Jean-Baptiste Chavannes

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This article is about the colonial-era rebellion abolitionist. For the modern agronomist, see Jean-Baptiste Chavannes (agronomist).
Jean-Baptiste Chavannes
Jean-Baptiste Chavannes by J. Verschueren.jpg
Portrait of Jean-Baptiste Chavannes by J. Verschueren
Born c,1748
Grande-Rivière-du-Nord, Saint-Domingue (later Haiti)
Died 23 February 1791(1791-02-23)
Known for Rebellion soldier (Vincent Ogé's righthand)

Jean-Baptiste Chavannes (around 1748, Grande-Rivière-du-Nord – 23 February 1791, Cap-Français) was a Haitian abolitionist and soldier.


He was the son of rich mulatto parents, and received a good education. In 1778 the expedition under d'Estaing, sent to assist the Continental Army, was in Haiti, and Chavannes joined it as a volunteer. He distinguished himself during the operations in Virginia and New York, and specially during the retreat from Savannah in December 1778. Once the independence of the American colonies had been accomplished, Chavannes returned to Haiti.

When Vincent Ogé landed near Cap-Français, 23 October 1790, intending to create an agitation amongst the people of African descent in favor of their political rights, Chavannes sided with him. Chavannes wanted all the slaves to be declared free, but Ogé did not follow his advice, and informed the assembly of his intention to take the opposite course. The mulattoes raised a force of about 1,000 men.

The mulattoes being defeated by the colonists, Ogé, Chavannes, and a few others took refuge in the Spanish part of the island, and the Haitian assembly asked for their extradition, according to treaty. The jurist Vicente Faura made a powerful plea in their favor, and the king of Spain gave him a decoration, but the Royal Audiencia of Santo Domingo decided against the refugees, who were delivered to the Haitian authorities on 21 December 1790.

Two months later Chavannes and Ogé were sentenced to be hammered to death, and the sentence was executed in the presence of the provincial assembly and authorities of Cap-Français. Chavannes showed great courage during his terrible torture, and protested to the last moment against the oppression of the people of African descent.



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