Jean-Jacques Dessalines (20 September 1758 – 17 October 1806) was a leader of the Haitian Revolution and the first ruler of an independent Haiti. Initially a Governor-General of Saint-Domingue, Dessalines crowned himself Emperor Jacques I of Haiti in 1804.

Initially a lieutenant under Toussaint Louverture, Dessalines attacked and overwhelmed the French general Rochambeau at Vertieres. Rochambeau pulled his forces out of Vertieres, realizing the colony was lost to France.

On 1 January 1804, Dessalines became the new leader of Saint-Domingue and declared it a free republic, and proceeded to order the extermination of thousands of white people still living in the new country. The Assassin Eseosa, who initially started the revolution, planned to assassinate Dessalines for his crimes after his training under Ratonhnhaké:ton.


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