Who are the Blancs Matignon of Guadeloupe?
- connieLv 79 years agoFavorite Answer
The descendants of the original European families in Guadeloupe fall today into two groups. Blancs-Pays (lit. ‘Local Whites’) are the descendants of large plantation owners who are still members of the economic elites on the island. The Blancs-Pays function as an exclusive caste (Leiris, 1955). They live in a close network, and intermarry within their group (Kováts-Beaudoux, 2002). Blancs-Matignon (‘White-Matignon’, supposedly after the name of the first settler from this group in the area where the majority of them currently live), also called Petits-Blancs (‘Small Whites’), are the descendants of smaller land owners, generally indentured workers who acquired some land after the termination of their contract. They live in a poor rural area, Les Grands Fonds, and are associated with the low income white population. These two groups have lost their ties with continental France over the centuries and are native to Guadeloupe. They speak both French and GC.
Blancs Matignon of Guadeloupe, whose forebears, some 200 years ago, split from the other French colonists on the island to found a community free from the poison of revolutionary politics. They were a small population of Europeans who wanted to escape, the problems and horrors of the fight to abolish slavery. "Two centuries ago," Orizio writes, "when Napoleon was ruling Europe, a small group of French colonists decided to abandon the ports and farms of this wealthy colony and wide away in the furthest corner of the island, a prey to hunger and disease." Why they did so is a mystery, though Orizio suggests two alternatives: that they were "aristocrats fleeing the guillotine, or smalltime slave-owning farmers clinging to a traditional way of life." whatever the explanation, their descendants are wholly isolated, afflicted with racism, and so thoroughly inbred that "everyone ... is a cousin if not brother." In search of some fresh blood to inject into the veins of our children," they have begun to intermarry with nonwhites, but the lasting damage probably already has been done. The caste solidarity and tribal identity of the Blancs Matignon, of Guadeloupe, claiming kinship with Prince Rainier of Monaco and still living in the mountains of this Caribbean island after 350 years, are impressive. But they are an unintelligent bunch of peasants, racially bigoted and consequently deformed, mentally and physically, through incest.
The Grands Fonds region at the centre of Grande-Terre lies inland from Sainte-Anne, Morne-à-l'Eau and Le Moule. It is the quintessence of agricultural Guadeloupe with fruit farms and other food producing plantations. Deep valleys border the expanses of greenery and the roads wind constantly... Among its many inhabitants are the Blancs-Matignon community, who eke out a hard existence form the soil. Until recently these offspring of the white settlers who fled Victor Hughes’ persecution were completely self-sufficient and only married within the clan. Consanguinity did not improve their genetic heritage and many suffer from wrongs related to this plague. Little and discreet, meeting one of them is rare.