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Current time:0:00Total duration:16:54

Video transcript

where we left off in the last video Toussaint L'Ouverture had just been betrayed by well on some level first by some of his right-hand men because they joined the side of Leclerc or they essentially they gave up rebelling against Leclerc convinced that Leclerc wasn't that bad that he had no intention of reinstating slavery or taking the away the civil rights of the free men of African descent this is another picture of Leclerc right here this is Leclerc so he had to essentially give up his arms he went to negotiate with Leclerc Leclerc imprisoned him put him on a boat and sent him to France and he died the next year in 1803 so he was betrayed he was betrayed and died in prison in 1803 and he really was on a lot of levels one of the most important leaders not just in Haitian history but in general when he took power as I said before he didn't take revenge on the white population he helped the economy of Haiti get back in rum get back up and running he actually helped defend what what is now Haiti but saint-domingue against the British Royal Navy I forgot to mention that in the defended against the British against the British Navy which at the time was by far the dominant Navy in the world so this is what really earned his reputation as a great general on top of being a great leader in terms of not exacting revenge in terms of not having slash-and-burn tactics in terms of not just you know ravaging his enemies so he was betrayed and then just to make it clear that Leclerc really does deserve devil horns of a sort although we're about to meet someone who deserves much bigger devil horns or maybe that he was actually the henchman for someone who deserves devil horns in May of 1802 May of 1802 Napoleon signs into law that assigns a law that says that's that States slavery word has not disappeared slavery we're not we're not gone and so it was a little bit ambiguous there were some areas where slavery had still not disappeared those include the French colonies at at Martinique at st. Lucia at tebah go but Haiti things were or Saint Domingue at that time things were a little ambiguous had had slavery truly disappeared or had it not disappeared yet apparently slaves were free in Haiti so it wasn't clear exactly what this meant for Haiti but at the same time the Haitians didn't even know this was happening this was May of 1802 but just to make things clear Napoleon actually sent Leclerc a secret memo to essentially reinstate slavery when the time was right reinstate slavery reinstate slavery when right so these guys I mean they were they were no Jokers they knew the situation they knew that they needed the help of some of Toussaint L'Ouverture former generals former right hand men in order to keep control of Haiti but the intention the entire time was when they have the upper hand to actually clamp down reinstate slavery and take away the civil rights of the free men of color now these guys weren't stupid either so you remember you might remember dessaline this was one picture of him he was also a former slave one of Toussaint L'Ouverture right-hand men very effective general and as you remember near the end of the fight against Leclerc he gave up the fight against Leclerc and to some degree you could say he turned on Toussaint L'Ouverture but he and some of the other of former followers of L'Ouverture saw the writing on the wall they didn't even have to intercept that secret memo they got word from Martinique and Tobago and st. Lucia they got word that slavery was being reinstated that the French at this time were not people that you wanted to deal with or trust when it came to issues the issue of slavery so dis alene and his comrades retook up arms they took up arms and dessaline was a very different character than Toussaint L'Ouverture they were the the one similarity is that they were both very effective military men the big difference between the two was that dessaline was not one to hold back didn't hold back he wasn't afraid to essentially take an eye for an eye so to speak so here you had dessaline in charge of what was I guess you could call the slave rebel army and then on the other side of it you have Leclerc with the forty thousand troops that he came that he showed up with Napoleon but lucky for dessaline lucky for dessaline yellow fever and it's not lucky I mean people died across the board but this did really turn the tide of war in favor of the the people of African descent on the island yellow fever yellow fever struck the island it killed Leclerc and it also took out 20 something thousand and the number I read was 24,000 of the actual French shoulders and another 8,000 were hospitalized so that's 32,000 I would have commitments of commission so you're essentially only left with 8,000 soldiers so all of a sudden completely turned the tide completely changed the numbers in terms of what types of forces the the rebel army had to fight again against but it wasn't all I guess good at this point because Leclerc I mentioned I gave him little devil horns he was replaced by someone who deserves very big very big devil horns named Rochambeau Rochambeau and not to be confused with his father who goes by the same name who was a hero of the American Revolution he fought for France on the side of the Americans but his son and he as far as I can I can tell seemed like a decent guy but his son was really evil and there are very few people in history that you can say are unambiguously evil he is one of them now that he was kind of desperate he had a you know his his forces were ravaged by yellow fever he's going against a fairly aggressive enemy he did things like he would bury let me write these down because they are evil he would bury a African of matter or I guess I should say African Americans he would bury former slaves or people of African descent very in very alive very alive in pits of insects in insects he would boil people alive in molasses boiled people alive in molasses I read one account that says that at one point he held the ball where he invited all of the prominent mixed-race people to a party essentially at his place and at the stroke of midnight he announced that all of the men are to be murdered so this guy I mean you know if cruelty he definitely you know his not the only bounds on his cruelty was you know the people that he could get his hands on especially the people of African descent the one positive of his cruelty is that he for the first