According to various accounts, Toussaint was freed from slavery shortly before the 1791 uprising in Saint Domingue, which had become a volatile colony. Inspired by the French revolution, citizens of Saint Domingue wanted the same opportunity to impact their independence from the French, more so plantation slaves wanted to be treated as equal. Toussaint was almost 50 when the uprising began, his first move was to help his mater escape the slaughter.
Following this Toussaint joined, Georges Biassou an early leader and general of the slave rebels and fought alongside the Spanish against the French forces. He served with Distinction in the Spanish colonial army. Toussaint took part in campaigns against the French in eastern Hispaniola. Before long Toussaint changed his name to Toussaint L’Ouverture meaning ‘opening’ in French.
By late 1793, the British occupied all of Haiti’s coastal cities and had allied themselves with the Spanish in the Eastern part of the island. As a result, Toussaint abandoned his Spanish allies and helped the French against the besieging British forces. Under pressure from the masses and largely due to the leadership of Toussaint L’Ouverture, France ended slavery in 1794. Following this, Toussaint L’Ouverture’s focus remained on restoring order in Saint Domingue.