Meet Toussaint L'Ouverture

Contributor: Roxann Penny. Lesson ID: 12371

Do you like learning? Studying can be hard, but it's worth it. When slavery was legal, education helped an unusual man start a revolution that changed his country and freed many other slaves!



learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Meet Toussaint L'Overture. This formerly enslaved person was the only person in modern history to lead a slave revolt successfully.

  • How did he do it?

Find out in this lesson! You may be amazed by what you discover about this extraordinary man!

Meet Toussaint L'Overture. This former slave was the only person in modern history to successfully lead a slave revolt. How did he do it? Find out in this lesson! You may be amazed by what you discover about this extraordinary man!

Since much of what will be discussed in this lesson takes place in Haiti, it will be helpful to understand where this island is located.

Study the image below.

  • Do you see the tiny portion of land highlighted in red?

That area is known today as the Republic of Haiti. The other portion of the island in green is another country known as the Dominican Republic. This entire island was once known as Hispaniola.

Haiti on the globe

  • What does Haiti have to do with Toussaint L'Overture?

The answer is — plenty. Not only was Toussaint born on the Island of Haiti, he later became a significant military and political figure in the island's history.

During the early 17th century, many colonial countries like Britain, Spain, and France relied heavily on slave labor to produce cotton, sugar, and other crops.

Thousands of enslaved people were shipped from West Africa to work on plantations throughout the Caribbean. These enslaved people were treated inhumanely and often revolted against their oppressive captors.

Sadly, their revolts were never successful. However, that all changed when Toussaint L'Overture, an enslaved French person, decided to take action.

  • What do you think Toussaint L'Overture did?
  • What do you think he did differently when compared to other enslaved people who tried to revolt?
  • Why do you think his efforts at rebellion were more successful than previous efforts?

Think about these questions before revealing the answer below.

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slave irons

Toussaint's story from enslaved person to liberator is remarkable, considering the extraordinary circumstances he had to overcome.

Watch the video below for more details about the life of Toussaint and his impact on slavery.

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After watching, think about these questions.

  • What do you think impacted Toussaint's ability to lead a successful revolt?
  • Do you think that without the ability to read and write, Toussaint would have had the same results? Why or why not?
  • Why do you think that slaves were not allowed to have an education?

When you are ready, move to Got It? section to test your understanding of what you have learned so far about Toussaint.

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