Haiti Battle of Vertières' Day

Haiti Battle of Vertières' Day

November 18
This official public holiday memorializes the last battle for Haitian independence on November 18, 1803, in which Haitian rebels defeated the French colonialists. The victory at VertiÅres, near the present-day port city of Cap-Haitien, signified the end of a long freedom struggle that stretched out over two major phases. Less than two months after the battle, Haiti became the first black independent republic.
The day was formerly known as Army Day or Armed Forces Day, and military ceremonies were once the main event. Army parades were staged along the Champs des Mars in the capital city of Port-au-Prince and on the lawn of the National Palace. However, when President Jean-Bertrand Aristide abolished a Haitian army notorious for its brutality in the early 1990s, festival officials phased the armed forces out of the public ceremonies.
The Battle of VertiÅres Day in 2003 marked the bicentennial anniversary of the victory over the French. In Cap-Haitien, standing before the monument of the Heroes of the Battle of VertiÅres, President Aristide gave a stirring speech honoring the victorious soldiers.
CONTACTS:
Embassy of the Republic of Haiti
2311 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
202-332-4090; fax: 202-745-7215
www.haiti.org
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, p. 193