadel on a mountaintop in Haiti build by Henri Christophe in 1805-1820  to deter France from attempting to reconquer Haiti. The loss of life in building the mountaintop redoubt was staggering.  But no attempt was made to retake Haiti. The King shot himself with a silver bullet in 1820.

The biography of Henri Christophe was enfolded into the play The Emperor Jones by Eugene O'Neill. The extraordinary history of Haiti was probably better known in the U.S. many decades ago than it is today.

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

But Steve, the point is that fortress was built using methods and techniques learned from the French.
There simply is nothing indigenous west African about it.
- Did any people in west Africa ever burn lime to make mortar for stone/brick buildings before contact with Europeans/Arabs?
I'd be interested to know.

dearieme said...

citadelx2

Anonymous said...

I believe the correct spelling is Citi-deli of Tahiti.

How soon before it goes condo?

Henry Canaday said...

As I recall, The Haitian slave revolt had a powerful influence on American politics in the first years of the 19th Century. It strengthened Jefferson’s hand in pushing for the abolition of the American slave trade in 1807, the first date permitted by the Constitution for this abolition. And, because it soured Napoleon on France’s western empire, it paved the way for Jefferson’s purchase of the Louisiana Territory. We are a continental nation in part because of the revolt of slaves in a tiny Caribbean island.

Anonymous said...

Steve I tried to look up Henri Christophe online and it didn't seem to me like he was a mixed race mulatto, though I could be wrong. Assuming that he's actually black, aren't you absolutely shocked that a black person somewhere could do anything? I thought they were all primitive and inept. ;) I'm sure your readers must be shocked as well.

Alat said...

"No attempt" at reconquest? The Haitians (with British and American help) had just defeated one in 1805!

Kylie said...

That's "Eugene O'Neill" in my 1932 edition of the play.

Yes, Brutus Jones says, "I has de silver bullet moulded and I tells 'em when de time comes I kills myself wid it. I tells 'em dat's 'cause I'm de on'y man in de world big enuff to git me."

jody said...

interesting.

Anonymous said...

i believe white engineers built it and he had them blinded afterwards.

Dutch Boy said...

Yellow fever was a stronger defense for Haiti than any fort.
http://entomology.montana.edu/historybug/napoleon/yellow_fever_haiti.htm

Camlost said...

All of these threads about African construction and no one has yet to comment on Senegal's $27 million dollar statue erected recently:

http://hanopolis.com/?articleNo=21760&/story/Unveiling-of-Senegals-North-Korean-statue-draws-bewilderment-and-anger

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_Renaissance_Monument

Of course, the Senegalese had to bring in North Korean engineering firms to complete 100% of the work on the Stalinist 49-meter tall "African Renaissance Monument".

eh said...

There's something worth protecting in Haiti?

Anonymous said...

That's quite impressive.

Idle questions: I wonder what they planned to do for water if besieged? Is there enough rainfall in Haiti that the defenders could live indefinitely without another water source?
- JP98

Severn said...

It looks romantic. But it was obsolete in military terms even as it was being built. (Assuming that it's true purpose was to repel the French. If it's purpose to was to assist in the rule over Haitians, mission accomplished.)

Btw, the architects were two Frenchmen.

L said...

I've never heard of this before - that is certainly an extraordinary work. Thanks for posting this, Steve.

Anonymous said...

Steve, please take a few moments to proofread your posts. At least run the spell-checker.

Acilius said...

Hey Steve, did you outsource your copy-editing for this post to a Haitian firm? It isn't like you to put "Ciatdel," "Haitia," and "Eugene O. Neil" all in the same few lines.

Wandrin said...

Castles are some of the most amazing looking buildings.

Mr. Anon said...

"Camlost said...

All of these threads about African construction and no one has yet to comment on Senegal's $27 million dollar statue erected recently:"

Wow! That's something, allright. Thanks for posting and providing the link. The things that African dictators spend money on. Then again, it's no more stupid than trying to remake Afghanistan into a law-abiding democratic republic.

