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Seeds of Fire: A People’s Chronology

Recalling events that happened on this day in history.
Memories of struggle, resistance and persistence.

Compiled by Ulli Diemer

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October 18, 1803
Haitian forces defeat the French army at Vertières in the last major battle of the Haitian war of independence. The battle ends French attempts to put down the Haitian Revolution and re-institute slavery. France subsequently turns to economic warfare to punish the Haitians for daring to throw off their chains. Haiti is forced to pay ‘reparations’ to French slave-owners and bondholders for the loss of their ‘property’ (i.e. slaves and land); the reparations continue until 1947 and plunge Haiti into extreme poverty.
October 18, 1860
Invading British and French forces under the command of ‘Lord’ Elgin and General Grant deliberately burn and destroy the Old Summer Palace in Beijing in a calculated display of contempt for Chinese culture and history. The destruction occurs during the Second Opium War, in which Britain and France wage war on China in order to force it to legalize the opium trade, which is monopolized by hugely profitable British companies, and to make other concessions to the imperial powers.



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For more information about people and events in Seeds of Fire, explore these pages: