The Haitian Revolution (1791–1804) was a successful slave revolt against French Colonial powers. It established Haiti as the first republic ruled by blacks. At the time of the revolution, Haiti was known as Saint-Domingue and was a colony of France. Through the revolution, people of African ancestry freed themselves from French colonization and from slavery. Although hundreds of rebellions occurred during the slave era, only the revolt on Saint-Domingue, beginning in 1791, was successful.
Haiti was the first republic in modern history led by people of African descent. It went directly from being a French colony to governing itself. The pattern established under colonial rule had powerful and long-lasting effects, though, having established a model of minority rule over the illiterate poor using violence and threats. Colonialism and slavery were outlived by the racial prejudice that they had contributed to; the new post-rebellion racial elite (referred to as mulattoes) had African ancestry, but many were also of European ancestry as descendants of white planters. Some had received educations, served in the military, and accumulated land and wealth. Lighter-skinned than most Haitians, who were descendants mostly of former enslaved Africans, these mulattoes dominated politics and economics.