Antoine Richepanse

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Portrait of General Antoine Richepanse.
Antoine Richepanse (also: Antoine Richepance) (March 25, 1770 Metz, France - September 3, 1802 Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe) Richepanse re-established slavery in the French colony of Guadeloupe, located in the Caribbean. Richepanse set sail from the French port of Brest on April 1, 1802 and disembarked in Guadeloupe on May 6 of that year.

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.

See also


  • Antoine Richepanse. (2006). Wikipédia, l'encyclopédie libre. [Accessed at 14:57, June 23, 2006] [1].
  • 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 [2].

External links

  • Le combat de Delgrès - The fight against the re-instatement of slavery in Guadeloupe. (French text)
  • Le Fort Delgrès - Site about the fort in Basse-Terre, named in honor of Louis Delgrès (French text)