Anonymous said...

All of these threads about African construction and no one has yet to comment on Senegal's $27 million dollar statue erected recently:

The girl in the statute has "good hair"!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Renaissance_africaine.jpg

Anonymous said...

From Paul Krugman's blog today, on how the inside the Beltway elite differs from the masses on an important policy issue:

Actually, there’s more crassness in this world than is dreamed of in most professors’ philosophy. But still, Smith is right that this is mostly not an explicitly cynical calculation, more a matter of tout le monde, as Tom Wolfe would say — meaning a narrow circle of People Like Us — doesn’t care about ---, so it’s hard to grasp how much it matters to others.

"...while the elite can’t easily visualize ---, it has friends who can tell it about how evil it would be to limit ---. Again, most people don’t think about it that crassly; but elites are very good at seeming classy, even to themselves, while being objectively crass."

This description could apply to a number of policies, but he was talking about social security and not immigration.

Harry Baldwin said...

What's the story on Henri Christophe shooting himself with a silver bullet? Was he a werewolf? I thought Haiti's primary supernatural problem was zombies, and any bullet will do for them as long as you get a head shot.

Anonymous said...

The girl in the statue has "good hair"!!

And a great...er...rack *ahem* as well!

Katana said...

Here's some interesting stuff from way back. He apparently made his start in Haiti as a dishwasher and waiter ...

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1129&dat=19420826&id=dtkOAAAAIBAJ&sjid=C2oDAAAAIBAJ&pg=1878,1037024

----------------

PITTSBURG POST-GAZETTE: WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, 1942

Today's Strange Story

Henri Christophe
The Black Hitler
By Vincent Towne

HAITI was among the Americas discovered by Columbus in 1492 and the Spaniards settling there massacred practically all of the natives, filling their places with Negro slaves. Next came the French buccaneers who had the greater part of the island ceded to France. But as the majority of inbllbitants were Negroes. they eventually got control of the government. One of them, a slave—Jean Jacque Desalines—joined several of their uprising against the French and eventually had himself proclaimed Emperor Jean Jacques I. Being Hitlerish in his bloodthirstiness he was waylaid and murdered according to the old-fashioned method of stopping wholesale blood-letting by dictators.

[snip]

But Haiti went from the frying pan into the fire when its black citizenry chose as his successor another Negro, Henri Christophe, who had been born a slave in the the island of Grenada. He was a giant who had been a brigadier general against the French after serving as a dishwasher and waiter in a Haitian restaurant. He was proclaimed President in 1807 and King Henri I in 1811.

[snip]

He also left his people a code of laws which he called "The Code of Henri" in imitation of the Code of Napoleon, he liked Hitler, having developed a marked Napoleon complex.

But like Hitler he was cursed by a sadistic taint. One of his diversions was to watch several prisoners being flogged to death every morning while he ate his breakfast against a window overlooking the place of execution. Some say these executions were scheduled purely for his entertainment.

[snip]

------------------

... and that is why you must always remember to tip well.

Katana said...

Forgot to add this (from the same source) about the bullet ...

------------------

[snip]
Deserted by his bodyguard and nobles, he dropped in a paralytic stroke at the age of 53. ... Then he shot himself with a bullet especially wrought for the occasion from >solid gold<, as be believed that no baser metal should enter the body ot one so exalted.

------------------

These risen ex-dishwasher types look at a silver bullet as a bit middle drawer, I'd say.

Anonymous said...

So he's a Cyberman and not a werewolf.

Anonymous said...

Christophe, Shaka, Bokassa, Amin, Lumumba, Mobuto, Duvalier, Mugabe, Taylor, Obama, Malema.

Halelujah.


Anon.

Anonymous said...

"Christophe, Shaka, Bokassa, Amin, Lumumba, Mobuto, Duvalier, Mugabe, Taylor, Obama, Malema."

I have two words for you: Hitler, Stalin

You can't top that!

