carreaux (mesure de superficie, area of land)


New Member
I am trying to figure out the meaning of "carreaux" in the following phrase, which is excerpted from an academic history text:
"L'habitation occupait cent-cinquante esclaves sur une superficie de 300 carreaux."
Thank you for any help or advice!
  • Lezert

    Senior Member
    french, France
    apparemment c'est une ancienne mesure de surface, assez variable :warn::
    1 carreau de Montmorillon = 0,14 are
    1 carreau de Charroux = 0,15 are
    1 carreau de Civray = 2,32 ares
    1 carreau de Niort = un parcelle de terre de 2 toises de côté.

    carreau (Saintonge) : carré de côté égal à 12 pieds de Guyenne (144 pieds de Guyenne carrés).

    50 m2 ( 6 carreaux, soit 300 m2. ici:

    CARREAU : terme utilisé à St-Domingue, il valait 1 hectare
    13 ( ici



    New Member
    United States - English
    How big was a carreau? I have heard two answers:
    1. 100 meters or a little less on a side (100 steps).
    2. 160 meters or so on a side (100 Roman paces of two steps each)
    Which is correct?


    Senior Member
    french France
    some definitions for "kawo" (option 1 seems best):

    -Unit Definition (carreau)
    The Carreau is a traditional unit of land area in Haiti equal to approximately 1.29 hectares (3.18 acres). The unit originated as the area of a square 100 pas (Haitian paces) on a side, with the pas being equal to 3.5 pieds (French feet). Foreigners are not allowed to own more than 1 carreau of urban land or 5 carreaux of rural land in Haiti.

    - Land is measured in parts based on 100ths of a "kawo" for the purposes of buying and selling. A kawo (Carreau in french) equals @3.08 acres making 1/100 equal to @ 134sq. ft.

    -In Haiti, 20th century, a unit of land area, approximately 1.29 hectares (approximately 3.19 acres)1.
    In colonial times it is said to have been the area of a square 100 pas on a side.2 The source states that in Saint-Domingue (what would become Haiti) the pas was 3½ pieds, while in other French colonies, such as Guadaloupe or Cayenne, the pas was only 3 pieds. This is somewhat strange, as in France, according to Doursther, the pas was 2½ pieds (the geometric pas was 5 pieds).
    A square 350 pied on a side would have an area of 12,926.32 square meters, which fits the 20th century value pretty well; a square 300 pied on a side would have an area of 9496.90 square meters.


    New Member
    United States - English
    Thanks! That's what I was looking for. Yes, the context is colonial Saint-Domingue. I have always just sort of roughly equated it to a hectare but it is nice to know the precise answer.


    New Member
    Well, that is making sense of the "Carreau", however while living in Haiti I was then told that a "carreau" measures 112m x 112m? I will consult with a surveyor to learn if the measure constitutes otherwise. The above reference to 350 pas per side or 12,926.32 square meters seems very plausible and close to what I was told in the 1960-70's. Tens of thousands of lots of land are measured and sold by Carreau in Haiti. Lets get the final definition, more than likely as posted above as 100 pas. However the French "pas" is above reported as 2.5 "pieds" while the geometric "pas" is a full 5 "pieds". I suspect the Haitian "pas" is the more generous measure being that Haitians were undoubtedly taller than their original enslavers. Adding to this confusion the above mention also states that the Carreau is either 3.18 (or 3.08) acres in size. I would enjoy some participation in this discussion by a Haitian Official or a Haitian Civil Engineer who may insert a final and definitive interpretation of the "Carreau".
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