Talk:Toussaint Louverture

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Manumission[edit]

Did he ever free his slaves? There is no mention of them after the revolution broke out.

W.E.B. DuBois said he never had any, but this does not seem to be correct. 76.102.148.112 (talk) 09:43, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

Naming[edit]

Very common in the period of the French Revolution:
people were referred to

  • rarely if at all (except among immediate family) by their prénom (given name), like Georges-Jacques [often written in parentheses]; but rather
  • by their nom (family name), like Danton [often written in all capitals]; and
  • quite often by a surnom (epithet) in conjunction with their nom to distinguish them from others of the same family name (like de Douai in Merlin de Douai)

You could thus use surnoms to distinguish Philippe-Antoine MERLIN de Douai from Antoine MERLIN de Thionville). Why do I mention this? Because in Toussaint's case, we have Pierre-Dominique TOUSSAINT Louverture: Toussaint's the family name, Louverture's the surnom. This is the reason why in categories we should alphabetize him under "T". (Roundabout explanation for such a small point, isn't it?) Mind you, his surnom wasn't to distinguish him from another famous Haitian called Toussaint, but in token of an accomplishment in battle. Capois-la-Mort received the same honour. QuartierLatin1968 07:45, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure Francois-Dominique Toussaint is his Christian name, i.e. the one he was given on baptism. Before the revolution he was known as Toussaint Breda after the Breda plantation, so Breda would have been the equivalent of a family name. During the revolution, he adopted Louverture as a family name more than a nickname. That is, the name was also adopted by his brothers and children, and he never used 'Breda' again. For usage, I agree with Nishidani, below, there's a strong tendency for the history books to just use 'Toussaint'. French ones are more likely to use 'Toussaint Louverture', but not all the time.Pen Lewins (talk) 12:06, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

he was a great guy

he was the best guy i ever researched about :)

The article says he adopted his nickname L'Ouverture as his surname, so what is supposed to be used?--Parkwells (talk) 17:55, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
Narratives contemporary with the period, at least in English, write Toussaint. French historical writings usually, as far as I am familiar with them, Toussaint Louverture. The page as I found it had mixed usage and certainly, one should decide on one or the other according to the best recent historical literature.Nishidani (talk) 10:37, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
I decided to use Toussaint up until he adopted his nickname as his own, then used Toussaint Louverture from then on, so it was not impossible to follow.--Parkwells (talk) 11:52, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
It looks like French language usage during the period was l'Ouverture, (lowercase "l", uppercase "o") cf. Brully's Résultats de la révolution (written in 1794). That being said... spelling of names wasn't exactly consistent at the time and I'd argue that Louverture is probably the way to go (But why is his name listed as "L'ouverture" in the first sentence of the article then?)Eldamorie (talk) 17:22, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Minor Comments[edit]

I'm very confused and not sure about where to put this so here i go: Just to let you guys know that the tone of the article make it seem as if Toussaint wanted to break from France which he didn't - the only reason Dessalines will change the revolution to a war of independence is because it became clear that France was not there to "re-assert" its authority but rather to bring back slavery. Furthermore, the independence was never "declared" it was proclaimed. When I have more time I will try to edit the article a little but meanwhile if someone could it would be greatly appreciated. But overall, this is a very good article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.80.115.192 (talk) 03:51, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

Spelling of Name[edit]

Since Toussaint Louverture spelled his own name Louverture for many years until his death in 1803, why is his name spelled L'Ouverture on this page? This is also highly inconsistent with much of recent literature.

- Yeah, this. 216.99.61.28 (talk) 23:44, 17 October 2009 (UTC) -- D'oh. That was me. Bcholmes (talk) 23:45, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

Delisted GA[edit]

Hi. I have removed this article from the Wikipedia:Good article listing due to the following:

  • No references. One of the GA criteria is that a reference section must be provided. Inline citations are preferred but not required. When this issue has been addressed, please feel free to re-nominate. Thanks! Air.dance 04:06, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

dating discrepancy[edit]

I came to this article from the article on Napoleon, where we read:

"In 1803, Bonaparte faced a major setback when an army he sent to reconquer Haiti and establish a base was destroyed by a combination of yellow fever and fierce resistance led by Toussaint L'Ouverture."