Anonymous said...

Steve, just got this circular. It looks like you and some of your readers might write a killer piece for this competition. I can only imagine how the academics will take it...

***
The Andrew Cole International Prize Essay Competition 2011


QUESTION: Is the Human Species Special?



This year’s international prize essay competition takes its theme from a book which was published in 2010: ‘Is the Human Species Special?’. In this book the issue of human specialness is considered at length, and a particular view of human specialness is outlined.


The competition is open to anyone and it is hoped that there will be a diverse range of approaches to the question from a number of different academic disciplines.


The winning essay will receive a prize of £200 and will be published in late 2011 in the book: ‘Essays on Human Specialness’. Essays which are not successful, but that are of a high standard, may also be included in the book.


Entries can simply be a set of personal reflections on the question, an academic work with detailed references, or a poem; indeed, any writing style is acceptable. The book which the winning essay will be published in – ‘Essays on Human Specialness’ – is a follow-up to the 2010 book ‘Is the Human Species Special?’. It is acceptable, even encouraged, to write an essay which is either supportive, or critical, of the view of human specialness which is outlined in: “Is the Human Species Special?”.


There is no lower word limit; however, there is an upper word limit of 5000 words. Multiple entries are also accepted. Submissions should not have previously been published. Entries should be sent via email attachment to Paul Robertson at: cranmorep@gmail.com on or before the closing date of 30 June 2011.


Full details of the competition can be found on the ‘Competition’ page of:


http://www.cranmorepublications.co.uk


Regards

Paul Robertson


p.s. here is some information about "Is the Human Species Special?" :

Synopsis:

The author outlines his view of the place of the human species within an evolving universe and relates this to the environmental crisis and human-induced global warming. This view is wholly naturalistic; in one sense the human species is just another species of animal; in another sense it is not. By approaching the environmental crisis from the perspective of the issue of whether the human species is special the author reaches the conclusion that human-induced global warming could be in the interests of life.

In the first part of the book the author considers the question of why it is that humans consider themselves to be special. He makes a distinction between a singular cause of this 'sense of specialness' and the plethora of rationalisations that humans make as to why their species is special. He proposes that all of these rationalisations are erroneous (assuming that the universe is not purposive). In the second part of the book he develops an account in which the human species is special because of the place that it occupies in the evolution of life on Earth, and he locates the environmental crisis and human-induced global warming as inevitable components of this evolutionary progression. This unique perspective on the human species and the environmental crisis has implications for how the deleterious effect of global warming can be minimised.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what great structures or civilizations the blonde, blue-eyed Nordics/Vikings built? I know that they were good at pillaging. Aren't Nordics supposed to have superior IQ's compared to other Caucasians?

Anonymous said...

Wade said.

" 'The slave traders have left, the last colonialist has left. We have no more excuses. We must seize this opportunity so that history does not repeat itself.' "

Uh, no more excuses?

Surely they will find some. If not lib journalists will supply them.

That thing is huge. 27 million seems fair for something so huge.

Anonymous said...

Jared Diamond, the famous environmentalist, has a lot to say about Haiti in his last big book Collapse.

Only half of the island is Haiti. The other half being The Dominican Republic. Diamond comments on the environmental virtues of the Dominicans with approval. He is wary of course of ascribing any of their better preserved environment to the racial differences.

He points out that Dominican Republic government guards the border from infiltrating Haitians who would degrade their pristine woods with machine guns in helicopter gun ships.

There was a TV news report a few years ago where they had polled the people of Haiti on who would like to come to the US. It was 100%. Everyone in Haiti wanted out.

Maybe that's what we should do. Import the entire population. Move them to Los Angeles, perhaps. This would save The Dominican Republican a lot of helicopters and the trees on the west side of the island might get a chance to recover.

Albertosaurus

Kylie said...

The Haitian Citadel is impressive. But far more impressive to me (though obviously not in the same way) was what I learned in the aftermath of Haiti's earthquake earlier this year.

