The Black Code of Louis XIV 1685
Louis X (1289–1316), Louis XIV (1638–1715), Maximilien Robespierre (1758–1794), and Napoléon Bonaparte (1769–1821) are some of the most famous French monarchs. Slavery was outlawed in France by Louis X in 1315, but his proclamation did not extend to French colonies created centuries later. Columbus and those who followed him enslaved indigenous Americans, initially as translators, but eventually as slaves in the West Indies alongside African slaves. Slavery’s immense economic worth became increasingly important to many European governments as the decades passed. In 1625, the French built their first permanent Caribbean settlement on St. Kitts, and African slaves began to arrive two years later. Slavery had spread across the French colonies by 1685, including Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Domingue (Haiti), and other islands. In the same year, Louis XIV signed the Code Noir, or Black Code, which is considered one of the most important documents in the heinous history of slavery.