1790: Vincent Oge’s Rebellion
May 15 1791: National Assembly decree giving the mulattos full legal and
Summer 1791: Bois Caiman and First Slave Uprising
September 1791: May 15 Decree rescinded when news of
the atrocities reaches Paris. Civil War breaks out between mulattos
and whites, centered in Port au Prince.
November 29, 1791: The first Civil Commission (Roume, Mirbeck) arrives from
liberal France to re-establish peace and assert the authority of the National
Fall, 1792: Rebel Slaves, running out
of food in mountain camps, sue for peace with limited objectives. Toussaint
functions as go-between, but peace offers are rejected by the grands blancs.
March 1792: Members of the First
Commission flee the island.
April 4, 1792: National Assembly emancipates mulattos (again). War is
declared against Austria and Spain.
July 1792: Rebel leaders pen letter to Colonial Assembly declaring their
intention to achieve liberty or die.
August 1792 The National Assembly falls in Paris and is replaced by the
National Convention- elected by universal manhood suffrage.
September 18, 1792: Three new Jacobin Commissioners arrive in Le Cap to
enforce the April 4 decree.
December 1792: Commissioner Sonthonax fails in his attempts to integrate the
Saint Dominigue armed forces and civilian forces. French National officers
remain loyal to the King. The Colonial officers are primarily mulatto.
January 21, 1793: Louis XVI is guillotined in Paris.
February 1, 1793: France declares war against England, Netherlands and
Spain. France is at war now with all of Europe.
Winter 1793: Toussaint, Biassou and Jean-Francais formally join the Spanish forces.
June 2, 1793: A mob of sans-cullotes demand
the expulsion of the Girondist members of the
National Convention. The Montagnards seize power,
and the Committee on Public Safety asserts dictatorial powers.
June 20-22, 1793: L’affaire Galbaud
and the Burning of Le Cap.
July 13, 1793: Charlotte Corday assassinates Marat in Paris.
August 23, 1793: The levee en masse conscripts ALL French
males into the army.
August 29, 1793 Sonthonax proclaims the emancipation of all the slaves of the
north. This same day Toussaint issues a proclamation of his own from Camp Turel, assuming for the first time the name L’Ouverture.
September 19, 1793: The British invasion begins. Immediately, Port au
Prince is threatened by English warships, troops land and take
Saint Marc, and Mole Saint Nicholas on the Western Coast. Mulatto General
Rigaud defends the city. Colonel Laveaux and the majority of French troops
are trapped at Port de Paix between British troops
to the West and Spanish troops to the East. Villate, a mulatto leader establishes
control in Le Cap. Meanwhile, Toussaint, under Spanish command, begins to
assert control at key towns in the interior.
November, 1793: The National Convention outlaws the worship of
God. The Cathedral of Notre Dame is renamed the Temple to Reason.
December 6–7, 1793: Mass executions of counter revolutionaries take place in
Lyon and Nantes.
February 3, 1794: A delegation sent
by Sonthonax, led by the black Bellay, is seated in the French Convention in
Paris. The next day, the French Convention abolishes slavery, following an
address from Bellay, in a vote without discussion.
March, 1794: Intrigue by Biassou and Jean-Francois weakens Toussaint’s credit with
his Spanish superiors. Toussaint removes his wife and children from the
Spanish to the French side of the island. Biassou
lays an ambush for Toussaint enroute to Camp Barade in the parish of Limbe.
Toussaint escapes but his brother Jean-Pierre is killed.
March 24, 1794: Jacques Hébert and the other enragees who sought real economic reform and a true
social revolution in France are sent to the guillotine by Robespierre.
6, 1794: Toussaint joins the French with his four thousand soldiers, first
massacring the Spanish troops under his command. He conducts a lightning
campaign through the mountains from Dondon to
Gonaives, gaining control of the numerous posts he earlier established on
behalf of the Spanish. The Cordon de l’Ouest, a military line
exploiting the mountain range which divides the northern and western
departments of Saint Dominigue, is under his command.
May 7, 1794: Robespierre proclaims the Cult of the
May 30, 1794 Port au Prince falls to
the British. Sonthonax escapes to Rigaud’s positions south of the city. After
their victory, the English ranks are decimated by an outbreak of yellow
fever, which kills seven hundred men during the next two months and leaves
many more incapacitated.
