So the year is 1789 and France just declared all people in it's country free. The former slaves and inhabitants of Saint Dominque, a French slave colony on the island of Hispaniola, also think they are free from the crown as well. But there's a catch...
France still saw their colonies as colonies and an easy way to tax and make money for their home empire.
Is that slave colony free?
And the grand blancs, white slave owners, and some freed petit blancs, former slaves, didn't feel that the slaves should be free.
Ha! Jacques, you're a funny guy...
Toussaint L'Ouverture, a militia leader and former slave himself, thought this was preposterous. Voicing against the French rule, he set out to gather fighters to fight in the only successful slave revolt in history.
From 1794 to 1802, Toussaint led guerillas and fighters against French, Spanish, and British colonists and troops. In 1801, the island wrote a constitution, declaring all inhabitants of Saint Dominque, or Haiti, as it was now being called, free. His force almost gained full independence, but Napoleon Bonaparte saw the uprising as a threat to assets in the area. He sent the French back to burn farms, destroy cities, and ultimately crush the rebellion.
Out of energy and luck, Touissaint finally was caught. He was sent to France to be imprisoned and died there on April 27th, 1803.
Attacks kept on happening however, and Jean-Jacques Dessalines took over Touissants role. The French, tired, dying and without reinforcements, were at the end of their rope. The guerillas finally stopped them and by the end of 1803, none where left on the island. On New Year's Day, 1804, Haiti became an independent state, with Dessalines as governor-general for life.
The end of this revolution was almost as unstable as the fighting itself, with Dessalines wanting revenge on the French and death to traitors on the island. However, Haiti became the first New World nation, after the United States, who's own revolution actually inspired Haitians to fight, and beat three major world powers in it's quest for independence. It's pretty incredible what this colony did to prove the world that slaves were people; and that they could put up one heck of a fight for their freedom.