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  • It began in 1791 in the French colony of Saint Domingue (later Haiti). Though born into slavery in Saint Domingue, Toussaint learned of Africa from his father, who had been born a free man there.
  • In 1789 the French Revolution rocked France. The sugar plantations of Saint Domingue, though far away, would never be the same. Spurred on by such Enlightenment thinkers as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the early moderate revolutionaries considered seriously the question of slavery.
  • Toussaint joined the rebellion early on as a general but did not become the leader of the slave rebellion
  • Toussaint L'Ouverture (the one who finds an opening) and brilliantly led his rag-tag slave army. He successfully fought the French (who helped by succumbing to yellow fever in large numbers) as well as invading Spanish and British.
  • In 1793, the revolution in France was in the hands of the Jacobins, the most radical of the revolutionary groups.
  • By 1803 Napoleon was ready to get Haiti off his back: he and Toussaint agreed to terms of peace. Napoleon agreed to recognize Haitian independence and Toussaint agreed to retire from public life.
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