Two hundred years after the Citadel was built--and before the earthquake struck, Haiti, a nation of 10 million people, had not one single sewage treatment plant.

Poor Sanitation in Haiti's Camps.

But I was greatly heartened to read recently that 3/4 of Haitians have access to a mobile phone.

I've Seen the Future (in Haiti).

Sanitation is so 20th century. Communication is the future!

ironrailsironweights said...

[Jared] Diamond comments on the environmental virtues of the Dominicans with approval. He is wary of course of ascribing any of their better preserved environment to the racial differences.

Racial differences between Haitians and Dominicans are more a matter of degree than of kind. Were it not for language differences the average Haitian would have no trouble passing as Dominican, granted the reverse is somewhat less likely.

Peter

Anonymous said...

He points out that Dominican Republic government guards the border from infiltrating Haitians who would degrade their pristine woods with machine guns in helicopter gun ships


Perhaps we could hire the Dominican Republic to guard America's borders, that task plainly being beyond the ability of our own government.

Dan J said...

Anonymous: "Does anyone know what great structures or civilizations the blonde, blue-eyed Nordics/Vikings built?"

Well, the Vikings built mostly wooden structures. A typical Viking fortress would be an earthwork with a wooden wall on top, circling the encampment.

I suppose most structures built in Africa were made from wood too, and has vanished with the passage of time.

Starting early Medieval, the Nordic took to building in stone, and got quite carried away by the art of fortification. We still have an absurd amount of fortresses lining our shores, ranging from the fully antique to the modern tactical-nuclear-proof.

As for our other contributions to the civilization we enjoy today, well, modesty forbids...

Camlost said...

Racial differences between Haitians and Dominicans are more a matter of degree than of kind. Were it not for language differences the average Haitian would have no trouble passing as Dominican, granted the reverse is somewhat less likely.

That's exactly what happened during the 1937 "Parsley Massacre" where Trujillo's Dominican militias killed or detained those who couldn't pronounce "perehil" (parsley) correctly - native Spanish speakers (Dominicans) would sound different than Haitians since they are native French speakers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parsley_Massacre

Camlost said...

Anonymous: "Does anyone know what great structures or civilizations the blonde, blue-eyed Nordics/Vikings built?"



Not to mention the "great civilizations" that they're living in currently.

B Lode said...

Sounds like some folks around here haven't heard of Hamlet.

I thought everyone had heard of Hamlet.

I guess people named Anonymous haven't heard of Hamlet.

Kylie said...

"QUESTION: Is the Human Species Special?

This year’s international prize essay competition takes its theme from a book which was published in 2010: ‘Is the Human Species Special?’. In this book the issue of human specialness is considered at length, and a particular view of human specialness is outlined.


The competition is open to anyone and it is hoped that there will be a diverse range of approaches to the question from a number of different academic disciplines...

Entries can simply be a set of personal reflections on the question, an academic work with detailed references, or a poem; indeed, any writing style is acceptable."


All members of the human species are special but some are more special than others.

I wonder how many entries will be riffs on that sentiment.

Color me nauseated and include me out. I'll stick to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest and thinking up captions for New Yorker cartoons.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: "Does anyone know what great structures or civilizations the blonde, blue-eyed Nordics/Vikings built?"

Not to mention the "great civilizations" that they're living in currently.

//

If you measure Nordic civilization by monuments or cultural influence, they actually do seem mediocre. Sure they have a very high standard of living but are they great in any epic sense?

Anonymous said...

Mao, famous east asian, trumps Hitler and Jughashvili.

Goatweed

None of us has the seventy member NYT copy desk so deep six the copy criticism.

Anonymous said...

As for [Scandinavians] other contributions to the civilization we enjoy today, well, modesty forbids...

Oh, that's right: porn films.

Thorvold said...

Does anyone know what great structures or civilizations the blonde, blue-eyed Nordics/Vikings built?

