Toussaint Louverture is betrayed by the French
In 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte sent his brother-in-law General Leclerc with an expedition of 20,000 soldiers and secret orders to retake control of the colony and to reinstitute slavery. Toussaint's rebel forces put up fierce resistance, ultimately causing Napoleon to commit 40,000 additional troops. Eventually, though, critical hesitations along with defections and betrayals within his officer corps led to Toussaint's surrender. Though allowed to retire from the field and return to civilian life, Toussaint was eventually betrayed, kidnapped, and taken to a prison in the French Alps. Upon leaving Saint-Domingue, Toussaint remarked to Daniel Savary, a French captain, : "In overthrowing me, you have cut down in Saint-Domingue only the trunk of the tree of liberty. It will spring up again by the roots, for they are numerous ". He never saw his country again.
Toussaint Louverture would die in Fort de Joux on April 7, 1803, unaware that his army would rally behind the leadership of his former general, Jean Jacques Dessalines, to win the colony's independence for good. After a many very hard fought battles, the last of which was the Battle of Vertières, the newly liberated Haiti declared independence on January 1, 1804.
In 2003 the international airport in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince was renamed Toussaint Louverture Airport.
There are no definitive, surviving portraits of Toussaint, so no one knows for sure. Most who described him say he was not a handsome man, but had a powerful presence. Marcus Rainsford, for one, observed: ""He is a perfect black ... of a venerable appearance, but possessed of uncommon discernment. ... He wears as a uniform, a kind of blue spencer, with a large red cape falling over his shoulders, and red cuffs with eight rows of lace on his arms, and a pair of large gold epaulettes thrown back on his shoulders; a scarlet waiscoat, pantaloons and half-boots; a round hat with a red feather and national cockade; and an extreme large sward is suspended from his side."
What others have said about Toussaint Louverture
- Links to Toussaint Louverture related pages at The Louverture Project. (Includes many documents as well as articles and book excerpts and images.)
- Dubois, Laurent. (2004). Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-01304-2.
- Marcus Rainsford, (1805), An Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti: Comprehending a View of the Principal Transactions in the Revolution of Saint-Domingo; with its Ancient and Modern State, London.
- Geggus, David Patrick (2002). Haitian Revolutionary Studies (Blacks in the Diaspora). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-34104-3.
- James, C.L.R. (1989). The Black Jacobins. Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. (2nd Ed., Revised) New York: Vintage Press. ISBN 0-679-72467-2.
- Korngold, Ralph (1944). Citizen Toussaint. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. LCCN 44007566.
- Parkinson, Wenda (1978). This Gilded African. London: Quartet Books. ISBN 0-7043-2187-4
- Schoelcher, Victor (1889). Vie de Toussaint Louverture. Paris: Paul Ollendorf. (Available online: Google books) 1882 reprint: Karthala. Paris ISBN 2-86537-043-7
- Coopération interuniversitaire Haïti-Grenoble-Chambéry: Toussaint Louverture 1743 - 1803 (French online biographical text)
- Toussaint L'Ouverture. (2005, November 30). Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:10, December 5, 2005 .
- Du Bois, W.E.B. (1999). The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America,1638-1870. (paper) Mineola, NY.: Dover Publications. ISBN 0486409104.
- Wells Brown, William (1863). The Black Man, His Antecedents, His Genius, and His Achievements. Chapel Hill, NC: Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH. Online Publication