Pirates, Planters, Freedom Fighters

HIST 3378-001 & AAST 3378-001

Spring 2023; Mon-Wed 2:30PM – 3:50PM

University Hall 01

Instructor Information

  1. Instructor: John Garrigus; website: https://johngarrigus.com
  2. Office: University Hall 343
  3. Student Office Hours: 4pm to 5:30pm Monday
  4. History Department Office Telephone: 817-272-2661
  1. Email: garrigus@uta.edu
  2. Faculty Profile: https://mentis.uta.edu/explore/profile/john-garrigus

Course Information

Section Information: HIST3378-001 and AAS3378-001
Time and Place of Class Meetings:  Mon. and Wed. 2:30pm to 3:50; University Hall 01.

Description of Course Content: This course examines how people experienced oppression and freedom in the Caribbean islands in the years 1600 to 1804. Piracy and sugar plantation slavery are two of our major topics; the third major topic is the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), the only slave uprising to defeat colonial slavery and establish a new independent nation.

In addition, the course will train you in how to interpret primary and secondary sources, skills that are the foundation of historical knowledge. Because pirates and enslaved people (mostly) did not leave written documents, this is a special challenge for our topic!

Student Learning Outcomes: Students who successfully complete the course will be able to

  1. Identify major Caribbean countries on a map. Assessed on a map quiz.
  2. Distinguish between historical fact and historical interpretation; and connect historical events in chronological chain(s) of cause and effect. Assessed in weekly on-line quizzes and on-line journal.
  3. Analyze primary sources. Assessed in class discussion, on-line quizzes and three assigned papers.
  4. Synthesize evidence from primary and secondary sources to answer a historical question. Assessed in three assigned papers.
  5. Develop critical thinking skills by describing, evaluating, and analyzing primary and secondary sources in Caribbean history. Assessed in three assigned papers.

Required Books (2): Marcus Rediker, Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age (Beacon Press, 2005); and Philippe R. Girard, Toussaint Louverture: A Revolutionary Life (New York: Basic Books, 2016). Other required readings will be available on Canvas.

Major Assignments and Grading

Map quiz50On a blank map, you’ll identify 10 Caribbean islands or countries, and the colonial language spoken there today. We’ll do this on-line in mid-February.
10 weekly journal questions100For 14 weeks this semester, I’ll post a reflection question on Canvas about a primary source. You’ll answer 10 of them over the semester. I’ll award 10 points for an answer that shows that you did the reading, and 5 points for one that does not show this.
Book quizzes100Using Canvas, you’ll take a multiple-choice quiz each week over the assigned reading; you can take each quiz 2 times and only the highest score counts.
Discussion/participation100I’ll take daily notes on your presence and face to face discussion in the classroom.
2 Writing Center visits50About a week before each of our papers, you’ll visit the UTA Writing Center on-line or in the Central Library to go over a draft of your work. When I get confirmation from the Writing Center, I’ll give you the points. Make an appointment at https://www.uta.edu/owl/. Be sure to take them a copy of the assignments.
2 papers300You’ll write a 5-page paper about pirates, based on the primary and secondary sources we discuss in class and on-line. Due Friday, Feb. 18. You’ll write a similar paper about planters, due Friday, March 31.
Final paper300At the end of the semester, you’ll write a third paper about Caribbean freedom fighters and then merge it with revised versions of your two earlier papers for the final paper. Due May 9.
TOTAL1000At the end of the semester, students who have accumulated 900 or more points will receive a “A”; 800 to 899 is a “B”; 700 to 799 is a “C”; etc.

Technology Requirements: We will use Canvas throughout the semester.

Course Schedule

As instructor, I reserve the right to change the course schedule and policies in the event of unforeseen circumstances. John Garrigus


Week 1: Wed January 18

Lectures: The themes of the class; introduction to Caribbean geography; Tainos and Caribs

Reading: Rediker, Chapters 1 and 2

Assignments: Journal answer; book quiz

Week 2: January 23-25

Lectures: Christopher Columbus; the Spanish Caribbean; the SCIM method of interpreting primary sources

              Reading: Rediker, Chapters 3 and 4; primary source: Johnson, A General History of the Pyrates (1724)

              Assignments: Journal answer; book quiz

Week 3: January 30 – February 1

Lectures: Francis Drake; buccaneers at Tortuga; how to infer from a primary source.

              Reading: Rediker, Chapters 5 and 6; primary source: Exquemelin, The Buccaneers of America (1678)

              Assignments: Journal answer; book quiz

Week 4: February 6-8

Lectures: Morgan and Jamaica; piracy’s golden age; pirates and enslaved people; primary sources and corroboration

Reading: Rediker, Chapters 7 and 8; primary source: Atkins, Voyage to Guinea (1737)

              Assignments: Journal answer; book quiz

Week 5: February 13-15 ; paper 1 due

Lectures: Piracy as a culture; piracy and world history; piracy and the public imagination; the end of Caribbean piracy

Reading: primary source: Exquemelin on Captain Morgan

              Assignments:  Writing Center assignment due Wednesday, Feb. 15, paper due on Canvas Friday Feb. 18


Week 6: February 20-22

Lectures: How to grow sugar; the “integrated” plantation; Caribbean slavery versus other slavery systems