However, in this article Toussaint appears to both fail to destroy the army of Bonaparte, and DIES in 1802,

"Over the following months, Toussaint's troops fought against the French but some of his officers defected to join Leclerc. On May 7, 1802, Toussaint signed a treaty with the French in Cap-Haïtien, in condition that there was no return to slavery, and retired to his farm in Ennery. However, after three weeks, Leclerc sent troops to seize Toussant and his family, shipping them to France on board a warship. They arrived in France in July 2. On August 25, 1802, Toussaint was imprisoned in the castle Fort-de-Joux in Doubs. He died of pneumonia in captivity."

So, this appears to be a discrepancy, non? I don't know enough about early 19th century history to know what is correct--I was hoping Wikipedia would have shed light on the subject! Anyone have an idea how to fix this, or does it simply confirm the removal of this from the "good article list?"

The sentence from the Napoleon article is misleading. Although Toussaint did lead the Haitian rebels during the majority of the Revolution, after his capture in 1802 Jean-Jacques Dessalines took over. It was Dessalines who saw the French army defeated in 1803. - Jwillbur 20:05, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

link or info on british losses?[edit]

Is there any source? I doubt this. The brits only invaded in 1798, not in 1794 YankeeRoman(24.75.194.50 17:26, 14 December 2006 (UTC))

The British invaded in 1794 and left the island in 1798.


According to this article, Louverture went from being a slave owner, to being the leader of a war to abolish slavery. The article does not tell us why.

This comment is obviously in the wrong place, but anyway: the article can't explain why, because we don't know. Toussaint's owning slaves before the revolution was very much the default situation for a free man. So much the default that I don't think it can be taken to imply a view of slavery in itself. At the start of the rebellion neither he, nor any of the leaders were committed to the abolition of slavery. At some point he did make that commitment, very strongly and for the rest of his life. Unfortunately, he didn't explain how he reached that stage in any speeches, letters, or in any other form that has survived. We can't even say exactly when it happened, though I've read a couple of different speculations. Pen Lewins (talk) 12:37, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

François-Dominique or Pierre-Dominique?[edit]

The Columbia Encyclopaedia, Britannica, Le Robert, the American Heritage Dictionary and Chambers agree with this article that it's François-Dominique, but the 1911 Encyclopaedia, Collins, the National Archives (formerly PRO) and a host of OUP publications call him Pierre-Dominique. Can anyone shed any light? Flapdragon 17:33, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

In trying to research your question online, I came up with an interesting Wikipedia entry. I can't uniquely point to it! Google "toussaint louverture" (same spelling). Select 3rd entry (Toussaint Louverature - TLP) which is not listed as a Wikipedia article. It turns out to be a different Wikipedia biography with the same name! What the devil! (I've seen this sort of thing before BTW). Student7 18:16, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

It's not Wikipedia, it's an unrelated site that uses the same kind of software and thus looks very similar. There are many such wikis which are not Wikipedia but have the same kind of look and feel. Thanks for mentioning it though, perhaps I should ask them. Flapdragon 23:23, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one article was rated and this bot brought all the other ratings up to at least that level. BetacommandBot 08:17, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

'The Black Jacobins'[edit]

There is a book by CLR James with the above title that is considered a tremendous reference on Louverture and the revolution. There is no reference made to it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 208.34.158.66 (talk) 20:23, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

It's the best book I've found for political analysis, but a bit out of date on some factual details in that new primary sources have turned up since it was written. Pen Lewins (talk) 12:40, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Vandalism[edit]

Why is this entry subject to to vandalism so often? Just curious. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Belgrade18 (talkcontribs) 00:45, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Awkward English[edit]

