Jean Jacques Dessalines
Dessalines, Jean Jacques
Born around 1760; died Oct. 17, 1806, near Port-au-Prince. One of the leaders of the rebellion of Haitian Negroes and mulattoes for independence from France.
A Negro, until 1790 he was the slave of one Dessalines, whose last name he adopted. In 1791, Dessalines took part in a rebellion of Negro slaves and mulattoes against the plantation owners and soon became one of the closest aides of the leader of the rebellion, F. Toussaint-L’Ouverture. After the capture of Toussaint-L’Ouverture by the French in 1802, Dessalines continued to lead the rebellion until the French were driven from Haiti and the country’s independence was declared (January 1804). At the end of 1804 he proclaimed himself emperor of Haiti under the name Jacob I. He began to distribute land among Negroes and mulattoes, evoking the wrath of the large landowners. Dessalines was killed by conspirators.