time really unified the the population of African descent on the island so he unified he unified both the slaves the former slaves and the mixed-race people have mixed and the people of mixed race and at the same time we're now in 1803 we're now in 1803 and I've said it before we're still at war with Britain war with Britain and Britain is and I mentioned it before they had the most dominant Navy in the world dominant Navy dominant dominant Navy this guy despite how evil and how cruel he was he needed reinforcements from Napoleon if he had to take on dessaline and you know let me be very clear about this dessaline as I mentioned he was not hesitant to take an eye for an eye then one incident Rochambeau buried 500 rebel prisoners alive then dessaline went and hung 500 French prisoners so he wasn't someone to kind of shy away from from from I guess blood and this is very different to Toussaint L'Ouverture it's kind of a lesson when if you are fighting an enemy if you get rid of the more reasonable leaders of your enemy if you get rid of the more reasonable leaders of your enemy you might end up getting a maybe a leader more similar to yourself in your cruelty if you are if you betray if you've betrayed the more reasonable ones but anyway enough of my commentary so the stage is set the war Britain Britain owns the seas especially the Caribbean this guy needs reinforcements going against a very a very strong leader of the of the former slave rebels but Napoleon you know he's known to be one to cut his losses he did it with his troops in Egypt he's really not someone who really cares I think about the individual cares much more about his ego and his power so Napoleon leaves him hanging Napoleon leaves hanging the points on the writing well he wouldn't be able to through the British fleet and at the same time Napoleon's fighting all of these wars in Europe as you remember the whole French Revolution was precipitated by France being broke so Napoleon not only does he give up on this guy and he essentially got what he deserved Napoleon gives up on maintaining all of their colonies or any major presence in the Western Hemisphere so essentially to raise funds Napoleon also sells Louisiana to the Americans and when I say Louisiana I'm not talking about just the state of Louisiana in its present state which is about that big that's actually where I was born we're talking about the whole this is like one third of the United States today sold all of this all of this and he was clearly desperate he sold it for he sold it for 15 million dollars or that's the equivalent of 60 million francs 60 million francs and I've been told in today's money that would be on the order of ten billion dollars so this is still a very someone said for 10 billion dollars you could own one-third of the land of the United States you would say that's a pretty good deal 10 billion dollars in today's money so you know 15 million in 1803 10 billion today that's still not a lot of money but he was desperate he realized that he couldn't maintain control of something halfway around the world when Britain owned the seas and he was busy fighting his own having his own troubles in Europe so the the Americans got a good deal and frankly if he didn't sell it to the Americans either the British or the Americans could have probably just taken it anyway so being left to hang to dry by Napoleon dessaline is able to destroy is able to destroy Rochambeau and essentially declare independence for for saint-domingue and in 1804 January 1 January 1 1804 dessaline declares independence for and he names the new country Haiti which is the indigenous people's name for the island means land of the mountains now I want to I want to just leave with one note because you might may or may not be aware Haiti is still a very very very very poor country and and besides you know after dessaline they had many many many and ventral do videos on it rounds of one dictator after another and the people have really been through a lot but I just want to make it clear that they really got started off on a horrible foot because even though dessaline declared independence in 1804 the French did not recognize Haiti until 1805 so sorry 1825 French recognize and the only reason why they reckon you might say well who cares about recognition you know what was it who cares what the former colonial masters think but until they recognize that they were essentially embargoing Haiti they weren't allowing any trade to actually go on with Haiti so it was really on the on the front of a barrel of a gun and in order to be recognized in order to be recognized Haiti had to agree to 90 million 90 million francs 90 million francs of debt to France of debt to France and just to be clear of how much money this is here's a small island here's this small island of newly freed or half of an island of newly freed slaves and they were forced to Oh France they were forced to Oh France and this actually was further reinforced by the United States and Great Britain so it shows to show you even former enemies can kind of agree when it comes to oppressing a small impoverished islands but they had to owe France the equivalent of one and a half times one and a half times what the United States paid for the Louisiana Purchase they have to pay this was sixty million francs they got all of Louisiana now France is telling Haiti you owe us ninety million francs or that's roughly the equivalent of fourteen or fifteen billion dollars in today's terms for a population of essentially half-a-million freed slaves so it's kind of a horrendous amount of debt and just to be clear this isn't something you know this wasn't like the crazy Colonials in the you know early early 19th century forcing to do this this debt was not paid off with the interest not paid off until 1947 they were continuing to pay the debt and just to end just to add insult to injury the the reason for the debt they claimed it was for lost property so that's why France claimed that Haiti owed them the money for lost property lost property where included in the list of lost property was land and slaves essentially now that you've got your freedom you owe us a ton of money for essentially us losing the rights to own you so it's just insult to injury and actually I was shocked the first time I learned this number that they were forced to continue to pay debts from one poor country one small poor country right over here they had to continue to pay debts to a Western developed nation until 1947 essentially to buy their freedom