Born on May 20, 1743, François Dominique Toussaint Louverture was the son of Gaou Guinou, an African King of Dahomey (presently Benin) whose tribes (Aradas) were deported to the Island of Saint-Domingue (today, Haiti and the Dominican Republic) to work on the coffee and sugar plantations. Toussaint grew up on the Breda plantation located on the outskirts of Cap-Haitien in the North region of Haiti. He worked as a herdsman, a coachman and then a steward on the estate of his master Bayon Libertat. In 1776, he became a free man as well as a caretaker, and an overseer. Toussaint acquired a small wealth in cultivating coffee, of which Haiti has been the first provider in the world.
According to researcher Reginal Souffrant, "Toussaint Louverture symbolizes the pride of people of color in general.
He was a multi-dimensional human being, a great visionary, a superb administrator, a great military man, an astute, and a very intelligent diplomat. He was also a great internationalist because he had a plan to abolish slavery worldwide." Excerpt from Haiti's Hidden Treasures I.
Toussaint would rise from the depth of slavery to become the inspired leader of the fight for black people's freedom and one of the best and most celebrated black revolutionaries of the Americas.
Toussaint also became a threat to Napoleon Bonaparte's goal to re-establish slavery in the French colony and was ordered to be arrested. His defiant last words at the time of his deportation to France still reverbs in the history of the world: “In capturing me, you have only cut the trunk of the tree of black people's liberty. It will spring up again by the roots, for they are deep and numerous.” On August 1802, Toussaint was jailed without judgement in the Fort-de-Joux prison located in the cold mountain of France.
Toussaint's health rapidly declined due to the freezing temperature of the Mount Jura. Separated from his family and friends, he died on April 7, 1803 of ill treatment, cold and humiliation.
Last update 12/06-2012
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