The First News of Toussaint Louverture’s Invasion in 1801

On March 4, 1801 The National Intelligencer and Washington Advertiser newspaper of Washington DC, published a small article regarding Toussaint Louverture’s invasion of Santo Domingo. This is the first Haitian invasion of Dominican territory of many that were made in the XIX century.

Observations in the Article

  • The city of Port-au-Prince appears as Port Republican. The reason for this is that during the final years of the French era in Haiti, the capital city’s name is changed to Port Republican. This change was done when The French Revolution eliminated the French monarchy and replaced it with the French republic. Once Haiti is established as an independent country, the Haitian authorities decided to erase everything that reminded them of France (hence Cap Français is changed to Cap Haitien). In this anti-French fervor it was decided that Port Republican would revert to Port-au-Prince. Its also interesting that Haiti was not founded as a republic, instead as an empire. Haiti’s founding father, Jean Jacques Dessalines, didn’t become Haiti’s first president or prime minister, he became emperor for life.
  • While it is true that the article is published in March 4, 1801; it must be taken into account that the Stokes Harriet bergantine departed from Port-au-Prince on February 9 and arrives at Washington DC on February 26, 1801.
  • At that time it was widely believed that Toussaint Louverture’s troops had been defeated by the Spaniards (in other words, by the Dominicans). This article clears up the confusion with the information of someone that was on the island at the time the invasion was executed.
  • The natives of the Cibao Valley, especially those of the vicinity of Santiago de los Caballeros, demonstrated their intense desire of preserving the Spanish (Dominican) territory and society by fighting with the invaders with the greatest determination and force. The love for their country and culture is a characteristic that defines the natives of the Cibao Valley. In later times, with the desire of preserving the Dominican Republic, in Santiago erupted the rebellion against the Spanish government. From there it spread and became an outright war.

The Article

Thursday arrived the brig Harriet, Stokes, 17 days from Port Republican. A gentleman who came as a passenger in this vessel, informs that the accounts of Toussaint’s army having been defeated by the Sapniards is, in part, incorrect. According to the accurate accounts received at Port Republican, it was only the northern column of his army. Toussaint divided his army into three columns, and the northern column having met with a superior body of Spaniards in the plain of Santiago de La Vega, suffered a partial defeat. Before the Harriet left Port Republican, accounts were received that Toussaint had taken the town of Santo Domingo without any difficulty. The principal inhabitants, with the most valuable of their effects, had previously gone off.