Slave Revolt Turned Independence Movement
Notable Leader: Toussaint Louverture
Nicknamed the Black Napoleon, he led the revolution. His military prowess transformed a colony of slaves to the unified nation of Haiti.
Notable Leader: Jean-Jaques Dessalines
Jean-Jaques was the first ruler of independent Haiti. He was an officer in the French army but transferred to the Haitain side, becoming a commander in the revolution. After the Hatians won their independence, he was chosen to be leader.
"I have given the French cannibals blood for blood; I have avenged America.” ~Jean-Jaques Dessalines
Social Classes and Lack of Social Change
Depite the revolution and subsequent freedom of Hatians, Haiti's economy suffered due to payments they had to make to the French government. In addition there was limited social change in terms of poverty and class equality. Classes in independent Haiti include petits blancs gthe lower class whites), grands blancs (the upper-class whites) gens de couleur libre (the colored but free).
The French finally relinquished control over the island of Haiti, only after they forced the island nation to pay 150 million dollars to repay war casualties and lost slaves. Haiti was impoverished by this debt, making it no longer they most prosperous island nation in the Caribbean. Haiti finally replayed the debt nearly a century later.