Toussaint L'Ouverture

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Discipline:
Social Studies
Subject:
Historical biographies
Grade:
10

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Toussaint L'Ouverture

L'Ouverture

Early Life

Toussaint L’Ouverture was a former slave who rose to become the leader of the only successful slave revolt in modern history, the Haitian Revolution. Born into slavery on May 20, 1743 in the French colony of Saint Dominque, L’Ouverture was the eldest son of Gaou Guinon, an African prince who was captured by slave owners. By the time he was twenty, the well-read and tri-lingual L’Ouverture—he spoke French, Creole, and some Latin—had also gained a reputation as a skilled horseman and for his knowledge of medicinal plants and herbs. More importantly, L’Ouverture had secured his freedom from de Libertad even as he continued to manage his former owner’s household personnel and to act as his coachman.

General/Diplomat

Toussaint L'Ouverture

ex-slave

Revolution in Haiti

*The French colony of Saint Domingue, now known as Haiti, was the first Latin American colony to be freed of European rule.* 500,000 enslaved Africans were at the bottom of the social pyramid, working on plantations.*In August 1791, a call was raised for revolution, and 100,000 slaved rose to the revolt. *In 1801, Toussaint took control of the Eastern part of Hispaniola and freed the slaves.

Inspired by French Revolutionary ideology and angered by generations of abuse at the hands of white planters, the initial slave uprising was quelled within several days, but ongoing fighting between the slaves, free blacks, and planters continued. Although he was free, L’Ouverture joined the slave insurgency and quickly developed a reputation first as a capable soldier and then as military secretary.L’Ouverture’s actions eventually aroused the interest of Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1802 Napoleon dispatched his brother-in-law, Charles Leclerc, to capture L’Ouverture and return the island to slavery under French control. Captured and imprisoned at Fort de Joux in France, L’Ouverture died of pneumonia on April 7, 1803. Independence for Saint Dominque would follow one year later under the leadership of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, one of L’Ouverture’s generals.


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