Well they spread out and colonized much of Northern Europe via sea and river trading routes including Russia, Germany, England, Scotland, and France. They ranged throughout Europe, traveled south to trade with Arabs and were valued warriors and guards for the Emperor of Byzantium.

So you could say that the they played a role in much of European history (including) and cultural development.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what great structures or civilizations the blonde, blue-eyed Nordics/Vikings built? I know that they were good at pillaging. Aren't Nordics supposed to have superior IQ's compared to other Caucasians?"

The Normans were frenchified vikings - and they built many castles in the lands they conquered, such as England and Sicily. Vikings were also instrumental in the foundation of Russia as we know it. The Norsemen did more than just pillage - they were a very consequential people.

So there. Neener, neener, neener.

CJ said...

That thing is huge. 27 million seems fair for something so huge.

Yes, with the price of copper nowadays -- and built in a remote undeveloped area to boot. The Norks don't have a hell of a lot of export contracts either. You know, copper thieves even in North America are going around stripping phone wire and electrical transformers and what-not. In Africa you can't build telephone land lines because the wire will be stolen. Imagine the dollar value of the copper in that statue, right near the ocean for quick export ...

BamaResident said...

Does anyone know what great structures or civilizations the blonde, blue-eyed Nordics/Vikings built? I know that they were good at pillaging. Aren't Nordics supposed to have superior IQ's compared to other Caucasians?

Nah, according to most figures that would be the central europeans such as the Germans, Poles, Austrians, Swiss and Italians who have the highest IQs amongst Europeans.
And Norse built the best ships of their time, so that is something. They built stone fortifications after the Viking era too.

Anonymous said...

In re: good-for-nothing Nordics/Vikings...

Kinda off-topic just a little, but Arne Beurling snagged both the Spectral Radius Formula AND the Inner Function/Outer Function factorization for Hp-spaces.

And just those two results right there constitute a significant portion of 20th-Century fourier analysis.

[And his student, Lennart Carleson, proved that the fourier series of L2 functions converge almost everywhere.]

Anonymous said...

"The Normans were frenchified vikings"

What does that mean? A previous population of that area of France was replaced by Viking migration?

Anthony said...

Does anyone know what great structures or civilizations the blonde, blue-eyed Nordics/Vikings built?

Russia.

Anonymous said...

sailer-bate:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/07/education/07education.html?pagewanted=2&hp

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer, this is off topic, but have you read the latest Steve Hsu post referencing an NYT study which details the performance of students in Shanghai on the PISA exam? The numbers were stunning.

Thovold said...

The Vikings get a bad rap whose accomplishments are often ignored because they rose at the expense of Christianity in the 8th-11th centuries. By the time they became respectable Christians, they had already conquered and assimilated into the many foreign lands they expanded into so history ignores their pagan Viking origins and important accomplishments.

Viking expansion, conquest and settlement throughout Europe, Russia, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Mediterranean, North Atlantic, North America are shown on this map.

The Soviets tried to counter the Nazi's historical example of the Slavs inviting Varangian Norsemen to rule them because they couldn't rule themselves. The word "Russia" is thought to come from the Finnish Ruotsi (which means "Sweden") and Estonian Rootsi (which means "Sweden").

Because they were chosen for their economic and strategic value, many of the areas that the Vikings conquered/settled became some of the most dynamic and wealthiest parts of Europe: Crimea, Hanseatic League, Normandy/Brittany, the British Isles, Sicily, etc.

Anonymous said...

a significant portion of 20th-Century fourier analysis

At least on euclidean spaces.

Anonymous said...

Since we're mentioning Scandi science greats, let's not forget Arrhenius.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

""The Normans were frenchified vikings""

What does that mean? A previous population of that area of France was replaced by Viking migration?"

It means that vikings - i.e. norsemen, which term eventually becomes "norman" - conquered and settled that part of gaul which is now called normandy. As conquerors often do, they mingled with the locals and adopted the language and culture of those whom they conquered.

Laban said...

