100 Fixing the Calendar 1582

  Haiti Gets Its Freedom 1804

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91  Haiti Gets Its Freedom 1804 
THEY HAD SIMPLY had enough. By 1791, half a million black men and women toiled in the coffee, indigo and sugarcane fields on this French colonial island. When Boukman Dutty, a Jamaican-born voodoo priest, charged a gathering that August to "throw away the thoughts of the Whitegod who thirsts for our tears," the masses listened. Armed with machetes and vengeance, they torched plantations and took lives by the thousands as they fought for their freedom. A self-educated former slave named Franççois-Dominique Toussaint-L'Ouverture organized an army that stood down France's attempts to reestablish control until 1802, when he surrendered to Napolééon Bonaparte's troops. But the insurrection so impeded Bonaparte that he sold the Louisiana Territory to the United States the next year, ending France's quest for domination in the Western Hemisphere. Toussaint didn't live to see his dream realized, but on New Year's Day, 1804, the rebels finally got their wish: Haiti became the world's first free black republic. The ripple effects were felt as far away as England and America, where news of the revolt cheered abolitionists. 

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