Staging Eden; Staging Power: Landscaping the Royal Garden of the Kingdom of Haiti
Keywords:Native ecosystems, decolonization, economics, Kingdom of Haiti, garden landscape, Royal Garden of Haiti, tropicality
A uniquely successful slave revolt enabled King Henry (Christophe) I to lead an engagement with native plants, animals including humans, built structures, and landscaped gardens in The Kingdom of Haiti, a tropical country liberated from colonial rule. The new ruler’s political and economic exigencies and hopes had points of both collaboration and contention with the expectations of the new citizens. He would make full use of both local traditional knowledge and the latest for-profit agricultural management techniques. The engagement resulted in general prosperity, especially for the new proprietors of the largest landholdings. He set aside a portion of royal property that preserved the original flora and fauna, but most of the kingdom maintained the former plantations. There were schools and medical clinics for everyone. Yet the peasants worked even harder than they had as slaves and held little political power. Beyond the Royal Garden and the preserved forest, exploitation of the tropical ecosystem continued and even increased.
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