Jacmel

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Map of Jacmel in 1799.
Sketch of the siege of Jacmel in 1800. Copyright © 2007 Broos Campbell. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Jacmel (also: Jacquemel and Jaquimel, Kreyòl: Jakmèl) is a coastal city in Haiti (Department: Sud-Est (South-East), 18°14'N 72°32'W).

The city is located on on the Caribbean Sea in the Baie de Jacmel about 40 km (25 miles) Southeast of the capital Port-au-Prince.

Jacmel is one of Haiti's major port towns and was a hub of coffee shipping wich provided much of it's wealth in the 19th century. Jacmels airport (JAK) is located to the east on the outskirts of the town and has a runway length of of 1,242 m (4,075 ft).

Jacmel and the January 2010 Earthquake

Jacmel sustained extensive damage on January 12, 2010 when an earthquake and many aftershocks hit the town. Jacmel was cut of from the Haitian capital, which (being closer to the epi center of the quake) suffered devastating destruction. In Jacmel buildings collapsed, the hospital had to turn away injured people and vital infrastructure collapsed.

History of Jacmel

The city was created in 1698 as the capital of the south eastern part of the French colony Saint-Domingue.

The War of Knives

Toussaint Louverture fought over Jacmel in the so-called War of Knives between him and André Rigaud. This war began in June of 1799. By November the rebels were pushed back to this strategic southern port, the defence of which was commanded by Pétion. Jacmel fell to Toussaint's troops in March of 1800 and the rebellion was effectively over. Pétion and other mulatto leaders went into exile in France.

Rochambeau brings Napoléon Bonaparte's Genocide to Jacmel

In 1803 Genaral Rochambeau's arrival at Jacmel was signalized by a horrible crime: by his orders, about 100 natives, who were only suspected of having little zeal for France, were thrown into the hold of a man-of-war 1, the hatchways of which were tightly closed; the men were then suffocated by the fumes of the ignited sulphur, their corpses being afterward thrown into the sea." (Léger p. 130

Francisco de Miranda creates the Venezuelan flag

A predecessor of Simón Bolívar in the liberation struggle from colonialism in Spanish ruled South America, Francisco de Miranda, created the first Venezuelan flag near Jacmel. Anchored in the Bay of Jacmel (Baie de Jacmel), he first raised the flag on March 12, 1806 on the Corvette Leander. This day is still celebrated as Venezuelan Flag Day.

Ramón Emeterio Betances stays in Jacmel

Betances.
In 1870 at the request of Jean Nissage-Saget, Haiti's president at the time, the surgeon and Puerto Rican nationalist and participant in El Grito de Lares (The Cry of Lares a.k.a. Lares Uprising in 1868), spent time in Jacmel. Ramón Emeterio Betances y Alacán (1827 – 1898) is often named as El Padre de la Patria (Father of the Puerto Rican Nation) and was also a diplomat, public health administrator, poet and novelist. He served as representative and contact for Cuba and the Dominican Republic in Paris.

President Saget supported Betances's efforts to organize an uprising in the Dominican Republic and his ideas of a Pan-Antillean union. In 1872 Betances gave a speech concerning Caribbean unity to a Masonic Lodge in the Haitian capital:

The Antilles now face a moment that they had never faced in history; they now have to decide whether 'to be, or not to be'. (...) Let us unite. Let us build a people, a people of true Freemasons, and we then shall raise a temple over foundations so solid that the forces of the Saxon and Spanish races will not shake it, a temple that we will consecrate to Independence, and in whose frontispiece we will engrave this inscription, as imperishable as the Motherland itself: "The Antilles for the Antilleans".
Speech to the Masonic Lodge of Port-au-Prince,1872 (Ojeda Reyes pp 192–193)

Jacmel today

The port town is internationally known for it's vibrant art scene and elegant townhouses dating to the 1800's. In recent years Jacmel has been host to a large film festival: Festival Film Jakmèl, This festival led to the founding of Haiti's first film school, the Ciné Institute. It's traditional carnival, the nearby Bassins Bleu (blue water pools), and the beaches such as Ti Mouyaj (Ti Mouillage) and Raymond les Bains attract many domestic and international visitors.

Notable residents of Jacmel

Magloire Ambroise a hero of the Haitian Revolution, was born here in 1774. The world reknown painter Préfète Duffaut (born in Cyvadier near Jacmel in 1923) lives and works in the city.


Note 1: A man-of-war refers to an armed naval vessel.

References

  • Wikipedia contributors (2006). Francisco de Miranda. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:19, May 2, 2006 [1].
  • Jacmel. The Columbia Gazetteer of North America, edited by Saul B. Cohen. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000. [accessed May 2, 2006] [2].
  • Haiti Reference: Profil de la Ville de Jacmel. [accessed May 2, 2006] [3].
  • Léger, Jacques Nicolas. Haiti Her History And Her Detractors. (1907). The Neale Publishing Company. New York. available online - Accessed on August 16, 2007
  • Ojeda Reyes, Félix, El Desterrado de París: Biografía del Dr. Ramón Emeterio Betances (1827–1898), Ediciones Puerto, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2001. ISBN 978-0942347470

Books about Jacmel

  • Danticat, Edwidge. (2002) After the Dance : A Walk Through Carnival in Jacmel, Haiti. New York: Crown Publishers (Random House). ISBN 0609609084.

External links

Videos

Travel information

  • Bassin Bleu - Information about the destination near Jacmel.