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Jean-Jacques Dessalines

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Jacques I
Emperor of Haiti
Reign2 September 1804 – 17 October 1806
Coronation8 October 1804
Governor-General of Haiti
In office1 January 1804 - 2 September 1804
Born(1758-09-20)20 September 1758
Cormier, Grande-Rivière-du-Nord, Saint-Domingue
Died17 October 1806(1806-10-17) (aged 48)
Pont Larnage (now Pont Rouge), near Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Burial17 October 1806 by Dédée Bazile
SpouseMarie-Claire Heureuse Félicité
Full name
Jean-Jacques Dessalines
Coat of arms

Jean-Jacques Dessalines (Haitian Creole: Jan-Jak Desalin; French pronunciation: ​[ʒɑ̃ ʒak dɛsalin]; 20 September 1758 – 17 October 1806), was one of the leaders of the Haitian Revolution and the first ruler of Independent Haiti under the Constitution of 1805.[1] Jacques ended slavery in Haiti, he was named Emperor of Haiti by the leaders of the Revolution. He was assassinated in 1806. He is regarded as one of the founding fathers of Haiti.[2][3] During the Haitian revolution, he won a number of victories against Napoleon, who had re-introduced slavery in Saint Domingue. These victories made Dessalines one of the most successful military commander in the struggle against Napoleonic France.[4]

Dessalines was directly responsible for the country. Under his rule, Haiti became the first country in the Americas to permanently abolish slavery. Dessalines served as an officer in the French army when the colony was fighting against Spanish and British incursions. Later he rose to become a commander in the revolt against France. As Toussaint Louverture's principal lieutenant, he led many successful engagements, including the Battle of Crête-à-Pierrot.

In 1802 Louverture was betrayed and captured. Louverture was sent to prison in France where he died. Dessalines then became the leader of the revolution and Général-Chef de l'Armée Indigène on 18 May 1803. His forces defeated the French army at the Battle of Vertières on 18 November 1803. Saint-Domingue was declared independent on 29 November. It was called independent Republic of Haiti on 1 January 1804. A council of generals chose Dessalines to be its governor-general.

Dessalines ordered the 1804 Haitian Genocide of the remaining French population in Haiti. Between 3,000 and 5,000 people were killed, including women and children, as well as thousands of refugees.[5] Some modern historians classify the massacre as a genocide due to its systemic nature.[6][7] Dessalines excluded surviving Polish Legionnaires, who had defected from the French legion to become allied with the enslaved Africans, as well as the Germans who did not take part in the slave trade.[8] He granted them full citizenship under the constitution and classified them as black, along with all other Haitian citizens.[8] Tensions remained with the minority of mixed-race or free people of color, who had gained some education and property during the colonial period.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. Philippe R. Girard (2011). The Slaves Who Defeated Napoleon: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian War of Independence 1801–1804. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Press. ISBN 978-0-8173-1732-4
  2. "Independent Haiti". Archived from the original on 31 May 2023. Retrieved 27 November 2006.
  3. "Gazette Politique et Commecial D'Haïti" (PDF). P. Roux, Imprimeur de L’Empreur. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  4. Christer Petley (2018), White Fury: A Jamaican Slaveholder and the Age of Revolution, Oxford University Press, p. 182.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Girard, Philippe R. (2011). The Slaves Who Defeated Napoleon: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian War of Independence 1801–1804. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Press. ISBN 978-0-8173-1732-4 p.319–322
  6. Girard, Philippe R. (2005). "Caribbean genocide: racial war in Haiti, 1802–4". Patterns of Prejudice. 39 (2): 138–161. doi:10.1080/00313220500106196. ISSN 0031-322X. S2CID 145204936. The Haitian genocide and its historical counterparts [...] The 1804 Haitian genocide
  7. Moses, Dirk A.; Stone, Dan (2013). Colonialism and Genocide. Routledge. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-317-99753-5. Archived from the original on 21 October 2023. Retrieved 22 October 2023.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Dubois, Laurent (2004). Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution. Harvard University Press. pp. 300.

Other websites[change | change source]