Toussaint L'Ouverture

A slave. A military leader. A hero.


  • Born on May 20, 1743 in Saint Dominique(now Haiti). He was born into the lowest class being a slave; although, his father was a very educated slave.
  • 1777 he was freed, and he then joined the revolution in 1791 and started his army of slaves hungry for rights and freedom.
  • Toussaint helped to rid the land of British, Spanish, and eventually French power which led to the independence of their nation now called Haiti.
  • He made peace with French dictator Napoleon. This acquaintance of his soon turned into an enemy as Napoleon turned on Toussaint by reinstating slavery in French regions, which Haiti was technically still loyal too, and arresting Toussaint and sending him to die in a dungeon. His official death is marked as April 7, 1803.

Born Toussaint Breda, but changed to Toussaint Louverture during the revolution. Louverture means "the opening." Some think that Toussaint's actions led to many more openings for independence and lives for blacks.

Why Independence?

The Haitian people were mostly fighting for their freedom from slavery. Majority of Toussaint's fighters were slaves themselves. When the French Revolution arose, so did the idea of "Rights of man". This contagious feeling of independence and freedom from foreign nations spread to the Haitian people who started and uprising of their own.

*Toussaint also helped the French gain a few victories in their own Revolution. The French were being held back by radical Jacobins who opposed the idea of revolution. They also we trying to rid themselves of British and Spanish control in other regions.

Things Toussaint Did to Help the Independence Movement:

1. He organized the slaves into a strong military and lead them to many victories despite having no previous military training.

2. He helped to emancipate slavery, though he helped his former master escape because of his fair treatment of he and his family during their slavery time.

3. He then helped to reinstate a sort of economy and life for the former slaves in the newly ruled Haiti. This newly declared nation was first recognized by the French, and ruler Napoleon. This recognition would soon be overturned as Napoleon takes back his promises of abolishing slavery and friendship with Toussaint.