The resistance to renewed slavery
The resistance in Guadeloupe, led by the mulatto Louis Delgrès (1766-1802) and the maroon Joseph Ignace (1769 - 1802) fell to Richepanse in 1802. Richepanse, who been sent by Napoléon Bonaparte, arrived in the colony with about 7,000 soldiers and was able to gain control of the island within a short time. French control was re-established on the evening of May 28,1802 and slavery was back in effect eight years after it had been banned. Richepanse's troops had killed 10,000 men and women, roughly ten percent of the total population at the time.
The leaders of the fight against Richepanse, Delgrès and Ignace, committed suicide by blowing up their ammunitions as they had fought under the motto: "Live Free or Die".
Richepanse suppressed the paying of cultivators and denied gens de couleur their citizenship rights. Slavery in the colony was finally abolished in 1848, partially due to efforts by Victor Schoelcher, Toussaint Louverture's biographer.
Saint-Domingue and Richepanse
The news of Richepanse's advance in Guadeloupe instilled great fear in Saint-Domingue, where General Leclerc had been sent to accomplish the same goals of rolling back advancements in the abolition of slavery. Revolutionary leaders such as Jean-Jacques Dessalines followed the events in Guadeloupe and it strengthened the resolve to fight for Haitian independence. At the time of his death of yellow fever, Richepanse was scheduled to travel to Saint-Domingue to aid the French attempt at keeping slavery a viable source of income.
Richepanse and contemporary France
Efforts have been made to address the terrible legacy of Richepanse, whose name is featured on the eastern side of the L’Arc de triomphe de l’Étoile (commonly called Arc de Triomphe)- a Paris monument to Napoléon's military exploits. In Paris a street has been renamed from Rue Richepanse to Rue du Chevalier-de-Saint-George 1 (a mulatto musician and anti-royalist) and in Guadeloupe a fort that had been Fort Richepance, was renamed in honor of Louis Delgrès, his Caribbean enemy. His native town, Metz, followed suit, and changed the name of the Quai Richepance in Quai Paul Wiltzer.
Note 1: A Best Western Hotel in that street is still named after the French General that re-established slavery in Guadeloupe: Best Western Premier Richepanse.
- Charles Victor Emmanuel Leclerc - The French General sent by Napoléon to Saint-Dominque with the same goals as Richepanse.
- 'Show no mercy' - Letter by Leclerc in which he refers to Richepanse.
- Napoléon decree re-establishing slavery in the French colonies - From May of 1802 (French text).
- French Cruelties in St. Domingue - 1802 article from the Courier of New Hampshire;
- Antoine Richepanse. (2006). Wikipédia, l'encyclopédie libre. [Accessed at 14:57, June 23, 2006] .
- Best Western Hotels: Best Western Premier Richepanse
- Henley, Jon. (2001) The battle for France's history. London: The Guardian. [Accessed on June 23, 2006] (online text)
- Liste des officiers figurant sur l'arc de Triomphe. (2006). Wikipédia, l'encyclopédie libre. Page accessed 00:03, June 26, 2006 .