François Galbaud du Fort

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François Thomas Galbaud du Fort (also Galbaud) (September 25, 1743 - 1802), the son of a French infantry officer in Saint-Domingue, was a French general sent to defend Saint-Domingue during the Sonthonax era. Galbaud was an absentee owner of property on the island and immediately sided with the plantation owners against the mulattoes and instigated the petits blancs and royalists against the French Commissioners.

Galbaud was the Governor-general of Saint-Domingue from June 19, 1793 to Oct 1793. He left Saint-Domingue for the United States after his defeat.

Galbaud vs. Sonthonax and Polverel

When the Commissioners Sonthonax and Polverel attempted to force him to leave, he grabbed Polverel's son as a hostage. His subsequent attack on Le Cap forced the Commissioners to enlist the help of the black army, to arm them, and to give them their freedom. (Parkinson, p. 68)

The Defeat of Galbaud

Le Cap in Flames during Galbaud's attack.
"[France] dispatched General Galbaud to take the command in Hayti. Disembarking at the Cape (May 6, 1793), he proceeded to assume the executive power. But the French Commission already in the island, triumphant in the West and in the South, had everywhere established mulatto in place of white commanders.

Returning on the 7th of June to the Cape with a detachment of freed men, commanded by Chanlatte, the Commissioners directed Galbaud to reëmbark. Unwillingly he obeyed. His brother, a man of ability, remained in the city, and agitated the minds of the people against the Commissioners. The vessels in the harbor were loaded with prisoners sent thither by the Government. Breaking their chains, they, to the number of one thousand two hundred, effected a landing. Their bands increasing as they proceeded, they directed their course to the Government House, inhabited by the Commissioners. The approaches to it were defended by men of color. The National Guards and mounted volunteers joined the partisans of Galbaud. The troops of the line remained in their quarters, not knowing, in the strife of authorities, which was legitimate. Fighting took place in the streets, the fury of which was stopped only by night. The next day, hostilities were resumed. At length the troops of the line declared for the Commissioners. Nevertheless, their party seemed to lose ground. Then the prisons were thrown open, and the chains of the blacks were broken. Spreading themselves abroad, these captives showed themselves worthy of the liberty they had just received. Pierrot and Macaya, two black chiefs of the insurgent negroes on the hills of the Cape, being invited, came with their fierce associates to take part in the carnage.

Galbaud was defeated. With a few of his followers, he regained his ships. His brother remained in the hands of the Commissioners. He himself, with more than ten thousand refugees of all hues, set sail for the United States. The city, "the Paris of the Antilles," as the colonists enthusiastically termed Cape François, was in flames, and on every side presented the shocking tokens of pillage, slaughter, and conflagration." (Beard p. 61f)

See also


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