Toussaint L’Ouverture

The Rebel General

“The Spartacus…whose destiny it was to avenge the wrongs committed on his race.” Comte de Lavaux the French governor-general of Saint Domingue, describing Toussaint.

The French Revolution of 1789 sparked slave rebellions in the Caribbean, and the Haitian Revolution (1791-1803). Free people of colour in Saint Domingue (Haiti) protested when French planters would not grant them citizenship, as decreed by the National Assembly of France in its “Declaration of the Rights of Man.” During the Haitian revolution which followed, wars were fought among and between racial and social groups, France, Spain and Britain.

France officially abolished slavery in1794. Forma slave Toussaint L’Ouverture, leader of the Domingue rebellion, became a brigadier with the French forces, and turned his troops against Spain, his former allies.

Toussaint became ‘governor-general for life’ of Saint Domingue in 1801 and, following the defeat of Spain and the British began to moving towards independence from France. In 1802, when Napoleon Bonaparte took over as the head of State of France, he tried to re-establish slavery in the West Indies, and Toussaint was captured and imprisoned in France.

Under the leadership of Jean Jacques Dessalines and Henri Christophe, the fighting continued. The people of Haiti eventually gained their independence in 1804.

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