October 29, 2020 - Richard Moss
George Rose, Waterloo veteran From our extensive Waterloo collection is the story of George Rose, a Black soldier at Waterloo. Rose was born into slavery in Spanish Town, Jamaica in around 1791. By 1809 he had escaped to Britain and his discharge papers, held in the National Archives, show that at the age of 18 […]
In the late 1700s, the western part (St. Domingue) of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola was under French colonial rule. It had long been a major centre of sugar production on plantations using enslaved African labour. In 1791, Toussaint Louverture led the first – and only – successful uprising of slaves, in St Domingue. After a series of bloody conflicts and traumas with European colonial powers, St Domingue was renamed Haïti and became the first independent Black republic in 1804. These events became known as the Haitian revolution and played an important role in the decline of the Transatlantic slave trade. This lithograph depicts the Battle of Vertières in 1803, the final engagement between Haiti’s revolutionaries and Napoleon’s French forces.
The first – and only – successful uprising of enslaved Africans, establishing Haiti as the first independent ‘black’ republic.
The wars precipitated by the struggles for independence and attempts at empire building that characterise the Age of Revolution, and their impact on the changing world map.
Jean-Jacques Dessalines (1758 – 1806) was born into slavery in St Domingue (now Haiti) on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Following a mass uprising of enslaved people of African origin – the only successful slave revolt in history – and a series of bloody battles and reprisals, Dessalines eventually became the first ruler of Haiti, the world’s first modern independent ‘black’ republic. The events in St Domingue became known as the Haitian Revolution.
Toussaint Louverture (1743 – 1803) was born into slavery in St Domingue (now Haïti) on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. In 1791 he led the first – and only – successful uprising of enslaved Africans. Although he died before the revolution spawned a nation, in 1804 Haiti became the first independent ‘black’ republic and contributed to the decline of the transatlantic slave trade. The events in St Domingue became known as the Haitian Revolution. This and other depictions of Louverture (in print and portraiture) reflected the high levels of fascination and respect expressed around the world for a radical figure who had refused to yield and who surmounted all foes in the revolutionary contests.