World History 1791

About the history of the world in 1791, revolution in Haiti, France adopts a constitutional monarchy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died.



Aug. 22 Stirred by French and American revolutionary rhetoric, 100,000 slaves revolted in Haiti, a French possession, and burned down 1,200 coffee and 200 sugar plantations. Toussaint L' Ouverture, an educated freed slave, became a military leader, taking the field first against France, then against Spain and England. His name, L'Ouverture ("the opening"), stemmed from the French governor's remark "This man finds an opening everywhere" (i.e., through enemy lines). When France proclaimed freedom for all slaves in 1793, Toussaint ruled Haiti in its name but was actually a dictator. An administrative as well as military genius, he fostered education, health, and justice among his people, winning the affection of blacks and whites alike.

Sept. 14 After almost two years of humiliating house arrest at the Tuileries and a frustrated escape attempt, Louis XVI signed the new constitution, coerced by the Assembly, who threatened to suspend his power. France became a constitutional monarchy.

Dec. 5 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 35, died of overwork, malnutrition, and possibly Bright's disease, falsely believing a rival composer was poisoning him. Addicted to gaming and extravagant living, he had squandered a large fortune. His wife arranged to have him buried as cheaply as possible. Because of a rainstorm, she did not attend his funeral, and his body was cast into a common grave with dozens of other paupers. When she tried to find it later, no one could tell her where it was. After 70 years the city of Vienna erected a fine monument to him on the probable burial site. His music marked a high point in Western civilization.

Dec. 15 The Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, was adopted to protect individual liberties from government encroachment.

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