Timeline of Events Relating to These Articles
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska

2007 MARKS THE 205th ANNIVERSARY OF THE POLES IN HAITI:

This page is dedicated to those Poles who were lost in Haiti after the 2nd (114) and 3rd (113) Polish Half Brigade was sent to Haiti, by Napoleon, to fight in their 1802 slavery rebellion under the leadership of Francois Dominique Toussaint. 2002 was the 200th anniversary of these events, which are reported here lest we forget. Some Polish writers have called this mere mythology, however, my own research points to the known facts.

FRANCOIS DOMINQUE TOUISSANT L'OUVERTURE:

Francois Dominique Touissant L'Ouverture (1743-1803) was the son of Pierre Baptiste Simon. His father was educated by Catholic priests and learned to read and write. He worked on the Breda Plantation and was originaly known as "Pierre-Francois-Dominique Toussaint Breda." His mother was named Pauline and they raised eight children. Francois was born, in 1744, near Cap Haiten, on All Saints' Day (Toussaint means "all saints" in French). Later on Francois learned to read and write in French. On the Breda Plantation he was made "head coachman." Toussaint, at age 40, chose a wife. Her name was Suzanna and she had a four-year old son, which she bore to another man, and Toussaint's son was named Isaac.

There is another Toussaint named Pierre Toussaint, who was thirty-seven (37) years younger than Francois. These two never met, and are not thought to be related.

Toussaint read about the French Revolution and eventually he decided that this might work for the slaves in Haiti too. He joined other slaves in a rebellion on August 14, 1791. His wife Suzanne and her sons fled to St. Dominque. Toussaint was governor of Haiti in 1801. He had well-educated whites and mulattos in his service.


This likeness was made well after Touissant's death

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Poles in Haiti - Table of Contents
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SOURCES:

Nabaszek, Dariuz, Thomas Biber, et al. An Illustrated History of Poland. Poznan, Poland: Podsiedlik Raniowski & Co., Ltd, 1988.

Oivka, Otto von. Napoleon's Polish Troops. Berksire, Eng.: Osprey Publishing Limited. Men-at-Arms Series, 1974.

Orizio, Riccardo. Lost White Tribes: The End of Privilege and the Last Colonials in Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Brazil, Haiti, Namibia, and Guadeloupe. New York: Free Press, 2000, 124-179.

Rogozinski, Jan. A Brief History of the Caribbean: From the Arawak and the Carib to the Present. New York: A Meridian Book, 1994.

RELATED LINKS

The Anniversary of the Napoleanic-Polish Brigades in Haiti ... Poles in Haiti and Haitian Revolution ... The Tragedy of the Lost Brigrades (1802-2002)

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