Anniversary of the Death of Dessalines in Haiti Date in the current year: October 17, 2016

Anniversary of the Death of Dessalines in Haiti Anniversary of the Death of Dessalines is a public holiday in Haiti. This holiday is annually observed on October 17 to commemorate the death of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a former slave and a prominent figure in the fight of Haiti for independence from France.

Jean-Jacques Dessalines was born in Saint-Domingue (then Haiti) to the family of African slaves. Dessalines became a prominent person, when he headed the Haitian Revolution during the struggle of Haiti for independence from France. He was also a key figure in promulgation of the Declaration of Independence in 1804 and declared himself emperor of Haiti.

His rule lasted from September 2, 1804 to October 17, 1806, when he was assassinated in Port-au-Prince. His reign as an emperor was rather autocratic and featured massacres of French minorities and harsh regimen on plantation labor. Although slavery was abolished, many people felt as they were enslaved again.

Haitians mainly remember Dessalines rather for his achievements during the struggle for independence than for his reign. Annually the government of Haiti organizes street parades to observe the anniversary of Dessalines' assassination.

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