( The Root ) -- The Haitian Revolution lasted 13 years before the nation, known then as Saint-Domingue, gained independence from France and became the world's first free black republic. It actually took two declarations to achieve that historic marker: Toussaint L'Ouverture led the island slave revolt to a short-lived victory over British and Spanish colonizers in 1801. By 1804 Jean-Jacques Dessalines had succeeded him and defeated French forces; he was the country's first president.
For years, many in Hollywood have tried to make a dramatized version of the revolution and its iconic leader, L'Ouverture. None succeeded until Toussaint, a two-part television series that averaged 3 million viewers when it aired in February on the French network France 2. Directed by Philippe Niang, produced by Eloa Prod and starring Jimmy Jean-Louis as the title character, the film was shot in France and Martinique.
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