Jean-Jacques Dessalines (Haitian Creole: Janjak Desalin) (20 September 1758 – 17 October 1806) was a leader of the Haitian Revolution and the first ruler of an independent Haiti under the 1801 constitution. Initially regarded as governor-general, Dessalines later named himself Emperor Jacques I of Haiti (1804–1806). He is regarded as a founding father of Haiti.
Dessalines served as an officer in the French army when the colony was trying to withstand Spanish and British incursions. After the betrayal and capture of Toussaint Louverture in 1802, Dessalines became the leader of the revolution. He defeated a French army at the Battle of Vertieres in 1803. Declaring Haiti an independent nation in 1804, Dessalines was chosen by a council of generals to assume the office of governor-general. In September 1804, he proclaimed himself emperor and ruled in that capacity until being assassinated in 1806.
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