By: Ford Pierre
What is the Battle of the Vertières in Haiti?
Each country has its own story. Every country has a milestone date or event that they are unlikely to forget. It can be either an independence, a battle or an occupation. November 18, 1803 is a date that marks one of the most significant days in the history of the Republic of Haiti, the “Battles of Vertières”. This November 18, 2021, Haiti will celebrate the 218th anniversary of this very important event in its history as an independent nation. Let's find out together in this article what the "Battle of Vertières" is and what it represents for Haitians.
The Course Of The Battle And What Caused The Battle of the Vertières
This battle took place in Cap-Haitien (called Cap-Français at the time), more precisely in Vertières, a district located in the Nord department at 3.45 km from the city. It opposed the Indigenous troops led by General Jean-Jacques Dessalines to those of the French army (the largest army at the time), commanded by General Rochambeau. On this day, Dessalines orders to take the fort of Vertières located on a hill near the city and inhabited by French troops almost decimated by disease and war. It should be mentioned that Dessalines did not physically participate in this battle. The one who led the Haitian troops was François Capois, nicknamed Capois-Lanmo for having continued to advance after having come close to death on several occasions. During this battle, the Indigenous army had a total of 27,000 soldiers against 2,000 for the French army. But the latter had everything in its favor because it was better equipped with more sophisticated weapons and superiority in military strategy. About 12,000 soldiers perished on the Indigenous side after 12 intense hours of bloody and merciless fighting. But thanks to the malicious and clever strategies of Dessalines, the Indigenous managed to shatter this myth which made people believe that the white man is superior to the black man by winning the victory over the greatest military force at the time, namely the French army. It is the biggest and the ultimate of the three great battles of the War of Independence. The two others are that of Ravine-à-Couleuvre (23 February 1802) and that of Crête-à-Pierrot (4-24 March 1802).
Haitian Heritage Over The Last 218 Years
The "Battle of Vertières" constitutes an important phase in the history of Haiti. This symbolic and historic battle marks the end of a long period of slavery. November 18, 1803 remains and therefore remains a mythical date which constitutes the essential element of Haitian historical heritage. 218 years after the Battle of Vertières, this date of November 18, 1803 has lost its historical significance for a few years while it is the very day of Haiti's independence. It was this battle that led to the official proclamation of independence on January 1, 1804.
In popular culture, a monument was erected and inaugurated on the Vertières site under the presidency of Paul Eugène Magloire, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Haitian independence.
Dany Laferrière, academician and brilliant Haitian writer, entered the word "Vertières" in a French dictionary for the first time on November 18, 2019 to recall what this word means in the history of Haiti.
Do you have any plans to honor this historical day this November 18th?
Happy Haitian Flag Day (May 18th)! Activities and Ideas for Home and the Classroom
Haitian Flag Day is celebrated every May 18th during the month of Haitian Heritage Month. Haitian Flag Day is huge in the Haitian community and it is observed in Haiti and all over the United States. The meaning behind Haitian Flag Day is to commemorate the Haitian slave revolt, which led to Haiti being the first independent black nation!
Here are some Haitian Flag Day activities and ideas to teach about Haiti's independence
Happy February, friends! I love February because of Valentine's Day and it's my birthday month!
I will never forget this cute little window in this picture. We were hiking up the mountain in Cap Haitien to see the Citadelle Laferrière when I spotted the pink window with a heart on it.
Have you wondered about Valentine's Day in Haiti? Do Haitians celebrate Valentine's Day? Is Valentine's Day a big deal in Haiti? I was curious about Valentine's Day in Haiti so I asked my family and friends for more information and here's what they said.
Valentine's Day in Haiti is...
It was so fun learning about how Valentine's Day in Haiti is celebrated. How do you celebrate Valentine's Day?
Jwaye Nwèl! Merry Christmas!
Christmas is such a magical time for everyone, including for Haitian people! We've spent a few Christmas holidays in Haiti, but since I didn't grow up there, I had to do my own research through my family and the Internet about what Christmas is like (mostly as a child) in Haiti. We are raising our two little boys to appreciate their Haitian heritage and to learn the Haitian Creole language.
Christmas in Haiti brings the same universal magical feeling to everyone, especially kids. Here are some Haitian Christmas songs, traditions and printables to teach about Christmas in Haiti! You may also find yourself reminiscing about Christmas holidays in Haiti!
Christmas Songs in Haitian Creole
Christmas Traditions in Haiti
On Christmas Eve, children place their clean shoes full of straw, under the tree on the porch. They hope that Tonton Nwèl (Santa Claus) will remove the straw and put presents in and around the shoes.
Guests usually lend their visits a little before or around midnight to attend La Messe de Minuit (Midnight Mass for Catholics). Or, some leave to go party or caroling. There is also the Revellion, French for Christmas supper, eaten after midnight mass. Traditionally, the meal served is rice, beans, and fried chicken.
Read a beautiful 1960's memoir written by Jean-Marie Florestal titled Christmas In Jérémie. What a great read...I could really picture the scenes!
Haitian Christmas Printables
Free Download: Haitian Creole Christmas Carols.
A gift guide for Haiti lovers
How is it mid November ALREADY?! This week we will celebrate Thanksgiving in US and then Black Friday! I don't know about you, but the holidays always sneak up on me quick. The same goes for holiday shopping! Skip the mall and same old gifts. Shop our unique items in our gift guide for Haiti lovers <3
Consider shopping from small businesses who work to show the beauty of Haiti. The Real Haiti Inc. is a registered corporation and with your purchases, we are able to bring more awareness of the other side of Haiti that we all love so much!
November 24th is Small Business Saturday!
Why does Haiti Celebrate Dessalines Day / Anniversaire de la mort de Dessalines?
History is not my specialty nor my passion, but since this blog is about educating others about The Real Haiti, I did some research about the Haitian holiday Dessalines Day, celebrated on October 17th (the day of his assassination).
Jean-Jacques Dessalines is referred to as one the founding fathers (or Emperor) of Haiti, but many don't speak of him because of the controversial violent massacre of thousands of "white Haitians," also known as native French people. Read more about the 1804 Haiti Massacre here.
A Haitian educator, Louis Mercier, once said, "Whatever the means he employed to accomplish his ends, Dessalines remains the most powerful spirit in our history....One cannot be a real Haitian unless one is a Dessalinian." With gaps in the historical information, Haiti still celebrates Dessalines Day on October 17. Read more about the Haitian Revolution, Haiti's Independence here.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends! We are offering a 20% discount on any purchase made at our Etsy shop! Don't worry, if you're not an Etsy member (and/or don't want to become one), you can check out as a guest without joining.
Browse our jewelry, Haitian paintings, home decor and more! Enter code THANKS when checking out to apply the 20% off coupon. Most of our items ship for FREE! Sale ends midnight 11/24/17.
Thank you for your support always!
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