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François-Dominique Toussaint L'Ouverture, also Toussaint Bréda, Toussaint-Louverture (c. 1743 - April 7, 1803) was one of the leaders of the Haïtian Revolution. Along with Jean-Jacques Dessalines, another leader of the Revolution, L'Ouverture is considered as one of the fathers of the Haitian nation. pronunciation (help·info) [edit]
Early life
Toussaint was reputedly descended from the Arrada people of the Dahomey Coast. His father, Gaou-Guinou, had been brought by the slave traders to the French colony of Saint-Domingue, and sold as a slave to the Count de Bréda. Toussaint was the eldest son and his date of birth is given as either May 20 or November 1 (All Saints' Day procuring the name Toussaint). He also took the surname Breda from his owner.
De had a powerful impact on the island. Inspired by the new philosophies of The Enlightenment, "Liberté, égalité, fraternité", the French proclaimed the Rights of Man to include all free men. When this promise was withdrawn under pressure from the plantation owners it sparked widespread slave uprisings.[edit]
Rebellion and negotiations
Toussaint did not participate in the campaign of Vincent Ogé, a wealthy free man of color whose attempt to claim voting rights for this group in October 1790 was brutally crushed. In August 1793, he helped his former owners to flee to the [[United In 1793 Léger Félicité Sonthonax and Étienne Polverel, representatives of the French revolutionary government in Paris, offered freedom to slaves bringing thousands of Black soldiers with him. He received the rank of Général de Brigade.[edit]
Campaign in support of the French Revolution
Under Toussaint's increasingly influential leadership, his French army of Black, Mulatto, and White soldiers defeated the British and Spanish forces. Toussaint's army won seven battles in one week against the British forces in January 1794. He also fought against the uprising of a mulatto leader Pinchinat. In 1797, he fought against the supporters of the returned Sonthonax, and increased his influence in the island, proclaiming his loyalty to the First French Republic. Eventually, he was promoted to Général de Division. The British withdrew from Haïti in 1798.
On May 22, 1799 Toussaint signed a trading treaty with the British and the Americans. In the United States Alexander Hamilton was a strong supporter. However after Thomas Jefferson became President in 1801 he reversed the friendly American policy. In October, he invaded Saint-Domingue's southern peninsula and defeated the Mulatto general André Rigaud, his last major rival for power in the colony, forcing him to flee to France. Toussaint then turned his forces against the Spanish in Colony of Santo Domingo. He defeated them by 1800 and in January 24, 1801 officially took control of Santo Domingo in the name of the French republic. Toussaint drafted a committee to write a constitution for the colony, which went into effect in July 7 1801, also enforcing his own authority in the island.[edit]
Leclerc's campaign and Toussaint's captivity
When Napoleon Bonaparte came to power in France, he began to work with colonists to return France's Caribbean territories to their earlier profitability as plantation colonies. Denying that he was trying to reinstate slavery, Napoleon's brother-in-law Charles Leclerc attempted to regain French control of the island in 1802. He landed on the island in January 20 and moved against Toussaint.
Over the following months, Toussaint's troops fought against the French but some of his officers defected to join Leclerc.[edit]
Popular culture
On the Santana 3 album, the group Santana has a song named in Toussaint's honor, although the lyrics are all in Spanish and they have nothing to do with Toussaint.
David Rudder, one of Trinidad and Tobago's leading calypsonians produced a 1988 album, Haiti in which the title track begins with the lyrics "Toussaint was a mighty man".
After many years of trying to produce a big-screen biopic of Toussaint, Hollywood actor Danny Glover was finally scheduled to begin directing the film in the autumn of 2006 (see external links below).[edit]
Literature and Art
English poet William Wordsworth published his sonnet To Toussaint L'Ouverture in January 1803.
In 1938, American artist Jacob Lawrence created a series of paintings about the life of Toussaint L'Ouverture, which he later adapted into a series of prints.
Madison Smartt Bell, has written a fictional trilogy centered around the life of L'Ouverture, All Soul's Rising (Pantheon, 1995), Master of the Crossroads (2000), and The Stone that the Builder Refused (2004). A biography by Bell of L'Ouverture is forthcoming from Pantheon under the title Freedom's Gate: A Brief Life of Toussaint L'Ouverture
In 2004 an exhibition of paintings entitled Caribbean Passion: Haiti 1804, by artist Kimathi Donkor, was held in London to celebrate the bicentenary of Haiti's revolution.
Toussaint has been selected to appear as a revolutionary in Age of Empires III: The War Chiefs
Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus. Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804: A Brief History with Documents (2006)
DuPuy, Alex. Haiti in the World Economy: Class, Race, and Underdevelopment since 1700;; Westview Press. (1989)
Alfred N. Hunt. Haiti's Influence on Antebellum America: Slumbering Volcano in the Caribbean (1988)
C.L.R. James. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution 2nd ed. (1989)
Arthur L. Stinchcombe. Sugar Island Slavery in the Age of Enlightenment: The Political Economy of the Caribbean World Princeton University Press. (1995)
“Toussaint L'Ouverture is heralded for his shrewd abilities to mobilize and command thousands in an unseen army. He demanded discipline, loyalty, and allegiance to the cause of liberty. 
“John Hope Franklin states in From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans, "Haiti was the first of the New World countries to sweep slavery aside.’ Without the military genius of L'Ouverture, Haiti would never have defeated the French for her freedom. 
“Toussaint L'Ouverture spent most of his life as a model captive working as a carriage driver on the Breda plantation in Haiti. He was married to Suzanne and they had two sons. 
“L'Ouverture was a devout Roman Catholic, self-educated and literate in French. He had extensive knowledge of the usage of medicinal herbs and used this skill in 1791, when the revolution began, as a physician for the rebel troops. He quickly rose through the ranks and became responsible for training the men. 
“He [L'Ouverture] 	turned them into a well- disciplined military force with the ability to use maneuvers conducive for guerilla warfare or regular land-force fighting. For ten years he outmaneuvered the Spanish, the English, the French, and a small rebellious force of mulattoes.” - " The Young Messengerrzz "
Credit: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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