THE HAITIAN

REVOLUTION

only the St. Domingue Slave Revolt. which began in 1791. was successful in achieving permanent independence under a new nation. Although hundreds of rebellions occurred in the New World during the centuries of slavery. leading to the elimination of slavery and the establishment of Haiti as the first republic ruled by people of African ancestry. The Haitian Revolution  The Haitian Revolution represents the most thorough case study of revolutionary change anywhere in the history of the modern world.  The Haitian Revolution (1791–1804) was a period of brutal conflict in the French colony of St Domingue. The Haitian Revolution is regarded as a defining moment in the history of Africans in the New World .

Domingue was characterized by discontent among the main social groups as each faced internal as well as external conflicts. the plantation owners wanted to rule themselves and the rest of the government. The mulattoes wanted to be equal to the whites and the slaves wanted freedom. Causes of the Haitian Revolution  St. The whites(grand blancs and petit blancs). .

that various classes and parties changed their alignments many times . the majority of the Estates General. The French Revolution shaped the course of the conflict in Saint-Domingue and was at first widely welcomed in the island. made radical changes in French laws. declaring all men free and equal. So many were the twists and turns in the leadership in France. In France. constituted itself as the National Assembly. published the Declaration of the Rights of Man. and so complex were events in Saint- Domingue. an advisory body to the King. and on 26 August 1789.

it would probably mean even harsher treatment and increased injustice for the African population. as they understood that if St. The African population on the island began to hear of the agitation for independence by the rich European planters. The Africans mostly allied with the royalists and the British. the grands blancs. Domingue’s independence were to be led by white slave masters. The plantation owners would be free to operate slavery as they pleased without minimal accountability to their French peers . who had resented France's limitations on the island's foreign trade.

000/5 Slaves 00. Domingue in 1789 Grand blancs (wealthy planters. artisans.) 25.000 Free coloureds and free blacks 450.000 Petits blancs (overseers. professionals 35.Social Groups in St.civil and military offices Merchants. small shopkeepers etc.000 .

Reportedly a voodoo sorcerer. Macandal drew from African traditions and religions to motivate his followers. This guerrilla warfare. these bands. known as maroons. entrenched themselves in bastions in the colony's mountains and forests. lacked centralized organization and leadership.000 dead. As their numbers grew. began to carry out hit-and-run attacks throughout the colony. whose six-year rebellion (1751-57) left an estimated 6. sometimes consisting of thousands of people. . from which they harried white-owned plantations both to secure provisions and weaponry and to avenge themselves against the inhabitants. however. The French burned him at the stake in Cap Français in 1758. Organization of the Haitian Revolution  Bands of runaway slaves. Popular accounts of his execution that say the stake snapped during his execution have enhanced his legendary stature. The most famous maroon leader was François Macandal.

On August 22. the uprising of their black followers began. A slave rebellion of 1791 finally toppled the colony. . and Jeannot. although this claim has never been substantiated. who later made Toussaint his aide. under the Spanish flag. the revolt represented the culmination of a protracted conspiracy among black leaders. Jean-Franois. Among the rebellion's leaders were Boukman. the bloodthirstiest of them all. a little more than a week after the ceremony. along with Biassou and Toussaint. Launched in August of that year. who subsequently commanded forces. These leaders sealed their compact with a voodoo ceremony conducted by Boukman in the Bois Cayman (Alligator Woods) in early August 1791. According to accounts of the rebellion that have been told through the years. Georges Biassou. a maroon and voodoo houngan (priest). Franois-Dominique Toussaint Louverture helped plot the uprising.

This collection of his writings and speeches demonstrates his profound contribution to the struggle for equality.ORGANIZATION Toussaint L'Ouverture was the leader of the Haitian Revolution in the late eighteenth century. in which slaves rebelled against their masters and established the first free black republic. .

. Toussaint was repelled by this radical's proposals to exterminate all Europeans. Governor Laveaux left Saint-Domingue in 1796. He found Sonthonax's atheism. an extremist French commissioner who had served on the island before. After some maneuvering. He was succeeded by Leger-Felicite`Sonthonax . Although Toussaint was now effectively the political and military leader of the island. the French government continued to appoint representatives with whom he had varying relationships. He allowed Toussaint Louverture to effectively rule and promoted him to General . coarseness. In May 1797 Sonthonax named Toussaint Louverture commander-in-chief of the French republican army in Saint-Domingue. and immorality offensive. Toussaint Louverture forced Sonthonax out in 1797.

In 1795. Hédouville was succeeded by Philippe Roume. he now ruled a semi-independent state in the South. inspired by Toussaint’s military successes. Rigaud had renewed his attacks from the stronghold of free people of color in Port au Prince.Toussaint Louverture. Aware that France had no chance of restoring colonialism as long as the war with Great Britain continued. however. Louverture soon rid himself of another nominal French superior. and wanted to retain portions of the Western Department which he had taken over. . who deferred to the black governor. Hédouville tried to pit Toussaint Louverture against the leader of colour.Andre` Riguad. figured out Hédouville’s purpose and forced him to flee. who arrived in 1798 as representative of the Directoire government of France. Gabriel He`douvill . Controlling a force of officers of colored and black troops.

He invited many émigré planters to return. a majority of whom were native Africans. He no longer permitted the laborers to be whipped. as he knew their management and technical expertise was needed to restore the economy and generate revenues. Toussaint was widely renowned. Racial tensions eased because Toussaint preached reconciliation and believed that for the blacks. He was revered by the blacks and appreciated by most whites and people of color for helping restore the economy of Saint- Domingue. They were legally free and equal. and they shared the profits of the restored plantations. He used military discipline to force former slaves to work as laborers to get the plantations running again. From 1795 onwards. among whom many men had been educated in France and often trained in the military . there were lessons to be learned from whites and people of color. He believed that people were naturally flawed and that discipline was needed to prevent idleness.