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A Very Short History
of the
Haitian Revolution


February The National Convention bans slavery in all French coloinies.

May Toussaint L'Ouverture leaves the Spanish forces and rejoins the French.


October The Treaty of Bâle ends Spain's involvement in the conflict and gives eastern Hispaniola to France.


March French commander Laveaux appoints Toussaint lieutenant-governor of Saint-Domingue.


May Commissioner Léger-Félicité Sonthonax appoints Toussaint commander-in-chief of French colonial forces in Saint-Domingue.


March Henri Christophe appointed commander at Le Cap. Dr. Edward Stevens appointed U.S. consul general.

June The War of Knives begins.

August Christophe presides over courts martial all month; suspects shot without trial at Savane de la Fossette outside Le Cap.

September 3 Christophe ordered to reinforce General Jean-Jacques Dessalines at Jacmel.

December Toussaint betrays two of Roume’s spies in Jamaica as a token of good faith.


January Alexandre Pétion deserts Toussaint. Bauvais escapes from Jacmel but drowns en route to Curaçao. Pétion replaces him as commander at Jacmel.

March 11–12 Pétion sallies against Dessalines and Christophe at Jacmel. His forces are routed, preventing a link-up with Rigaud and effectively ending the War of Knives.

June Napoleon confirms Toussaint as commander-in-chief of St.-Domingue.

July 28 Rigaud flees to France.

August 1 Toussaint enters Les Cayes. Dessalines appointed governor of South Province.

October Severe storms cause extensive flooding; dams fail.

November Toussaint arrests Roume and sends him back to France.


January Toussaint invades Spanish Santo Domingo.

July New constitution declared; Toussaint governor-general for life.