June, 1794: An offensive led by British Major Brisbane fails to break
Toussaint’s Cordon de l’Ouest.
July, 1794: The Height of the Terror in Paris.
July 28, 1794: Robespierre is guillotined in Paris. The Committee on Public
Safety is disbanded, the National Convention dissolved, and a new
governmental body, The Directory, assumes leadership.
1794: Toussaint campaigns against British forces holding the town of Saint
Marc. Gen. Brisbane leads an offensive
in the Artibonite Valley supported by a Spanish offensive in the east.
Toussaint uses guerilla tactics against Brisbane, drives the Spanish auxiliaries
from Saint Michel and Saint Raphael, and razes those two towns.
November, 1794: Col. Laveaux tours the Cordon de l’Ouest and reports that fifteen thousand cultivators have
returned to work in this region under Toussaint’s control and that many white
colonists have returned to their properties in safety.
February 6, 1795: Blanc Cassenave, a mulatto officer loyal to Touissant, is
arrested for a mutinous conspiracy with Le Cap commandant Villate, and dies
March 2, 1795 Brisbane dies of a throat wound he suffered during an ambush.
Toussaint besieges Saint Marc once again.
March, 1795 – France makes peace with Prussia and
Spain in the Treaty of Basel, but war continues with Great Britain and
Austria. Spain cedes its portion of Hispaniola
to France. Jean-Francois retires to Spain.
Most of his troops join Toussaint’s army.
June, 1795 Joseph Flaville, a mulatto officer sponsored by Villate, rebels
against Toussaint and is defeated and executed at Marmelade.
August 22, 1795: Constitution of the Year III. In Paris the new constitution
establishes the Directory as the national governing body. This body specifies
that the colonies are integral parts of the French Republic and are to be
governed by the same laws.
October 25, 1795: In Paris, after
a lengthy trial, Sonthonax is formally cleared of all charges concerning his
conduct in Saint Dominigue.
12, 1796: Mulatto leader Dieudonne is overthrown by his subordinate Laplume, who turns him over to Rigaud as a prisoner, but Laplume brings Dieudonne’s men
to join Toussaint.
20, 1796: Villate attempts a coup against Laveaux who is imprisoned at Le
Cap. Officers loyal to Toussaint engineer his release.
March 27, 1796: Toussaint enters Le Cap with ten thousand men. Villate nad his remaining supporters flee the town. Col. Laveaux,
describing Toussaint as the ‘Black Spartacus’, installs him as
Lieutenant-Governor of Saint Dominigue.
May 11, 1796: Emissaries of the French Directory arrive in Le Cap: the Third
Commission, led by a politically rehabilitated Sonthonax and including the
colored commissioner Raimond and whites Roume, Giraud, and Leblanc.
May 19, 1796 The Third Commission proclaims the colonists absent from Saint
Dominique and residing elsewhere than France are to
be considered émigrés disloyal to the French Republic, their property subject
August 27, 1796 Emissaries sent by Sonthonax to Rigaud and other mulatto
leaders of the south create such ill will that a riot breaks out in Les Cayes, in which many whites are killed. Rigaud parades
Sonthonax’s proclamations through the streets of the town tied to the tail of
September, 1796: Sonthonax and Laveaux are elected, among others, as
representatives from Saint Domingue to the French legislature.
October 14, 1796 With further
encouragement from Toussaint, Laveaux departs from Saint Domingue to assume
his position in the French legislature.
January 15, 1797: Battle of Rivoli:
Napoleon defeats Austrian and Sardinian Armies in Northern Italy. Success in
Italy made Napoleon popular at home but also gave him an independent way to
support and enlarge his army.
April, 1797: Toussaint successfully recaptures Mirebalais and the surrounding
area and uses the region as the base of an offensive against the British in
Port au Prince. British General Simcoe defends the coast town successfully
and attacks Mirebalais in force. Toussaint burns Mirebalais and makes a rapid
drive toward Saint Marc, forcing Simcoe to retreat to defend the latter town.
This campaign is the last British challenge to Toussaint’s control of the
August 20, 1797: Toussaint writes to Sonthonax urging him to assume his
elected post in the French legislature.
