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Colonial Banks, Credit, and Circulation: The Example of Martinique 1848-1871


  • Agnès Festré

    (Université Côte d'Azur, CNRS, GREDEG, France)

  • Alain Raybaut

    (Université Côte d'Azur, CNRS, GREDEG, France)


In this paper, we analyze the conditions of the establishment and functioning of the French colonial Bank of Martinique during the transition period following the decree to abolish slavery in 1848. It is particularly intended to show how the Bank was able to respond to the financial constraints posed by this transition and to deal with the circulation problems that punctuated the period. This study will be conducted in three stages. In the first section, we focus on the establishment and principal operations of the colonial banks in the old French colonies, with particular emphasis on the Bank of Martinique. The second section presents an initial assessment of the operation of the Bank. Finally, the last section is devoted to the circulation problems encountered by the Bank, highlighting the conflicts of interest that underlie the different debates around this issue.

Suggested Citation

  • Agnès Festré & Alain Raybaut, 2018. "Colonial Banks, Credit, and Circulation: The Example of Martinique 1848-1871," GREDEG Working Papers 2018-26, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), Université Côte d'Azur, France.
  • Handle: RePEc:gre:wpaper:2018-26

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    Slavery; Colonial banking; Money circulation;

    JEL classification:

    • B15 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • N2 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions

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