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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 ...


Peter Garretson

ruler of Shewa (Ethiopia), was born in Menz. As the hereditary ruler of Shewa from 1813 to 1847, he confirmed its role as a major player on Ethiopia’s national political scene. Given the name of Haylu Welde Kiros at birth, he succeeded his father ras Wessen Seged after his assassination in June 1813 becoming first ras and later adopting the title of negus (king).

Since the power of the monarch rested largely on the allegiance of his subjects especially the powerful ones the first years of his rule were unsettled and rebellion was rife among his Amhara and Oromo subjects They had recognized the legitimacy of his father but not of him He acted swiftly and ruthlessly to crush this opposition re establishing the central authority in his province The Amhara nobles were placated and he continued his predecessors tactics of divide and rule to undermine any unified Oromo ...


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 ...


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 ...


Bahru Zewde

emperor of Ethiopia (r. 1855–1868), was born about 1820 in the northwestern Ethiopian frontier district of Qwara. Until he assumed his throne name of Tewodros in 1855, he was known as Kasa Haylu. At the time of his birth, Ethiopia was going through a turbulent phase of its history, known as the Zamana Masafent (“Era of the Princes”), when regional lords held political sway and the emperors led a shadowy existence in the imperial capital, Gondar. In many ways a product of the Zamana Masafent, Kasa ultimately proved to be its antithesis.

Qwara provided Kasa with the political base that eventually catapulted him to imperial power From his half brother Kenfu Haylu he inherited the border skirmishes with the Egyptians who were then expanding into the Sudan and its borderlands But in contrast to Kenfu who dealt a decisive blow to the Egyptians at the Battle of Wad ...


Tsegay Berhe Gebrelibanos

emperor of Ethiopia (1872–1889), was the coronation name for the former Dejazmach (military commander) Kassa otherwise Abba bazbez. Kassa was the son of Mercha, who was the Shum (governor) of Temben, and Weyzero (dame) Silas Dimtsu. At his birth, he had the advantage of uniting the rival princely houses of Tigray of the preceding century; including Ras Mikael Sehul of Adwa, Ras Welde Selassie of Enderta, and Dejazmach Subagadis of Agame. In 1864–1865, Kassa went with his brothers, Gugsa and Maru, to the court of the then Ethiopian Emperor Tewodros II (r. 1855–1868). Gugsa was given the title of dejazmach and Kassa that of the lower office of balambaras. Both brothers were given jurisdictions over eastern Tigrayan districts.

In 1865 1866 Kassa openly rebelled against Tewodros and controlled most of Tigray by defeating the central government s appointees In the years 1867 1868 he cooperated with the British expeditionary ...