Solitude and the Abolition of Slavery: Commemorative Art in Guadeloupe II


In 1999, to commemorate the abolition of slavery, a sculpture in the memory of Solitude was inaugurated as homage and recognition of the victims of the slave-trade and anti-slavery resistance leaders. The statue was installed at the De la Croix roundabout intersection on the Boulevard des Héros, in Abymes, Guadeloupe.

Solitude, daughter of a French sailor and an African woman (who was probably raped during the voyage on the slave ship), was born a slave in Guadeloupe in 1772. Solitude, immortalized by André Schwarz-Bart’s eponymous novel (1972), was a brown-skinned woman of legendary beauty. Each of her eyes was of a different coloration. It is alleged that her exquisite good looks led powerful békés to fight one another with the hope of getting Solitude. Her mother fled the plantation where she was enslaved, leaving Solitude with her masters.

Solitude was freed in the first abolition of 1794 but, after Napoleon restored slavery in the French colonies in 1802, she became a maroon and joined freedom fighters Delgrès and others. She is always remembered as a fierce and fearless warrior, expertly wielding a machete against the French troops. She watched her friends die in battle on May 26, 27 and 28.  When Delgrès and his comrades died in an explosion, Solitude was among them and was seriously injured. She was captured and sentenced to death but because she was pregnant, she could not be put to death. She was executed after she gave birth on November 29, 1802. No one knows the whereabouts of the child. Solitude´s story illustrates the too often forgotten role of women in the struggle against slavery.

For more information and photo, see

For more information on Solitude and other abolitionist figures, see

7 thoughts on “Solitude and the Abolition of Slavery: Commemorative Art in Guadeloupe II

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