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Barbara Traver

was a formerly enslaved African who became one of the wealthiest women in French Guiana. Her surname is sometimes given as Paillet. The date and place of her birth are both uncertain. Before her marriage, she was an enslaved worker of François de La Motte Aigron, who freed her when she wed Jean Paillé, a soldier, master mason, and carpenter, on 29 June 1704. After his discharge, the couple remained in French Guiana and steadily built up their wealth. In 1709 their total assets were modest: six enslaved workers, one horned animal, plantings of food crops (“milh,” manioc, and yams), and one rifle. However, by 1737 they possessed sixty seven enslaved workers forty six horned animals plantings of export crops rocou indigo coffee and cacao as well as food crops one sword two rifles and a townhouse in Cayenne wealth which equaled that of some of the richest ...