Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Haiti: anniversary of slave revolt

200 year ago, Hatian slaves fought for and gained their freedom.
Haiti is a shell of what it was two centuries ago when its rich alluvial plains and slave labor made it the wealthiest colony in the New World.

That prosperity impelled Napoleon Bonaparte to order 15,000 troops to oust Toussaint Louverture, a former slave who rallied blacks. The French eventually captured Louverture and imprisoned him in a bleak mountain cell on the French-Swiss border, where he died.

Shortly afterward, however, French troops, weakened by yellow fever, surrendered to Haitian forces.

Vertieres has since become a celebrated victory of black over white, poor over privileged.