- Toussaint L’Ouverture (Haiti)
Born as a slave in 1743 on a plantation of Breda at Haut de Cap in Saint-Domingue, a French colony on the Caribbean Island, Toussaint L’Ouverture is remembered as the top leader of the Haitian revolution.
His military and political prowess helped captives in Haiti turn Saint-Domingue, the most prosperous slave colony of the time, into the first free colonial society that rejected race as the basis of social ranking.
Although very little is known about L’Ouverture’s early life, some records claim that he was the son of Gaou Guinou, a younger son of the King of Allada, a West African kingdom located in Benin, who was captured and sold in to slavery.
In the 19th century, African Americans used L’Ouverture, who died in 1803, as an inspiration to fight for their freedom.