Georges Biassou

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Georges Biassou was a leader of the 1791 slave revolt and general of the rebel army. Biassou attended the vodou ceremony at Bois Caïman. It was he who launched Toussaint's military career by taking Toussaint on as his aide-de-camp. (Beard, p. 54)

He was an ambitious man, but unfortunately hot-tempered, suspicious and vindictive. He loved the accoutrements of the good life, particularly women, fine clothes and drink. (Beard, p. 53) Had he paid more attention to the business of being a soldier, his part in the revolution may have taken a different path. He blamed Toussaint for his diminishing military performance and impact, (Parkinson, p. 75), when in fact it was due to his growing self-importance and self-indulgence.

Along with the other leaders in the revolution who had no concept of how to wield power for good, he utterly lacked Toussaint's humanity. He slaughtered whites indiscriminately and without hesitation, and sold his fellow revolutionaries into Spanish slavery. (Beard, p. 59)

After Louis XVI of France was beheaded during the French Revolution (21 January 1793), St. Domingue's slaves despaired of getting any support from France for their cause. 'Naturally inclined to a monarchy, they renounced the revolutionary government [of France], and passed over into the service of Charles IV, king of Spain.' (Beard, p. 6) In one stroke, all of the black military leaders, including Biassou, cast their allegiance with the Spanish king.

That proved to be the beginning of the end of that phase of the revolution. The 1795 Treaty of Basel gave Santo Domingo to France and stripped the power from the Spanish armies on Hispaniola. Having tied their fortunes to the Spanish king, Biassou and Jean-François abandoned their armies. Key to the future outcome of the Haitian revolution, many of those disbanded troops signed on with Toussaint, 'the remaining black commander of stature.' (Library of Congress)

Final Years

"After 1795, Biassou went to St. Augustine in Florida where he bought a large plantation, farmed, ironically, by slaves, but he drank both his land and his money away and died in a brawl when drunk. Toussaint with his usual kindness to women in distress granted his widow a pension." (Parkinson, p. 92)


  • Parkinson, Wenda (1978). This Gilded African. London: Quartet Books. ISBN 0-7043-2187-4
  • Beard, J. R. (John Relly) (1863). Toussaint L'Ouverture: A Biography and Autobiography. Chapel Hill, NC: Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH. Online Publication