The New York Times Releases Historical Dataset of Haiti’s “Independence Debt” Payments to France & More Trending News


The Ransom, a five-part investigative collection inspecting the staggering sum Haiti was compelled to pay France for its independence, was the work of 4 New York Times reporters and greater than a dozen researchers. Together, for greater than a 12 months, they examined 1000’s of authentic paperwork present in private and non-private archives and libraries, primarily in Haiti, the United States and France. This staff additionally learn a whole bunch of books and articles, from tomes revealed shortly after the Haitian revolution started in 1791 to the newest titles, which arrived in bookstores in France simply months in the past.

Decades of writing and papers by researchers learning Haiti shaped the important constructing blocks for the collection. Along with the tales, The Times revealed a 5,000-word companion piece itemizing many of the unique paperwork, secondary sources and consultants we relied on.

In order to assess the dimensions of the debt funds and their impact on Haiti’s historical past, The Times additionally assembled a historic dataset of funds Haiti made to France. The information contains annual particulars, beginning in 1825, on what is named Haiti’s “double debt”: funds Haiti made to former colonists and French banks and traders who held loans that Haiti took out to begin paying it.

The Times revealed the dataset and documentation supporting it to be clear about calculations used within the challenge, within the hopes that the information could also be useful to historians and researchers. The information can be utilized for noncommercial functions with attribution.

“Our investigative series on Haiti was built on more than a century of scholarship. By making our years-long research a publicly available resource, we hope that the public, students, historians and researchers, will be able to access rarely seen historical documents and gain a greater insight into the reparations Haiti paid for its freedom,” mentioned Michael Slackman, assistant managing editor, International, The New York Times. “We hope that our series contributes to the existing body of work on Haiti and helps spark a discussion on the legacy of Haiti’s ‘independence debt’ and the role France, the United States and Canada played in this burden.”

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The Times revealed an accounting of the analysis used within the collection, which incorporates:

  • Primary sources, together with handwritten letters, experiences and telegrams, banking contracts and detailed minutes from shareholder conferences.
  • Secondary sources, together with an intensive catalogue of books, multisource information units, the writings and memoirs of historians and leaders, historic newspaper protection, and analysis papers.
  • An in depth rationalization of how Times journalists calculated Haiti’s funds to France.

Read extra in regards to the investigation and the important thing takeaways from the collection.

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