Dessalines, Jean Jacques
After the decimation of the French army by yellow fever and the capture of Toussaint, Dessalines revolted and overwhelmed the invaders in 1803. Independence was declared Jan. 1, 1804, at Gonaïves and he was chosen governor for life. Later, attempting to emulate Napoleon, he had himself crowned emperor as Jacques I in an ostentatious ceremony. In attempting to reorganize the nation's shattered economy, the ambitious emperor instituted drastic measures, such as forced labor, and accompanied them with despotic and cruel acts. He was subsequently ambushed and killed; Henri Christophe succeeded him in power.
See C. Moran, Black Triumvirate (1957).
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