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Julia Gaffield

general in the Haitian Revolution, first leader of independent Haiti, and a lwa in the Haitian Vodou pantheon. The specifics of Jean-Jacques Dessalines’s early life are not well documented and historians have not come to a consensus regarding his date and place of birth. He was born around the year 1758 in either west central Africa or in the Grande Rivière region in the north of the French colony of Saint Domingue in the Caribbean where he spent much of his life as a slave on two plantations In the late eighteenth century Saint Domingue was the most wealth producing colony in the Americas Much of this wealth was generated through the cultivation and export of sugar and coffee crops Enslaved people often purchased by the plantation owners through the transatlantic slave trade were forced to work on plantations to produce wealth for their masters Some enslaved people were ...

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Faustin Elie Soulouque was elected president of Haiti by the National Assembly, under the belief that he could be easily manipulated. On the contrary, Soulouque established a strong and repressive regime. In 1849 he unsuccessfully attempted an invasion of the neighboring Dominican Republic which had won its independence from ...

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empress of the French after she became the first wife of Napoléon Bonaparte (9 March 1796), was born Marie-Josèphe-Rose de Tascher de La Pagerie in Martinique on 23 June 1763 to Joseph-Gaspard de Tascher and Rose-Claire des Vergers de Sannois, both of European descent. Napoléon later renamed her Joséphine. Raised on the large La Pagerie sugar plantation near Trois-Ilets, “Rose” came of age in modest circumstances after a hurricane destroyed much of La Pagerie in 1766. In 1779 Rose’s aunt, mistress of the Marquis François de Beauharnais, a former governor of French colonial possessions in the Windward Islands, arranged a marriage between Rose and the Marquis’s son Alexandre, viscount de Beauharnais. Accompanied by her father, Rose arrived in Paris for the first time for her wedding, which took place on 13 December 1779 Her marriage with Alexandre was by all accounts a disaster Although born in ...