Was Napoleon Bonaparte an enlightened leader or tyrant?

Repeating Islands

Bicentennial commemorations of Bonaparte’s death fuel debate about his legacy, France’s colonial past, and the leader’s ties to Haiti. “In the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, where commemoration events are planned, some see the French government’s bicentennial recognition as an affront— another example of a nation that prides itself as operating on a colorblind, egalitarian creed but acts with blinders on when it comes to slavery’s legacy.”Read full article by Jacqueline Charles, with photos by Sergio Ramazzotti, at National Geographic.

The year was 1802. France’s wealthiest colony, Saint-Domingue, on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola—today shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic—was in turmoil. As former slaves battled their French overlords, an alliance of Black and mixed-raced generals fought to restore order under the French flag.

Then came news from Guadeloupe, another French colony in the Caribbean. Freed Blacks who had rebelled against French troops trying to…

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