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While the passions of men and women drove them to seek revenge against their owners when they learned that the French Revolution of 1789 on the continent had freed them, the real hero of Saint-Domingue, as it was formerly named, was Francois Dominique Toussaint L'Ouverture. Fifty years old, L'Ouverture understood that the revolution of France and of Saint-Domingue could not hold unless the country were militarily and politically organized to resist outside pressures. When he learned that the English and Spanish saw the Revolution as an opportunity to lay claim to the island, he went to the governor to strike a bargain. He promised the governor the support of the blacks, who outnumbered the whites on the island by about 5-1. In return for this support, the governor must assure them of freedom. Since the governor had not choice, he agreed.
A brillant and charismatic leader, Toussaint aided in the defeat of the English. Later, he himself became the leader of the island. Not having participated in the rebellion of the blacks earlier, Toussaint was a temperate man, who displayed no bias in his appointments of people for various positions in the government. He opened schools, engaged in commerce with other countries, treating every one fairly. In 1800, Saint-Dominique, as it was called, was a rich and prosperous independent country. Toussaint L'Ouverture was the real hero of Saint-Domingue.
Unfortunately, the despotic Napoleon Bonaparte did not recognize the independence of L'Ouverture; he reestablished slavery after a formidable campaign on the island and had Toussaint L'Ouverture arrested and deported to France. In 1803, the former general died after ten months' captivity.
His death encouraged the resistance of the blacks and on January, 1804, Saint-Dominigue became an independent country, taking the name Haiti: Toussaint L'Ouverture etait le grand champion de la liberte. (Valette, Valette, French for Mastery 2) It was tragic, however, that Haiti lost its greatest leader, their "champion of liberty."
I assume you are talking about the revolution that was (eventually) led by Touissant L'Ouverture in the 1790s.
I am pretty ambivalent about this revolution. At first glance, I would think I should really think it was a great thing. It was the only revolution anywhere in which slaves rose up and made themselves a country that they controlled.
But, on the other hand, this revolution was sort of like the French Revolution in that, to me, it went too far. The rebels burned all the plantations and killed all the whites they could find. It's hard to argue that the slaveowners didn't deserve it, but it's also hard to really like a rebellion that is that bloody.
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