[1790] - The Ogé rebellion in San Domingo

In late October 1790 Vincent Ogé, a wealthy and educated man of colour, led an armed uprising against the white colonial authorities in San Domingo (renamed Haiti after independence was declared in 1804). The rebellion lasted for over two months and worked to precipitate the Haitian Revolution that began in August 1791.

Born in San Domingo and educated in Bordeaux, Ogé was a merchant and trader who became a leading figure of the Parisian Société des Amis des Noirs (Society of the Friends of the Blacks), which had been established in 1788 by Jacques Pierre Brissot. Ogé worked to petition the French National Assembly to compel the colonial rulers of San Domingo to enfranchise free men of colour. Frustrated in his efforts by the intransigence of the San Domingan Provincial Assembly, he determined to return to the island to secure his political right to vote. With the help and support of the British abolitionist Thomas Clarkson, Ogé arrived in San Domingo in October 1790 and gathered an armed force of around three hundred free men of colour. After some initial successes against the colonial militia, Ogé and his men were eventually overwhelmed. On 20 November 1790 he was captured. He was brutally executed on 6 February 1791 by being broken on the wheel in the main square in Le Cap. Consequently, he became a symbol of the inhumanity of colonial slavery and his death worked to foment the revolution that broke out later in the year.

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