Francois Dominique Toussaint L'Ouverture

Francois Dominique Toussaint L'Ouverture

Death 7 Apr 1803 (aged 59)
La Cluse-et-Mijoux, Departement du Doubs, Franche-Comté, France
Memorial Site* Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France

* A structure erected in honor of someone whose remains lie elsewhere.

Memorial ID 21625 · View Source
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Haitian Leader. Born on Plantation Bréda near Cap-Français (present day Cap-Haitien), Haiti, a slave, a tolerant master recognized his intelligence, and allowed him to educate himself through reading. His duties included livestock handling, coachman, and finally plantation steward before being manumitted in 1776. A slave revolt began in August 1791, and after he helped his former master escape, he joined the revolting forces and found their tactics wanting. He recruited an army of his own, and trained his followers in guerrilla warfare. In 1793, when France and Spain were at war, he and his men crossed into Santo Domingo (present day Dominican Republic) and joined the Spanish forces against the French. He was knighted and made a general in the Spanish colonial army. In May 1794, however, he went over to the French, stating that the French had recently freed all slaves, while Spain had not, he therefore claimed to have become a republican. He was made lieutenant governor; and after the cessation of hostilities, he allowed many of the European planters to return, while the former slaves were also returned to work on the plantations, working under military discipline, though free men who were to share in the profits. He became governor-general in 1796, and in 1801, counter to first consul of France Bonaparte's wishes, overran Spanish Santo Domingo and freed the slaves. In command of the entire island, he dictated a constitution which made him governor-general for life with near absolute power. Catholicism was decreed the state religion, and he sanctioned many revolutionary principles. He realized, however, Napoleon would not allow the situation to stand. When the expected invasion at last came in January 1802, the Haitians faced greater numbers than expected, additionally, most of the island's Europeans and mulattoes defected. By May, Toussaint formally agreed to capitulate in exchange for a promise not to restore slavery, and retired to a plantation. In June, however, he was invited to a parley, and under orders from Napoleon, he was was seized, and sent to Fort-de-Joux, France where he was confined under harsh conditions, eventually leading to his death some ten months later at age 59.

Bio by: Iola


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 17 Apr 2001
  • Find a Grave Memorial 21625
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Francois Dominique Toussaint L'Ouverture (20 May 1743–7 Apr 1803), Find a Grave Memorial no. 21625, citing The Pantheon, Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .