DNA evidence has proved that Jefferson (in a portrait above) fathered at least one child of his slaves Sally Hemings
Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13 1743 at the Shadwell plantation outside of Charlottesville in Virginia.
He was the third of 10 children to one of the most prominent families of Virginia's planter elite.
Throughout Jefferson's life he was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect and philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president between 1801 and 1809.
In his presidency he stabilised the country's economy and defeated pirates from North Africa during the Barbary War.
He is also credited for doubling the size of the US by successfully brokering the Louisiana Purchase.
Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, motivating American colonists to break from Great Britain and form a new nation.
Congress formally adopted the Declaration on July 4 1776, now celebrated as Independence Day.
The Declaration famously reads: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.'
But despite this, Jefferson is known to have kept more than 600 slaves throughout his life.
He had said slavery was a 'moral depravity' and a 'hideous blot', yet Jefferson profited directly from it.
Jefferson even wrote in his text Notes on the State of Virginia that he suspected black people were inferior to white people.
He thought that white Americans and enslaved blacks constituted two 'separate nations' who could not live together peacefully in the same country.
Through his 1772 marriage to Martha Wayles, Jefferson inherited two plantations and by 1776 was one of the largest planters in Virginia.
Although Jefferson believed