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Haitian Revolution

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Haitian Revolution


French Revolutionary Wars, Napoleonic Wars


21 August 1791


1 January 1804




Haitian victory

  • French colonial government expelled
  • Massacre of whites

Flag of First Empire of Haiti Haiti

Kingdom of France Flag French Flag France


The Haitian Revolution (1791 – 1804) was the final and most decisive in a long line of slave revolts in the French colony of Saint-Domingue; culminating in the elimination of slavery in the colony, and the founding of the Republic of Haiti. The revolutionaries were led by several members of the Assassin Order, including Toussaint Louverture and Eseosa

In early 1801, the Templar Jean-Louis Villatte tried to take advantage of the power vacuum that existed in Haiti and declared himself governor. By early August however, Jean had been deposed and replaced by Louverture, who declared himself absolute ruler of the island.

Although Louverture freed all of the slaves on the island, he also attracted the attention of the French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, who sent his general Charles Leclerc to the island to secure the surrender of the revolutionary leaders. Louverture capitulated and was taken to France as a prisoner while Leclerc restored the colonial hierarchy.

However, Leclerc failed to disarm Louverture's troops and they rose up once again. After Eseosa poisoned Leclerc, Louverture's lieutenant Jean-Jacques Dessalines finally ousted the French from the island, bringing the Revolution to a successful conclusion. In the aftermath, Dessalines became the new leader of Saint-Domingue and declared the island a free republic, although he immediately began a brutal extermination campaign against the whites and mulattoes that still lived on the island.

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