Jean-Jacques Dessalines Day, Haiti

17 Oct 2019  Thu

Dessalines Day is celebrated in Haiti on 17th of October each year as a tribute to their national hero Jean-Jacques Dessalines. Jean-Jacques Dessalines was a leader of the Haitian Revolution and the first ruler of an independent Haiti under the 1805 constitution. It was under Dessalines that Haiti became the first country in the Americas to permanently abolish slavery.

Jean-Jacques Dessalines served as an officer in the French Army. The growing racial disparities and injustice made him start a rebellion against the French. Later he rose to become a commander in the revolt against France.

Defeating the French army at the Battle of Vertieres in 1803, he declared Haiti as an independent nation in 1804! Dessalines was chosen by a Council of Generals as Governor-General. Later on, in September 1804, he was proclaimed the Emperor by the Generals of the Haitian Revolution Army.

His rule ended with his assassination during a military revolt in October of 1806, the anniversary of which is celebrated in Haiti as Dessalines Day on October 17!

Jean-Jacques Dessalines features on a lot of Haitian banknotes. Depicted besides is a commemorative banknote that was issued in 2004 celebrating the 200th anniversary of Haitian Independence.

The obverse depicts Jean-Jacques Dessalines to left and the reverse features the Fort Décidé (Marchand).

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