The last and defining Battle of the Haitian Revolution
Haitians led by Jean-Jacques Dessalines and François Capois attacked a strong French-held fort of Vertières, near Cap François (in the north of Haiti) and won a decisive victory over French colonial army under General Comte de Rochambeau and forced him to capitulate the same night.
The Haitian Ninth Brigade  under François Capois played a crucial role in the victory and caused Napoléon's troops to abandon their stronghold. This battle occurred less than two months before Dessalines declaration of independence (On January 1, 1804) and delivered the final blow to the French attempt to re-institute slavery, as had been the case in the other Caribbean possesions, and to stop the Haitian Revolution.
The first major defeat of Napoléon's army
Napoléon Bonaparte, who had come to power three years prior to the Battle of Vertières (Through a coup d'etat on November 11, 1799), was given his first major defeat when he lost this crucial battle against the Haitian revolutionary forces. The French lost many experienced troops in the last year of fighting (1803) in Saint-Domingue and after the Battle of Vertières, their military and political strength in the Western Hemisphere was significantly weakened.
Even though Napoléon had mobilized about 30.000 troops that, in 1802, sailed in huge fleets from France to re-establish slavery in it's most profitable colony [Saint-Domingue], and had given up control over much of the territory he controlled in the Americas (see: The Haitian Revolution and the Louisiana Purchase), the Haitian troops commanded by Toussaint Louverture and later Jean-Jacques Dessalines won the war, culminating in the Battle of Vertiéres. This defeat, the French troops fled for France soon after loosing the final battle, was a major blow to the French empire, having been cut of from it's biggest source of income: the profits of plantation slave labor in Saint-Domingue.
For the Haitians, who would soon declare independence, the outcome of the battle of Vertiéres signaled the final defeat of the cruel treatment they had to suffer from the hands of the French colonizers. Rochambeau's defeat is still seen as a milestone in the fight against slavery and paved the way for the abolition of slavery in other countries, although Haiti was the first black republic in the hemisphere and the first nation to rid themselves from the terrors inflicted by the European colonialists.
The Battle of Vertières is a monument to Haiti's achievements as well as that of it's outstanding military leader at the time: Jean-Jacques Dessalines. Toussaint Louverture, who had died in April of 1803 in French captivity at Fort de Joux, had laid the groundwork for the defeat of France. It was Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who carried on as the leader of the Haitian troops and united the revolutionary forces, that made the win over the cruel General Rochambeau a possibility.
Battle of Vertières' Day
November 18 has been celebrated since then as the Bataille de Vertières day (Battle of Vertières' Day) this day also used to be Armed Forces Day (French: Jour Des Forces Armées) in Haiti. President Jean-Bertrand Aristide abolished the Haitian army in the early 1990's.
- Wells Brown, William (1863). The Black Man, His Antecedents, His Genius, and His Achievements. Chapel Hill, NC: Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH. Online Publication
- François Capois 'La Mort' - Important military leader of the Battle of Vertières.
- Louis Michel Pierrot - led a black battalion at Vertieres.
+ French Capitulation in Saint-Domingue - Document signed on the day following the Battle of Vertieres.
Battles of the Haitian Revolution
- Ravine-à-Couleuvres - Another important battle of the Haitian Revolution in 1802.
- Crète-à-Pierrot - This decisive battle followed about one month after the battle of Ravine-à-Couleuvres in 1802.
- The Maroons salute the Battle of Vertières ... on this day, 202 years ago! (article written by Makendal/MPS Jr. on Nov. 18, 2005) available at Hayti.net.
- Embassy of the Republic of Haiti in Washington D.C.: Speech by Jean-Bertrand Aristide, President of the Republic of Haiti, given on occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Vertières, Nov. 18, 2003. (Kreyòl text)
- Section de Toulon de la Ligue des droits de l'Homme - TLH: La bataille de Vertières (18 novembre 1803) - vous connaissez? - Article on the Haitian Revolution and the Battle of Vertières; touching on the issue of prevalent amnesia in France in regard to these events (French text).