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Today in Labour History

29 August 1793
Toussaint l'Ouverture on a Haitian banknote
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Haitian Revolution

On 29 August 1793 the former domestic slave Toussaint l'Ouverture spoke in the language of the French Revolution to the black inhabitants of the Caribbean island Saint Domingue:

Brothers and friends, I am Toussaint l'Ouverture; perhaps my name has made itself known to you. I have undertaken vengeance. I want Liberty and Equality to reign in St Domingue. I am working to make that happen. Unite yourselves to us, brothers, and fight with us for the same cause.

The slaves of Saint Domingue (now Haiti) had risen in revolt in August 1791. Sugar, coffee and indigo plantations were destroyed, nearly 4000 whites were killed. Initially, the rebels rallied with Spanish and British troops against the French, but their leader Toussaint l'Ouverture maintained diplomatic contacts with French army general. Shortly after the offical abolition  of slavery by the French government on 4 February 1794, Toussaint l'Ouverture joined the French side. The Haitian revolution is considered the most successful slave rebellion in world history and an example for many other slave revolts in Latin America.

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