There are many great names that appear throughout the history of the world and especially when the great revolutions that worn for many different countries their independence are relived. The most beautiful and noble thing is these individual’s selfless acts towards their country that labels them heroes and heroines among their countrymen. Among such great names is one of the best-known Haitian Revolution’s main protagonists, Toussaint Louverture. He was a Haitian general whose prominent role in the Haitian success over colonialism and slavery earned him the admiration of friends and detractors alike His work in the Haitian Revolution is said is to have been inspired by philosophers like Epictetus and Plutarch.
Not much is known about his early life before he made history during the Haiti Revolution. There are contradictory accounts and evidence regarding his early life with the majority view suggesting that Toussaint Louverture was born on a plantation of Breda at Haut de Cap in Saint-Domingue. The plantation is believed to have been owned by the Comte de Noe and later managed by Bayon de Libertate. The alternative view is that he was brought to the plantation by Bayon de Libertate, who is said to have taken up his duties in 1772. Consequently, it would follow that the exact date of birth for Toussaint Louverture is not known though his name is postulated to bear meaning that he was born on All Saint’s Day that is marked on 1st November. Historical publications place his date of birth between the year 1739 and 1746, suggesting that around 1791, he was around 50 years of age when the Haiti Revolution begun. He was the eldest of several children and despite his coming of age to become known for his stamina and riding prowess, in his childhood, ironically, he had earned the nickname Fatras-Baton, translated to mean, clumsy stick, suggesting that he was small and weak (Relly, 2001). He is said to have been well educated by his godfather Pierre Baptiste Simon, who by then had been a free person of color who also lived and worked on the Breda plantation.
As pertaining to his contribution to the history of Haiti, he is depicted as having fought for the Spanish against the French in the beginning of his early years as a man but later shifted sides to fight for the French once the new French government abolished slavery. He fought alongside the French notably against Spain and Great Britain. His military career grew in 1791 when he assumed leadership position of the 1791 slave rebellion in Saint-Domingue. He developed his claim over the island by way of slowly establishing control over the whole island through the use of political and military tactics to gain dominance over his rivals.
He worked ever so consistent to improve the economy and security of Saint-Domingue. With regards to the economy, he is credited for restoring the plantation system using paid Labour. He negotiated trade treaties with the United Kingdom and the United States and is said to have maintained a large and well-disciplined army. He, however, did not sever ties with France in 1800 after defeating leaders among the free people of color and is said to have promulgated an autonomous constitution for the colony in 1801 in which he named himself as Governor-General for Life, serving as President of Haiti from 7th July, 1801 to 6th May, 1802, against the wishes of Napoleon Bonaparte, the then ruler of France.
His last days were spent in prison in France after he was arrested under false pretenses in 1802 while on a visit to a parley in which he had been invited by French Divisional General Jean-Baptiste Brunet. He died in jail of pneumonia in 1803 and as such he did not directly lead the Haiti Revolution to its attainment of independence for the nation. His achievements are said to have set the grounds for the black army’s absolute victory in the final and most violent stage of the armed conflict, in which the French suffered massive losses in multiple of these historic battles that saw to their permanent withdrawal from Saint-Domingue that very year. Following his arrest, the Haitian Revolution was continued under Louverture’s lieutenant, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who declared independence on 1st January, 1804, therefore establishing the sovereign state of Haiti. Toussaint Louverture is remembered for his military and political shrewdness which saved the gains of the first black revolution in November 1791, helping to transform slave insurgency into an organized revolutionary movement.