August 23, 1797: Sonthonax consents to depart, in his words “to avoid
September 4, 1797: The Coup of 18 Brumaire:
In response to the election of 1797, which brings royalist parties into
power, the Directory stages a coup supported by Napoleon. Royalist and
colonial elements are purged from the government; the Vaublanc
faction loses its influence. The Consulate comes to power.
March 27, 1798: General
Hedouville, the pacificator of the Vendee, arrives from France as agent of the
French Directory to Saint Domingue.
May 2, 1798: A treaty is signed by Toussaint and British General Maitland.
The British will evacuate Port au Prince and their western posts in return for
which Toussaint promises amnesty to all their partisans, a condition which
violates the French law forbidding the return of émigrés.
August 31, 1798: Toussaint signs a secret agreement with Maitland
stipulating among other points that the British navy will leave the ports of
Saint Dominigue open to commercial shipping of all nations.
16, 1798: Instigated by Moyse and Toussaint, the plantation workers of
the north rise against Hedouville’s supposed
intention to restore slavery.
October 23, 1798: Under pressure from the rising in the north,
Hedouville departs from Saint Dominigue, leaving final instructions which
release Rigaud from Toussaint’s authority. Commissioner Raimond,
previously elected to the French legislature, accompanies Hedouville to
October 31, 1798: Toussaint invites Roume to
return from Spanish Santo Domingo to assume the duties of French agent in the
November 15, 1798: Toussaint announces the plantation work will henceforth be
enforced by the military.
June 18, 1799: Rigaud opens rebellion
against Toussaint; his troops seize Petit and Grand Goave,
driving LaPlume back from the area.
8, 1799: Toussaint dispatches an army of forty-five thousand men to the south
to combat Rigaud and his supporters.
July 25, 1799: Toussaint breaks the siege of Port de Paix
where his officer Maurepas was under attack from the Rigaudins.
August 4, 1799: Fifty conspirators at Le Cap are executed after a failure to
take over the town for the Rigaudins.
November, 1799: Dessalines’ offensive retakes Petit and Grand Goave from Rigaud.
November 9, 1799: In France, Napoleon Bonaparte
assumes power as First Consul of the French Republic.
22, 1799: Jacmel, key to the defense of the
southern peninsula, is besieged by Toussaint’s troops under General
December 24, 1799: Constitution
of the Year VIII adopted in France making Napoleon the supreme ruler Napoleon
the ruler. It was approved by plebiscite (3,011,077 to 1,567). The new
constitution states that the colonies will be governed by ‘special laws.’
April 27, 1800: Under pressure from
Toussaint, Roume signs an order to take possession
of the Spanish side of the island.
7, 1800: Rigaud is decisively defeated in by Dessalines at Aquin—last of a series of lost battles.
August 1, 1800: Toussaint enters Les Cayes,
Rigaud’s hometown and the last center of mulatto resistance. Rigaud flees to
France by way of Guadeloupe. Toussaint proclaims a general amnesty for the
mulatto combatants, but Dessalines, left in charge of the south, conducts
extremely severe reprisals against mulatto prisoners.
October 12, 1800: Toussaint proclaims forced labor on the plantations, to be
enforced by two captain-generals: Dessalines in the south and west and Moyse
in the north.
January, 1801: Toussaint sends two columns into Spanish Santo Domingo, one
from Ouanaminthe under the command of Moyse and the
other from Mirebalais under his own command.
January 28, 1801: Toussaint enters Santo Domingo City, accepts the Spanish
capitulation from Don Garcia and proclaims the abolition of slavery.
3, 1801: Toussaint proclaims a new constitution, whose terms make him
governor for life.
July 16, 1801: Toussaint dispatches a reluctant Colonel Vincent to present
his constitution to Napoleon Bonaparte and the Consulate in Paris.
October 1, 1801: The Peace of Amiens ends the war between England and France.
Napoleon begins to prepare an expedition, led by his brother in law General Leclerc, to restore white power in Saint Dominique.
October 16, 1801: An insurrection against Toussaint’s forced labor policy, led
by Moyse, begins on the northern plain and in the coming weeks is suppressed
with extreme severity by Toussaint and Dessalines.
November 24, 1801: Moyse is executed at Port de Paix.