"The Normans were frenchified vikings"

That's right. Rollo and his boys were pinching bits of France around the same time other Norsemen were pinching bits of pretty much all the known (to Europeans) world - and a few bits, like Newfoundland, that weren't known.

RS said...

> What does that mean? A previous population of that area of France was replaced by Viking migration?

Yes. The French crown gave them Normandy, being tired of their constant raids. But they were a fairly small army of warriors, and set themselves up as lords and adopted the French tongue. The peasants were native, and came with the land. I'm not sure how they wound up; they may have lost their identity after a few centuries of intermarriage with native French aristocrats.

asdfsadfdsaf said...

Blacks may not be much at building fortresses, the citadel notwithstanding, but they seem to have the knack for giant statues(even though North Korea was hired to build it).

http://www.artknowledgenews.com/files2010jan/Rubbish-Monument-African-Renaissance.jpg

Anonymous said...

Shades of Huckleberry Finn, has O'Neal's play been rewriten?

Goatweed

David said...

>Hitler, Stalin

You can't top that!<

Mao.

B Lode said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"It means that vikings - i.e. norsemen, which term eventually becomes "norman" - conquered and settled that part of gaul which is now called normandy. As conquerors often do, they mingled with the locals and adopted the language and culture of those whom they conquered."

So they were conquered and the elites were replaced? Doesn't sound like much in the way of genetic contribution to the Norman population.

Anonymous said...

The difference between Hitler/Stalin and the African dictators is that evil though the the former were, they were also competent, and which, of course, made them much more dangerous. But under their totalitarian rule, the fundamentals of technology did not disappear, and in many cases were in fact remarkably progressed (think of the Nazi war machine, and Sputnik).

The Africans (Christophe, and Shaka might have been exceptions), by contrast, were or are not competent, and the technological basis of civilization turned or is turning to dross in their hands.

I am not advocating any type of dictatorship, all of these people are repellent, but seek merely to emphasize the stark differences which exist according to the European versus the African versions.

Anon.

Wandrin said...

"Shaka might have been exceptions"

I think you'd have to give Shaka props.

Anonymous said...

I read a history of Haiti about 20 years ago. Two things that have stayed with me are (1) an account of a 19th-century dictator (Christophe, maybe?) marching a squad of soldiers off a cliff to impress a visiting dignitary and (2) a description of a 19th-century labourers, who would work, slowly and sullenly, while they were being beaten, but as soon as the beating stopped would relapse into a motionless stupor.

Cennbeorc

Truth said...

" a description of a 19th-century labourers, who would work, slowly and sullenly, while they were being beaten, but as soon as the beating stopped would relapse into a motionless stupor."

So for every laborer, Cristophe needed to hire a 2nd worker to beat him for at least 8 hours a day. This second worker would have to be on payroll, because if he was one of the "laborers" Cristophe would have had to hire another worker to beat HIM for at least 8 hours a day, lest he relapse into a motionless stupor and stop beating the first guy.

That's just brilliant. So why didn't Cristophe just didn't hire the beater to perform the labor in the first place?

Anonymous said...

Truth: I didn't say the stupified labourers anecdote was from Christophe's time; I believe it was later. I didn't say all Haitians were like that. This was a particular observation of a particular work crew.

Obviously, it speaks not to native intelligence - cos no group is that stupid - but to the level of oppression.

cennbeorc

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

""It means that vikings - i.e. norsemen, which term eventually becomes "norman" - conquered and settled that part of gaul which is now called normandy. As conquerors often do, they mingled with the locals and adopted the language and culture of those whom they conquered."

So they were conquered and the elites were replaced? Doesn't sound like much in the way of genetic contribution to the Norman population."

There were more vikings than just the chieftans and thier retainers who intermarried - a lot of mingling can take place over a couple hundred years, both up and down the social ladder.

David said...

>why didn't Cristophe just didn't hire the beater to perform the labor in the first place?<

One would probably have been beaten for asking that question, so no one did.