With the encouragement of then King Of France, Louis XIV, the growing of tobacco, indigo, cotton, coffee and cacao began on the fertile northern plain, the most fertile in the entire Island of Hispaniola and, slaves were imported from Africa to work the fields. The economy of Saint Domingue gradually expanded; by 1767, Saint Domingue became the richest colony in the world, and was called the "Pearl of the Antilles" "Queen of the West Indies" "Pride of France in the New World" due to its wealth.
Saint Domingue exported 72 millions pounds of raw sugar and 51 millions pounds of refined sugar. 40% of all sugar consumed in all Europe; 1 million pounds of indigo, 2 millions pounds of cotton and, 60 % of all the coffee consumed in the entire world. The Colony employed 1587 great vessels and 24.000 sailors. A greater number than Marseilles. At any given time, there would be over 600 ships in the port of Cap-Haitian alone.
Indeed, by 1788, Saint Domingue, roughly the size of the current US state of Vermont, became a thriving economy. Its exports reached 214 billion francs. In today's money: (U$ 1,084,440,000) larger than that of the US at the time. Haiti's export were worth far more than the golds of Brazil or the silver of Mexico and they kept the entire navy of France in business.
It became the jewel of the French Colonial empire and supplied France with over half of the wealth it derived from all its colonies combined! The livelihood of as many as 25 millions inhabitants of France, depended directly on the colonial trade centered in Saint Domingue.
This extraordinary productivity depended on the murderous labor of some 800.000 slaves, ruled by a mere 32.000 french masters