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Solitude of Guadeloupe (c. 1772 – 1802)

Updated: Jan 17

The Pregnant Rebel

Solitude of Guadeloupe aka La Mulâtresse Solitude was a heroine in the fight against slavery on Guadeloupe. Solitude was born in Guadeloupe about 1772. Her mother was kidnapped from Africa and transported to the West Indies as part of the trans atlantic slave trade. Enroute to Guadeloupe Solitude's mother was raped by her captors and became pregnant with Solitude. Because of this Solitude was labeled La Mulâtresse - The Mulatto.

In 1635, after defeating the islands indigenous Caribs, the French colonized the Guadeloupe and established a slave society. In 1794, after the French Revolution, the "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen" abolished slavery on the colony. This freedom did not last long and as Napoleon Bonaparte came into power he quicky reinstated it. Having known freedom, the men and women of Guadeloupe refused to be enslaved again and thus started a revolution against Napoleon's French Army.

In 1802, while 8 months pregnant, Solitude joined the insurrection. She took part in the uprisings against the reinstatement of Lacrosse, who had been appointed Captain General of Guadeloupe by Napoleon. She survived the battle of 1802 but was captured and imprisoned along with thousands of other insurgents. Between May to December of 1802 3,000 died and over 2,000 were sent to France or Venezuela. Solitude was sentenced to death, but because she was pregnant, authorities kept her imprisoned until giving birth, assuming ownership of her child to be enslaved. On November 29, 1802, one day after giving birth, Solitude was tortured and put to death. Her death marked the end of the resistance and any dissidents remaining were enslaved once again.

Solitude's legacy became a symbol of resistance and epitomizes the courage of Caribbean women and mothers who fought for equality and freedom from enslavement.

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