Assignments: Journal answer; reading quiz; on-line map quiz (Feb. 22)
Brown, “Worlds of Wealth and Death, ”from The Reaper’s Garden,  pp 13-59; primary source: Equiano, Interesting Narrative (1789)

Week 7: February 27 – March 1

Lectures: the slave trade; sugar and the European economy; growing coffee and other crops; maroons

Assignments: Journal answer; reading quiz

Reading: Brown, “Icons, Shamans, and Martyrs,” from The Reaper’s Garden, pp 129–56. ; primary source: Marie Jeanne’s escape (1757)

Week 8: March 6-8

Lectures: manumission; slavery and the law; overseers, drivers, and absentee planters; free people of color

Assignments: Journal answer; reading quiz

Reading: Garrigus, “Médor’s Town and Country,” and “Médor’s Medicines” ; primary source: Laborie, Coffee Planter (1798)

Week 9: March 13-15 SPRING BREAK

Week 10: March 20-22 

Lectures: religion and culture in Caribbean slave societies; men, women, and children; war and trade

Reading: Cheney, “Husband and Wife,” from Cul de Sac, pp. 130–60; primary source: Edward Long on Jamaican women

Assignments: Writing Center report due; journal answer; reading quiz

Week 11: March 27-29; paper 2 due

Lectures: slave resistance and slave rebellion

Reading:  primary source:  to be announced

Assignments: Paper due on Canvas Friday, March 31

Freedom Fighters

Week 12: April 3-5

Lectures: The Age of Revolution; Vincent Ogé and the Haitian Revolution

Reading: Girard, Introduction, Chapters 1-4; primary sources: Vincent Ogé; Bryan Edwards

              Assignments: Journal answer; reading quiz

Week 13: April 10-12

Lectures: Boukman and Jean-Jacques; French Revolution and Léger Sonthonax

Reading: Girard, Chapters 5-10; primary sources: Antoine Dalmas; Gros

              Assignments: Journal answer; reading quiz

Week 14: April 17-19

Lectures: Multiple Invasions of Saint-Domingue; the rise of Toussaint Louverture

Reading: Girard, Chapters 11-15; primary sources: Toussaint’s refutation; plantation labor policies

              Assignments: Journal answer; reading quiz

Week 15: April 24-26

Lectures: The invasion of 1802; The impact of Haitian independence

Reading: Girard, Chapters 16-21; primary sources: Pierre Cangé; Haitian Declaration of Independence

              Assignments: Journal answer; reading quiz

Week 16: Monday, May 1

Lectures: Final paper in-class Q&A and work session

Assignment: Journal answer


Institutional Information

UTA students are encouraged to review the below institutional policies and informational sections and reach out to the specific office with any questions. To view this institutional information, please visit the Institutional Information page (https://resources.uta.edu/provost/course-related-info/institutional-policies.php) which includes the following policies among others:

  • Drop Policy
  • Disability Accommodations
  • Title IX Policy
  • Academic Integrity
  • Student Feedback Survey
  • Final Exam Schedule

Face Covering Policy

Face coverings are not mandatory; all students and instructional staff are welcome to wear face coverings while they are on campus or in the classroom.


At The University of Texas at Arlington, taking attendance is not required. Rather, each faculty member is free to develop his or her own methods of evaluating students’ academic performance, which includes establishing course-specific policies on attendance. As the instructor of this course, I use the quizzes and discussion assignments to gauge your active involvement in the class, but I do not have a separate attendance grade.

However, while UT Arlington does not require instructors to take attendance in their courses, the U.S. Department of Education requires that the University have a mechanism in place to verify Federal Student Aid recipients’ attendance in courses. UT Arlington instructors should be prepared to report the last date of attendance as part of the final grading process. Specifically, when assigning a student a grade of F, faculty must report the last date a student attended their class based on evidence of academic engagement such as a test, participation in a class project or presentation, or an engagement online via Canvas. This date is reported to the Department of Education for federal financial aid recipients.

Emergency Exit Procedures

Should we experience an emergency event that requires evacuation of the building, students should exit the room and move toward the nearest exit, which is located to the right as you leave UH01. When exiting the building during an emergency, do not take an elevator but use the stairwells instead. Faculty members and instructional staff will assist students in selecting the safest route for evacuation and will make arrangements to assist individuals with disabilities.

Academic Success Center

The Academic Success Center (ASC) includes a variety of resources and services to help you maximize your learning and succeed as a student at the University of Texas at Arlington. ASC services include supplemental instruction, peer-led team learning, tutoring, mentoring and TRIO SSS. Academic Success Center services are provided at no additional cost to UTA students. For additional information visit: Academic Success Center. To request disability accommodations for tutoring, please complete this form.

The English Writing Center (411 in the Central Library)

The Writing Center offers FREE tutoring in 15-, 30-, 45-, and 60-minute face-to-face and online sessions to all UTA students on any phase of their UTA coursework. Register and make appointments online at the Writing Center (https://uta.mywconline.com). Classroom visits, workshops, and specialized services for graduate students and faculty are also available. Please see Writing Center: OWL (http://www.uta.edu/owl) for detailed information on all our programs and services.

Emergency Phone Numbers

In case of an on-campus emergency, call the UT Arlington Police Department at 817-272-3003 (non-campus phone), 2-3003 (campus phone). You may also dial 911. The non-emergency number is 817-272-3381.