Pétion, Alexandre

Pétion, Alexandre

(älĕksäN`drə pātyôN`), 1770–1818, Haitian revolutionist. After taking part in the expulsion (1798) of the English from Haiti, he joined (1799) André RigaudRigaud, André
, 1761–1811, Haitian mulatto general in the wars that liberated Haiti. Educated, but vain, he believed in the superiority of mulattoes. He sought (1798–1800) unsuccessfully to wrest the leadership from Toussaint Louverture.
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 against Toussaint LouvertureToussaint L'Ouverture, François Dominique
, c.1744–1803, Haitian patriot and martyr. A self-educated slave freed shortly before the uprising in 1791, he joined the black rebellion to liberate the slaves and became its organizational genius.
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 and commanded the heroic but tragic defense of Jacmel, a southern port. Exiled, he returned with the French army under LeclercLeclerc, Charles Victor Emmanuel
, 1772–1802, French general. He served under Napoleon Bonaparte in the Italian campaign, married (1797) Pauline Bonaparte, and took part in Napoleon's coup of 18 Brumaire (1799). In 1801 he commanded the French expedition to Portugal.
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 in 1802. Rejoining the patriots because he feared the reestablishment of slavery, Pétion, after the death of DessalinesDessalines, Jean Jacques
, c.1758–1806, emperor of Haiti (1804–6), born a slave. A shrewd general, he served under Toussaint Louverture in the wars that liberated Haiti.
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, engaged in a fierce but inconclusive struggle with Henri ChristopheChristophe, Henri
, 1767–1820, Haitian revolutionary leader. A freed black slave, he aided Toussaint Louverture in the liberation of Haiti and was army chief under Dessalines.
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 for control of Haiti.

In 1807 he was chosen president for life of the republic in S Haiti. He confiscated the great French plantations, divided the land among the peasants, and gave his people unprecedented freedom. In 1816 he welcomed the exiled Spanish-American revolutionist Simón BolívarBolívar, Simón
, 1783–1830, South American revolutionary who led independence wars in the present nations of Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.
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 and provided him with military assistance. Nevertheless, his administration was tainted with waste and corruption. Pétion was succeeded by Jean Pierre BoyerBoyer, Jean Pierre
, 1776–1850, president of Haiti (1818–43). A free mulatto, he fought under Toussaint Louverture and then joined André Rigaud, also a mulatto, in the latter's abortive insurrection against Toussaint.
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