November 25, 1801: Toussaint proclaims a
February, 1802: Leclerc’s
invasion begins with approximately seventeen thousand troops. Toussaint, with
approximately twenty thousand men under his command, orders the black
generals to raze the coast towns and retreat into the interior. Le Cap burns
again, but Port au Prince does not. The French forces pursuing Toussaint
fight a number of drawn battles in the interior of the island, with heavy
casualties on both sides. In the climactic battle, Toussaint sought to lure
the various French columns into a trap in the interior near Petite Riviere
and capture Gen. Leclerc. The plan failed only
because Maurepas troops retreating from Port de Paix
were cut off.
April, 1802: The black General Christophe goes over to the French with twelve
hundred troops, on a promise of retaining his rank in French service.
May 1, 1802: Toussaint and Dessalines surrender on similar terms as
Christophe. Leclerc’s position is still too weak
for him to obey Napoleon’s order to arrest and deport the black leaders
June, 1802: By the first week of this month, Leclerc
has lost a thousand men to a yellow fever epidemic. Both Le Cap and Port au
Prince are plague zones, with corpses laid out in the barrack yards to be
carried to lime pits outside the town.
6, 1802: Leclerc notifies Napoleon that he has
ordered Toussaint’s arrest. Lured away from Gonaives to a meeting with Gen.
Brunet, Toussaint is made prisoner.
June 15, 1802: Toussaint with his family is deported for France aboard the
ship Les Heros.
August 24, 1802: Toussaint is
imprisoned in Fort de Joux in France near the Swiss
13, 1802: The expected abatement of yellow fever at the approach of the
autumn equinox fails to occur. The reinforcements arriving die as fast as
they are put into the country. As of this date, a total of twenty-eight
thousand men have been sent from France, and Leclerc
estimates that ten thousand are still alive, but only forty-five hundred are
fit for duty. Five thousand sailors have also died, bringing the total loss
to twenty-nine thousand.
October 10, 1802: Mulatto General Clervaux revolts, with all his troops, upon the news
of Napoleon’s restoration of the mulatto discriminations of the ancien regime. Le Cap has been garrisoned by mulattos.
13, 1802: Christophe and the other black generals in the north join Clervaux’s rebellion. On the news Dessalines raises the
revolt in the west.
November 2, 1802: Leclerc dies of yellow fever.
Command is assumed by Rochambeau. By the end of the month the fever finally
beings to abate, and acclimated survivors, now immune, begin to return to
service. In France, Napoleon has outfitted ten thousand reinforcements.
March, 1803: At the beginning of the month, Rochambeau has eleven thousand
troops and only four thousand in hospital, indicating that the worst of the epidemic
has passed. He is ready to conduct a war of extermination against the blacks
and brings man-eating dogs from Cuba to replace his lost soldiery. He makes
slow headway against Dessalines in March and April while Napoleon makes plans
to send thirty thousand reinforcements in two installments in the coming
April 7, 1803: Toussaint L’Ouverture dies a prisoner in Fort de Joux.
May 12, 1803: New declaration of war between England and France.
June, 1803: By month’s end, Saint Dominigue is completely blockaded by the
English. With English aid, Dessalines smashes into coastal towns.
October, 1803: Early in the month Les Cayes falls
to the blacks. At month’s end, so does Port au Prince.
November 10, 1803: Rochambeau flees Le Cap and surrenders to the English
November 28, 1803 The French are forced to evacuate their last garrison at Le
Mole. Dessalines promises protection to all whites who choose to remain,
following Toussaint’s earlier policy. During the first year of his rule, he
will continue encouraging white planters to return and manage their property,
and many who trusted Toussaint do so.
December 31, 1803: Haiti declares its independence.
1, 1804: Dessalines, having overcome all rivals, crowns himself emperor. A
term of his constitution defines all citizens of Haiti as neg
(black) and all noncitizens of Haiti as blanc
(white) regardless of skin color in both cases.
December 2, 1804: Napoleon crowns himself emperor.
1805: Dessalines begins the massacre of all the whites (according to the
redefinition in the Constitution of 1804) remaining in Haiti.
October 17, 1806: Dessalines is
assassinated north of the capital city, Port-au-Prince, at Pont Larnage, on his way to fight the rebels.