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The Haitian Revolution
Transcript of The Haitian Revolution
What was the Haitian Revolution?
It was a slave revolt in the French colony of Saint Dominique.
It led to the founding of the Republic of Haiti.
It is considered to be the most successful slave rebellion in the Americas.
The colony was dominated by coffee, cocoa, indigo, cotton and sugar plantations.
By the 1740s Saint Dominique and Jamaica were the main suppliers of the world's sugar.
The rebellion began in August 1791 and ended in November 1803.
Haiti became an independent country on the 1st of January 1804.
The French Revolution
1789 the French National Assembly declared all men free and equal.
Initially whites saw it as a way to get independence from France.
Slaves saw that this would let whites do what they like to Africans.
White plantation owners were vastly outnumbered by black slaves.
The whites kept an iron grip on slaves, beating or torturing them for the smallest offense.
Whites and blacks had frequent violent conflicts.
Slaves often ran away.
They sometimes fled to cities to blend in with free urban slaves.
Often slaves ran away to join communities in forests.
This led to armed runaway slaves raiding white areas.
Population in 1789
Whites: approximately 40,000
Free blacks: approximately 28,000
Whites had expected this and were well armed.
Bitter and violent fighting broke out between the groups.
Within weeks 100,000 slaves had joined the revolt.
180 sugar plantations were destroyed by this stage.
Start of the Revolt
21st Augsut 1791 the slaves revolted starting a civil war.
The slaves quickly took control of the north and proceeded to take revenge on whites:
Estimates vary but it is believed that 350,000 Haitians died during the revolution.
It is believed that approximately 50,000-100,000 French, British and Spanish soldiers died during the revolution.
The National Assembly granted rights to all free men of colour to stop the rebellion but still sent 6,000 troops to the island.
In 1793 France declared war on Britain.
The whites asked Britain and Spain for help. Spanish forces invaded the island.
1794 France abolished slavery in all the areas and colonies it controlled.
Many slaves joined Toussaint's forces who were well trained and well disciplined.
Toussaint began to rule Haiti for France, but with a lot of independent power.
He successfuly defeated a British force that was sent to capture the island in 1798.
He also invaded Santo Domingo and freed the slaves there in January 1801.
One of the most successful black commanders of the revolution.
He initially fought for Spain against France, but when Britain invaded the island he joined the French army in 1794.
After Toussaint died black workers rebelled against France again.
By November 1802 most of the French army on the island had died of Yellow Fever.
This led to the French committing massive atrocities in order to try keep control.
Napoleon Bonaparte sent troops to restore proper French rule on the island.
Many of Toussaint's allies defected to the French.
Toussaint was promised freedom if he brought his men into the proper French army.
In May 1802 Toussaint agreed, but was tricked and imprisoned by the French. He died in prison a few months later.
Napoleon was more worried about Europe by this stage and chose to leave the French forces on the island to fend for themselves.
Battle of Vertieres
The last battle of the Haitain Revolution.
It was fought on the 18th of November 1803.
It was fought by Haitain rebels under Jean Jacques Dessalines against the French army led by the Viscount of Rochambeau
Dessalines and the Haitain rebels won the battle
On the 1st of January 1804 Dessalines declared the colony independent and renamed it "Haiti".