"Démesvar Delorme and the 1842 Earthquake" by Watson Denis, Ph.D.
Denis is Professor of History and International Relations at the State University in Haiti. He has written extensively on the Haitian Revolution and Haiti’s nineteenth century.
1842 au Cap: tremblement de Terre, a short book by Démesvar Delorme shown below, is above all a historical document. It is a testimony about a terrible natural disaster that killed nearly half the inhabitants of
Cap-Haitien and destroyed nearly all the city’s infrastructure and historical landmarks in several seconds.
Today the book has tremendous importance given the destruction and suffering wrought by another earthquake in Haiti on 12 January 2010. 1842 au Cap has now reappeared to remind us how those who pay no attention to history are condemned to relive it once more.
Delorme’s book also includes other content that will interest us. In the last pages, Delorme talks about his own life, his education, and his initiation into adulthood. These provide us with important perspectives on one of the nineteenth century’s greatest Haitian thinkers.