Toussaint L'Ouverture

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Toussaint L'Ouverture (1745?-April 1803) was a former slave from Haiti. He served as a medical officer in the slave uprising of 1791. He became a general in 1793 when he established an army of his own. He became famous for guerrilla warfare. By 1801, he was dictator of the entire island. Although he declared that Haiti was merely a protectorate of France, he was the real ruler.

In 1802, Napoleon sent 30,000 troops, under command of his brother-in-law, to retake Haiti. However, yellow fever and malaria decimated his men. Combined with fierce guerrilla warfare waged by the Haitians, the French lost nearly 24,000 men. That year, Toussaint was captured by the French general by treachery. He died in France in 1803 of ill-treatment. His followers continued to fight, however, and finally the French were forced to surrender.