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At a young age, André Rigaud went to France and trained as a soldier in the French army. He was one of many Haitians who fought under French commanders against the British in the American Revolution (1775–1783). After returning to Haiti, Rigaud worked as a goldsmith until the outbreak of the Haitian Revolution in 1791. He emerged as leader of the mulatto (mixed African and European descent) forces and instigated an insurrection against black military commander François Dominique Toussaint Louverture in 1799. This led to a civil war between the mulatto and black forces that were fighting against French colonial rule. The insurrection failed, leaving about 10,000 of Rigaud's supporters dead, and he fled to France in 1801. The emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte I, deported Rigaud to Madagascar.