Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture

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Columbus discovered Haiti on December 6, 1492. The discovery was on Columbus’ first trip to the New World. He is shown planting the official Spanish flag, under which he sailed. The priest shows the influence of the Church upon people.

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Mistreatment by the Spanish soldiers caused much trouble on the island and caused the death of Anacanca, a native queen, 1503. Columbus left soldiers in charge, who began making slaves of the people. The queen was one of the leaders of the insurrection which followed.

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Spain and France fought for Haiti constantly.

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Spain and France agree to divide Haiti, 1691.

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Slave trade reaches its height in Haiti, 1730.

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The birth of Toussaint L’Ouverture, May 20, 1743. Both of Toussaint’s parents were slaves.

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As a child, Toussaint heard the twang of the planter’s whip and saw the blood stream from the bodies of slaves.

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In early manhood his seemingly good nature won for him the coachmanship for Bayou de Libertas, 1963. His job as coachman gave him time to think about how to fight slavery. During this period, he taught himself to read and to write.

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He read Rynol’s Anti-Slavery Book that predicted a Black Emancipator, which language spirited him, 1763-1776.

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The cruelty of the planters towards the slaves drove the slaves to revolt, 1776. Those revolts, which kept cropping up from time to time, finally came to a head in the rebellion.

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The society of the Friends of the Blacks was formed in England, 1778, the leading members being Price, Priestly, Sharp, Clarkson, and Wilberforce

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Jean Francois, first Black to rebel in Haiti

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During the rebellion of Jean Francois, Toussaint led his master and mistress to safety.

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The blacks were led by three chiefs, Jean Francois, Biassou, and Jeannot; Toussaint serving as aide-de-camp to Biassou.

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The Mulattoes, enemies of both the Blacks and Whites, but tolerated more by the Whites, joined their forces in battle against the Blacks, 1793.

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Toussaint captured Dondon, a city in the center of Haiti, 1795.

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Toussaint captured Marmelade, held by Vernet, a mulatto, 1795.

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Toussaint captured Ennery.

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The Mulattoes had no organization; the English held only a point or two on the Island, while the Blacks formed into large bands and slaughtered every Mulatto and White they encountered. The Blacks learned the secret of their power. The Haitians now controlled half the Island.

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General Toussaint L’Ouverture, Statesman and military genius, esteemed by the Spaniards, feared by the English, dreaded by the French, hated by the planters, and reverenced by the Blacks.

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General Toussaint L’Ouverture attacked the English at Artibonite and there captured two towns.

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Settling down at St. Marc, he took possession of two important posts.

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General L’Ouverture collected forces at Marmelade, and on October the 9th, 1794, left with 500 men to capture San Miguel.

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General L’Ouverture confers with Leveaux at Dondon with his principal aides, Dessalines, Commander of San Miguel, Duminil, Commander of Plaisaince, Desrouleaux, Ceveaux and Maurepas, Commanders of the Battalions, and prepares an attack at St. Marc.

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General Toussaint L’Ouverture defeats the English at Saline.

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On March 24, he captured Mirebalois.

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Returning to private life as the commander and chief of the army, he saw to it that the country was well taken care of, and Haiti returned to prosperity. During this important period, slavery was abolished, and attention focused upon agricultural pursuits.

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The constitution was prepared and presented to Toussaint on the 19th day of May, 1800, by nine men he had chosen, eight of whom were white properietors and one mulatto. Toussaint’s liberalism led him to choose such a group to draw up the constitution. He was much criticized for his choice, but the constitution proved workable.

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L’Ouverture made a triumphant march into San Domingo on the 2nd of January, 1801, at the head of 10,000 men, and hoisted the flag of the French Republic. Toussaint did not wish to break with the French, the largest group of Haitian inhabitants. The Blacks themselves spoke patois French.

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Napoleon Bonaparte begins to look on Haiti as a new land to conquer. Conquest inevitably meant further slavery.

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Napoleon’s troops under LeClerc arrive at the shores of Haiti.

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Henri Christoph, rather than surrender to LeClerc, sets fire to La Cape. Christoph, one of Toussaint’s aides, sent word that the French were in Haitian waters – that he had held them off as long as possible.

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General L’Ouverture, set for war with Napoleon, prepares Crete-a-Pierrot as a point of resitance. Toussaint took his troops into the mountains, deciding upon guerilla warfare.

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Toussaint defeats Napoleon’s troops at Ennery.

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Yellow fever broke out with great violence, thus having a great physical and moral effect on the French soldiers. The French sought a truce with L’Ouverture.

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During the truce Toussaint is deceived and arrested by LeClerc. LeClerc felt that with Toussaint out of the way, the Blacks would surrender.

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Toussaint is taken to Paris and imprisoned in the dungeon of the Castle Joux – August 17, 1802.

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Napoleon’s attempt to restore slavery in Haiti was unsuccessful. Dessalines, Chief of the Blacks, defeated LeClerc. Black men, women, and children took up arms to preserve their freedom.

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The death of Toussaint L’Ouverture in the Prison of Le Joux, April, 1803. Imprisoned a year, Toussaint died of a broken heart.

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The Declaration of Independence was signed January 1, 1804 – Dessalines, Clevaux, and Henri Christoph. These three men made up a new constitution, writing it themselves. The Haitian flag shows in the sketch.

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Dessalines was crowned Emperor October 4, 1804, thus: Jean Jacques the First of Haiti. Dessalines, standing beside a broken chain, had the powers of dictator, as opposed to Toussaint’s more liberal leadership.