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Toussaint L’Overture Stand unique in all recorded human history as the only man to have succeeded in freeing a country from the awful hideous scourge of slavery. C,L.R James called Toussaint the first West Indian! He was born in Haiti in slavery his father being a prince was captured in Africa and sold into slavery in the West Indies. His father was fortunate for a slave in that his master impressed by his noble bearing gave him his own slaves and land to on the plantation. Toussaint therefore had a somewhat easier time than most slaves and was taught to read and write and was lent some books which influenced him by the local priest. Toussaint qualities soon became apparent and his intelligence combined with his courage and personal abilities soon led him into the position of leadership. And as a leader he was unsurpassed. C.LR. said “There has never been a political leader to surpass Tousaint. His task in freeing Haiti was daunting as he had to defeat the armies of Napoleon, which was a very experienced army, as well as an army of the British and the Spanish. This he did with ex slaves. He was a master of strategy and his personal honour as a man and as a soldier also stands unsurpassed. He would not allow his troops to to treat captured enemy soldiers in any inhuman way or confiscate their property. One of his officers who disobeyed was ordered to be shot by him. Yet Toussaint had terrific problems as his society was very divided between the whites blacks and mulattos, and this was often exploited by both the French and British. That he was always able to reunite the various factions of his country was due in no small part to his personal qualities. He was renowned for his honourable dealings and even his enemies were impressed by his incorruptibility. He dreamed of sailing back to Africa and stopping slavery there but was not able to achieve this as Napoleon was determined to re-establish slavery in Haiti. That Napoleon was unable to carry this out even though he captured Toussaint and carried him of to France is due to the fact Toussaint had trained his troops and indeed the people of Haiti so well that they would never again accept slavery being imposed upon them! In this his legacy left to his people Toussaint L’Overture remains unique in human history.
Toussaint L' Overture