BY: NATASHA GREGG
THE AGUADILLA REVOLT OF 1795 –
The success of the Haitian Revolution in 1791 glaringly reveal to the colonial powers in the Caribbean the real threat of slave uprisings and the costs of self-liberation. After Saint Domingue’s success in gaining independence, all colonial powers in their various colonies feared a similar outcome. In 1795, in Puerto Rico, Aguadilla to be exact, slaves attempted to revolt, with knowledge that a Haitian agent was now in their midst. Many free blacks, mulattoes, zambos (people of mixed African and Amerindian ancestry) and Indians joined the rebellion. During the revolt, whites were killed and several haciendas were destroyed by fire, causing many whites to flee to churches where they barricaded themselves. The rebels attacked for two days, however, they failed to capture the city. The revolt was quickly suppressed by the militia, with approximately 171 people executed. The rebellion revealed the vulnerability of the colony to the widespread revolts that took place or was currently taken place on other islands. Seeing that the threat to slavery was real to Puerto Rico, then Governor, Ramon de Castro took preventive measures to ensure that something like this wouldn’t happen again. His measures included preventing the circulation of propaganda and people from Saint Domingue from entering Puerto Rico. Also, new orders were enforced that baptized and taught all African slaves in the Roman Catholic faith, no slaves were allowed to buy gun powder, no singing and dancing in houses and streets after 11:00pm and other similar rules.