French Antilles Slavery

There should be no surprise that patterns of resistance of the slave women in the French Caribbean were substantially similar to those applied by the British Caribbean while gender played a vital role in  the allocation of tasks. European views on females as fragile beings did not apply to African women; what mattered was not sexual difference but the need for hard, intensive labor. African women were slaves rather than women and were heavy tasked just as their men. These social dynamics gave rise to common forms of resistance to slavery in spite of the additional oppression of black women by black men. Females used different ways of showing disobedience; armed revolt, marronnage, poison, work avoidance, and withdrawal were among the most prevalent in the slave society.

Let’s consider the following:

Armed resistance was pivotal dimension of women’s resistance to slavery in the French Caribbean even though few women actually participated in combat.

Work stoppage was also a means of resistances to which slave women resorted in the French Antilles. This form of resistance was particularly prevalent towards the end of slavery.

Protest against authorities; the entire plantations gang consisting of more than a hundred slaves left Marianne to lodge a complaint about the authorities and the actions of their owners in order to protest adverse working conditions.

Marronnage; around fifty female slaves resorted to launching a work stoppage, while the others resorted to marronnage in the woods.

Litigation - Article 47 litigation code; litigation can be defined as the act or rather the process of contesting a legal action in court, according to Bernard Moitt, individuals like Le sage,  openly resist the stipulated rules by contesting against them, how did they do this? One might be wondering, well, during court sessions they courageously raised complains contesting against the plight of the slave. According to him, it is this contests that enable the slaves masters to relieve them from the harsh treatments. Consequently, female slaves from Marianne forced authorities to launch a judicial investigation, which revealed that slaves had to work hard, usually underfed and excessively punished. In addition to the above, some brave slaves simply said, “no” to the oppressors.

Arson; some of the females maliciously set fire on the houses of their masters rendering them homeless. They burnt down their means of transport, the traditional trucks, tools of manning the slaves, etc.

Poisoning; since most of the slaves worked as the cooks by their masters some went ahead to poison them while the most uncaring ones went ahead to commit suicide by poisoning themselves in order to evade the harsh treatments.

According to the research conducted by a group of students at the University of Makerere, some slaves were particularly daring since they went as far as resisting the rules openly, refusing to work for their masters. Some even resorted to committing suicides despite the fact that these activities were highly prohibited by the rulers

The question whether the slaves’ laws were effective Bothers a lot of people. According to a PhD student at the University of Purdue, Michael Daniels, although some of these laws were highly subjective and rather inhumane, they were not as effective as was stipulated by the promulgators. It is against the aforementioned reasons that these laws received a lot of severe resistance from the females of Antilles.

In conclusion, though the slave women succeeded, in evading the plight, it is estimated that most ended up dying because of the harsh treatments, such as poor working condition, overworking, and most people pass on as a result of their attempts to salvage themselves from the problems they were undergoing.

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