“It is Toussaint’s supreme merit that while he saw European civilisation as a valuable and necessary thing, and strove to lay its foundations among his people, he never had the illusion that it conferred any moral superiority. He knew French, British, and Spanish imperialists for the insatiable gangsters that they were, that there is no oath too sacred for them to break, no crime, deception, treachery, cruelty, destruction of human life and property which they would not commit against those who could not defend themselves.”
― C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution.
The Haitian Revolution was the most important freedom struggle in the history of the Americas. It culminated in the elimination of slavery from France’s most lucrative colonial possession. It led to the establishment of the first “black” republic. It provided a base from which Simon Bolivar launched his campaign to liberate Spain’s Latin American colonies from centuries of colonialism. It lasted for twelve years during which armies sent by three European imperial powers—Britain, France, and Spain—were soundly defeated. Toussaint Louverture, a man born into slavery circa 1743, led the rebellion that ultimately brought freedom and independence to the long-suffering people of Haiti. The PBS documentary featured below provides important insights into the life and career of the Great Liberator.