The Haitian Revolution (French: Révolution haïtienne [ʁevɔlysjɔ̃ ajisjɛ̃n]), was a successful anti-slavery and anti-colonialinsurrection that took place in the former French colony of Saint Domingue that lasted from 1791 until 1804. It impacted the institution of slavery throughout the Americas. Self-liberated slaves destroyed slavery at home, fought to preserve their freedom, and with the collaboration of mulattoes, founded the sovereign state of Haiti. It led to the greatest slave uprising sinceSpartacus, who led an unsuccessful revolt against the Roman Republic nearly 1,900 years prior.
One of the most successful black commanders was Toussaint Louverture, a self-educated former domestic slave. Like Jean François andBiassou, he initially fought for the Spanish crown in this period. After the British had invaded Saint-Domingue, Louverture decided to fight for the French if they would agree to free all the slaves. Sonthonax had proclaimed an end to slavery on 29 August 1792. Louverture worked with a French general, Étienne Laveaux, to ensure that all slaves would be freed. Louverture abandoned the Spanish army in the east and brought his forces over to the French side on 6 May 1794 after the Spanish refused to take steps to end slavery.
The Haitian Revolution was the only slave uprising that led to the founding of a state free from slavery and ruled by non-whites and former captives. With the increasing number of Haitian Revolutionary Studies in the last few decades, it has become clear that the event was a defining moment in the racial histories of the Atlantic World. The legacy of the Revolution was that it challenged long-held beliefs about black inferiority and of the enslaved person's capacity to achieve and maintain freedom. The rebels' organizational capacity and tenacity under pressure became the source of stories that shocked and frightened slave owners.