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In the early 1700s, Haiti was known as Saint Dominigue which was a French colony on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. It was one of France’s wealthiest overseas colony mainly because of its production of sugar, coffee, indigo, and cotton generated by an enslaved labor force. By the 1740s Saint-Domingue, together with Jamaica, had become the main supplier of the world’s sugar. In 1787, the French imported about 20,000 slaves from Africa into Saint-Domingue. It was common for slaves to be treated very poorly. Soon the white planters were outnumbered by the number of slaves, and they lived in fear of a slave rebellion. (abt. 500,000 blacks and 40,000 whites).
In 1789, the French revolution ended. In 1790, Vincent Orge, fought for the rights of coloured people, he took an army of mulattos (people born from one white parent and one black parent) but failed his attempt to free the coloured people. In 1791, the Haitian Revolution began. The first act of rebelling against the planters was on August 21, 1791 led by Toussaint Louverture who was a former slave.
The Haitian Revolution was one of the largest and most successful slave rebellion in the Western Hemisphere. This rebellion was started by the slaves in 1791. Thousands of slaves rose in revolt and attended a secret voodoo ceremony. It was a stormy night which was considered an auspicious omen. Later that night, the slaves began burning plantations and killing their masters which then resulted in civil war. It wasn’t just one revolution. This rebellion consisted of several revolutions going on at the same time.
Napoleon Bonaparte, the leader of France, sent 43,000 troops to Saint Dominigue to capture Toussaint Louverture. His goal was to re-establish slavery and the French rule. Louverture was sent back to France where he died in prison in 1803. His right hand Jean-Jacques Dessalines led the revolutionaries at the Battle of Vertieres on November 18, 1803 where the French were defeated. On January 1, 1804, Saint Donminigue was declared an independent nation and renamed Haiti.