“The Black Napoleon” Toussaint L’Overture was a former slave who rose to become the leader of the only successful slave revolt in modern history that created an independent State, known as Haitian Revolution.
Born into slavery on May 20, 1743 in the French Colony of Saint Dominique, L’Ouverture was the eldest son of Gaou Guinon, an African prince who was captured by slavers.
Toussaint L’Overture and the Haitian Revolution inspired millions of free and enslaved people of African descent to seek freedom and equality through out the Atlantic world.
The former slaves were able to achieve freedom and equality by political and military force, when they defeated the advances of French, British and Spanish troops. In 1804, they created the second independent Republic in the western hemisphere.
Enslaved Africans in Saint-Dominique faced a harsh and brutal plantation regime. Some Africans escaped the plantations and formed maroon communities, where leaders such as Mackandal, organized resistance.
In France, then under Napoleon Bonaparte, sent a large force to apprehend Toussaint and restore plantation slavery. After many weeks of fighting General Charles Leclerc captured L’Ouverture and deported him to the French Alps.
However, the French victory was short-lived because by 1803, rebel forces were victorious and in 1804 the new independent Republic of Haiti emerged.