Jean-Jacques Dessalines: An Icon of Haiti

Haiti is rich in history. One place you may want to check out when you’re in Haiti is the statue of Jean-Jacques Dessalines. It’s located in Port-au-Prince and is worth the time to see it.

Jean-Jacques Dessalines: An Icon of Haiti

The Slave

Jean-Jacques Dessalines was the leader of the Haitian Revolution and became the first ruler of independent Haiti under the 1805 Constitution. He is known as the founding father and liberator of Haiti.

He was born September 20, 1758, on a plantation. There, he was a slave of a Frenchman named Henri Duclos and worked in the sugarcane fields, where he rose in rank from a field hand to a foreman until he was about 30 years old. At the time, he was known as Jean-Jacques Duclos. He was assigned his last name based on his master, as was customary among slaveholders. Then, he was bought by a free black man named Dessalines. Jean-Jacques’ surname was changed again. From what we know, Jean-Jacques’ master proved to be cruel and brutal. He worked for this man for about three years until the slave uprising of 1791.

The Revolutionary

In 1791, Jean-Jacques Dessalines joined the slave rebellion led by Jean-François Papillon and Georges Biassou. This uprising was the first step of what would eventually become the Haitian Revolution. It was during this time that Jean-Jacques Dessalines met military commander Toussaint L’Ouverture and served as a lieutenant under his command.

After the battle, Dessalines became disappointed with L’Ouverture’s leadership and briefly sided with the French. This may have caused L’Ouverture’s capture and arrest in 1802. However, when it was clear that the French intended to reinstate slavery, Dessalines switched sides again. This time, he commanded rebel forces against the French. In the course of several victories, Dessalines’ coalition of blacks and mulattos was successful in forcing the French to surrender and leave the island.  In 1804, he renamed the colony Haiti and declared himself emperor.

The Emperor

Haiti had become the first black independent republic in the world, and as emperor, Dessalines wanted to make sure it stayed independent. He made every effort to keep the sugar fields and plantations running without slaves. As a slave who had worked under a master for thirty years, Dessalines did not trust the white French people. Between February and April of 1804, he ordered the death of over 5,000 white Haitians, regardless of age or gender. This was known as the 1804 Haiti Massacre. During this time, he also forbade whites to own land or property and declared Haiti an all-black nation.

Dessalines tried to improve Haiti’s economy. He demanded that all his people work as soldiers to help protect the country or laborers in the field to continue to generate income for the country. But he was strict, and many of the citizens felt as if they had once again been enslaved.

Death and Legacy

On October 17, 1806, while Jean-Jacques Dessalines was still the Haitian leader, he was assassinated during a revolt near Port-au-Prince. The circumstances of his death are uncertain. Although he was detested by generations of Haitians for his tyrannical ways, by the beginning of the 20th century, Dessalines was reassessed as an icon of Haitian nationalism. Today, he is a figure of pride for Haitians and the anniversary of his death, October 17, has become a national holiday in Haiti.

Dessalines was the great-grandfather of Cincinnatus Leconte, who served as President of Haiti from 1911 to 1912.

Additional Information

  • You can find this statue at Port Au Prince in the Champs de Mars square

Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Haiti

Ten years after the 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti!

Again, Haiti faces another devastating crisis as a 7.2 magnitude earthquake shook the country’s southern end on August 14, 2021. The southern area is not as populated as the country’s capital that suffered the shattering earthquake in 2010 that killed over 220,000 souls and displaced more than 300,000 people.
H3Missions, Inc. was founded by a group of compassionate individuals who wanted to respond to the 2010 crisis. Led by Nyron McLean, the team headed for Haiti to help with supplies and medical needs and have continued their efforts for over ten years.
Unfortunately, when the pandemic swept the earth, worldwide nonprofits were forced to suspend mission trips. However, our friends in Haiti need us more than ever now as they search for loved ones beneath the rubble of another devastating blow to the country.  
H3Missions, Inc. has joined Haiti One to help as their team coordinates assistance and supplies sent to the country. To streamline their efforts, Haiti One has a GoFundMe account set up to help Hospital Bernard Mevs & Project Medshare assist those affected by the devastation.
That link is here:
Markenley Chery, one of H3Missions, Inc.’s partners in Haiti is assembling a team to head to Les Cayes and surrounding areas to assist where and as needed.
At this time, we will coordinate with Haiti One to support all efforts by making sure our team on the ground can assist with supplies and services. Would you please help us streamline these efforts by donating to Haiti One at the above link to help the people of Haiti during these trying times? 