Evidently some non-native English speaking persons have been editing this page. It needs to be cleaned up before Good Article status can be achieved. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wuapinmon (talkcontribs) 16:08, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

"Legitimate" Children[edit]

Is it really proper or necessary in this day and age to refer to some of his offspring as "legitimate" and others as "illegitimate?" Aren't those words in essence POV? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.243.135.126 (talk) 11:30, 14 July 2008 (UTC)


Is there any way to find out if Toussaint has any descendants to this day, and if his ancestors came from Dahomey in West Africa? TorridTitan (talk) 18:01, 4 August 2009 (UTC)


There are very real and distinct definitions between legitimate offspring and illegitimate offspring, even so far as also being distinctions between illegitimate children later being legitimized, and those who never are. You're screaming "POV," but I think the only problem here is your blatant PC. Jersey John (talk) 07:59, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

The distinction between legitimate and illegitimate offspring was important in Toussaint's place and time, and appears in his own constitution. Pen Lewins (talk) 15:37, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Equal 1792?[edit]

According to this page france declared all haitians equal in 1792. According to the Haiti page it made all FREE haitians equal. There is a massive difference since at the time something like 8 in 10 Hatians were slaves, so which is right? IceDragon64 (talk) 23:10, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

1792 all free people had equal citizenship, which effectively enfranchised the free people of color and free blacks. The Territorial Commissioners emancipated the slaves in 1793, but abolition of slavery was not approved by the French Convention until Feb. 1794. War continued for years. Corrected the text.--Parkwells (talk) 20:37, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Unsourced (smears?) about Sonthonax[edit]

The current version of this article states the following:

The French governor Laveaux left Saint-Domingue in 1796. He was succeeded by Léger-Félicité Sonthonax, an extremist French commissioner who had served on the island before. He allowed Toussaint Louverture to effectively rule and promoted him to Général de Division. Toussaint was repelled by this radical's proposals to exterminate all Europeans. He found Sonthonax's atheism, coarseness, and immorality offensive. After some maneuvering, Toussaint Louverture forced Sonthonax out in 1797.

The white European Sonthonax proposed "to exterminate all Europeans"? What? Toussaint thought him "coarse" and "immoral?" Says who? None of this is mentioned in the Léger-Félicité Sonthonax article. These kinds of hard-hitting claims, possibly smears, have to be sourced, or quickly removed. --NickDupree (talk) 04:08, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

There is a source for the idea that Sonthonax wanted to exterminate the whites of St Domingue and declare independence from France in 'The Black Jacobins' by CLR James (ch8). The accusation was apparently made by Toussaint himself, as well as various French politicians of the time. Sonthonax was apparently a genuine and ardent revolutionary, very much on the side of the black ex-slaves, and the revolution in France was fizzling out. James also has some alternative theories about the falling out between Toussaint and Sonthonax. I agree that the point is introduced very brutally, and it's hard to understand without context, let alone a source. I'll be rewriting it asap. Interesting that it did eventually come to independence for Haiti and a massacre of the whites, but if Sonthonax really had such a plan, who knows what he thought his role was going to be???!
As for being an atheist, if Sonthonax was as revolutionary as suggested, it may well be true, and if so, Toussaint may not have liked it, but unless I find a source to that effect, I would consider it irrelevant. According to James, they initially got on well, and Toussaint decided to chuck him out rather suddenly.
Pen Lewins (talk) 18:33, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

ISBN and Publishing details updated 6.4.10[edit]

I have just updated most of the Toussaint Louverture bibliography with publishing details and ISBNs. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.179.240.237 (talk) 14:12, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Death date[edit]

There is still a discrepancy with the death date in the intro and the sidebox. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.204.155.225 (talk) 06:42, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

Fixed it. - Pen Lewins (talk) 21:57, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

Birth date[edit]

Why does the "Early life" section say "His date of birth is uncertain...", giving a span of 7 years, while the lead sentence and biobox give it as 20 May 1743, with no question mark? --ChetvornoTALK 20:28, 27 February 2014 (UTC)