At the level of Economic and Financial Infrastructures, the municipality is quite well equipped. There are several hotels, restaurants, two credit unions, and two marketing co-operative centers. Market days: Saturdays.

Arcahaie is also known for Plantain production. It is estimated that 60% of the agricultural land in Arcahaie is devoted to the production of the tastiest plantains in Haiti. Many springs water the territory of the commune, which also receives the waters of the White River, rivers Courjol, Torcelle, Bretelles, and those which take the name of the rural sections.  

On the side of religion, ninety-six temples (chapels included) were listed in the municipality of Arcahaie. 20 Catholic churches including three parishes and seventeen chapels, five Baptist churches, and five Adventist churches for the most important were inventoried in the town.

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Saint-Louis-du-Nord (Haitian CreoleSen Lwi dinò) is a commune in the Saint-Louis-du-Nord Arrondissement, in the Nord-Ouest department of Haiti. It has 69,592 inhabitants.

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St. Marc is a large port town surrounded by mountains. At all times, there are many boats in the port, typically sail boats. The town was first settled in 1716, then located in the French colony of Saint-Domingue.[1]

The town is located on flat land close to the sea but its edges extend into the foothills. From these vantage points, the ocean is sometimes viewable. The city has a few park spaces, including Place Cite Nissage Saget. These parks are often surrounded by vendors with carts full of goods.

Local residents enjoy the rich culture of St. Marc and it is considered a safe place to live. About 60% of the population lives in the communal section, meaning outside of town. As a result, they are beyond its infrastructure and lack drainage systems, electricity and potable water.

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Port de paix

During the Amerindian period this area was called “Xarama” by the Taïno people. The area around the town was given the name “Valparaíso” by Christopher Columbus after landing here in the late evening of December 6, 1492, and today still contains many attractive beaches and cave locations. A ferry operates between the town and Tortuga island, (La Tortue), called “Gusaeni Cahini” by the Taïnos, which is situated just across the water.

The town was founded in 1665 by French filibusters, driven from Tortuga Island by the British occupiers. In 1676 the capital of the French Colony of Saint-Domingue was moved from Tortuga to Port-de-Paix, and it remained the seat of government until 1711 when the capital was moved to Cap-Français. In 1676, Padrejean escaped from slavery in the Port. In 1679 the town saw the first black slave revolt. The area saw great success during the 18th century but on February 27, 1903 the town was almost entirely destroyed by fire, and never attained its former status.

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Montrouis is a coastal communal section in Haiti, located in the department of Artibonite,[1] south of Saint-Marc. Montrouis is one of the most important beach tourism destinations in Haiti, with several well renowned hotels and resorts, including the Moulin-sur-Mer. The town is located on the Côtes-des-Arcadins, one of Haiti’s longest stretches of pure white sand beaches. It is also an exceptional place for sailing and fishing.

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Deschapelles (Haitian Creole: Dechpel) is a town in the Verrettes commune, in the Artibonite department of Haiti. It is located approximately 54 km north of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and has 4 to 5000 inhabitants Approximately. Deschapelles is where the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti is located.

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Croix Des Bouquets

Croix-des-Bouquets is a northern suburb in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. Haiti is world-famous for its exuberant art, richly influenced by nature, history and religion, both Christian and Vodou. The entire village of Croix des Bouquets is a good example of Haitian creativity – it resonates with the sounds of clanging and banging of the mallets and chisels in the process of transforming raw metal into stunning, and often haunting, iron sculptures. The city of Croix-des-Bouquets is on the Plaine du Cul-de-Sac, where many people grow organic foods such as beans, sweet potato, and corn.

On March 22, 1792, the city was the scene of one of the first battles of the Haitian Revolution.

Prior to the 12 January 2010 earthquake, the once crowded city had been restored. The streets had been cleaned up, wholesale merchants and other commerce had been relocated to Port-au-Prince. Retail commerce which once crowded sidewalks downtown now had a dedicated building.

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