Henry Christophe was a key leader in the Haitian Revolution and the only monarch of the Kingdom of Haiti. Christophe was a former slave of Bambara ethnicity in West Africa, of Igbo descent. Beginning with the Slave Uprising of 1791, he rose to power in the ranks of the Haitian revolutionary military; the revolution succeeded in gaining independence from France in 1804. In 1805 he took part under Jean-Jacques Dessalines in the capturing of Santo Domingo, against French forces who acquired the colony from Spain in the Treaty of Basel. After Dessalines was assassinated, Christophe retreated to the Plaine-du-Nord and created a separate government. On 17 February 1807, he was elected President of the State of Haiti. Alexandre Pétion was elected president in the South. On 26 March 1811, Christophe created a kingdom in the North and was proclaimed Henry I, King of Haïti, he created a nobility and named his legitimate son Jacques-Victor Henry as prince and heir. He is known for constructing Citadel Henry, now known as Citadelle Laferrière, the Sans-Souci Palace, numerous other palaces.
Under his policies of corvée, or forced labor, the Kingdom earned revenues from agricultural production sugar. He reached agreement with Great Britain to respect its Caribbean colonies in exchange for their warnings to his government of any French navy activity threatening Haiti. Unpopular and fearing a coup, he committed suicide, his son and heir was assassinated 10 days later. The general Jean-Pierre Boyer reunited the two parts of Haiti. Claims about Henri Christophe's place of birth and life before coming to prominence have been contested since the early nineteenth century. Born Christophe Henry in Grenada but St Kitts the son of a slave mother and Christophe, a freeman, he was brought as a slave to the northern part of Saint-Domingue. In 1779 he may have served with the French forces as a drummer boy in the Chasseurs-Volontaires de Saint-Domingue, a regiment composed of gens de couleur, they fought at the Siege of a battle during the American Revolutionary War. It is claimed; as an adult, Christophe may have worked as a mason, stable hand, waiter, or billiard maker.
One popular story claims that he worked in and managed La Couronne, a hotel restaurant in Cap-Français, the first capital of the French colony of Saint-Domingue and a major colonial city. There, the legend goes, he became skilled at dealing with the grand blancs, as the wealthy white French planters were called. However, none of the hotel's sales records support this claim, he was said to have gained his freedom from slavery as a young man, before the Slave Uprising of 1791. Sometime after he had settled in Haiti, he brought his sister Marie there; the political skills he learned as a hotelier served him well when he became an officer in the military and leader in the country. Beginning with the slave uprising of 1791, Christophe distinguished himself as a soldier in the Haitian Revolution and rose to be a colonel during the revolutionary years, he fought for years with Toussaint Louverture in the North, helping to defeat the French colonists, the Spanish and French national troops, becoming commander-in-chief at Cap-Français.
By 1802 Louverture had promoted him to general. The French deported Toussaint Louverture to France, brought in more than 20,000 new troops under the Vicomte de Rochambeau in an effort to regain control of the colony and re-establish slavery. Jean Jacques Dessalines led the fight to defeat French forces; the French withdrew their 7,000 surviving troops in late 1803. As leader, Dessalines declared the independence of Saint-Domingue with its new name of Haïti in 1804. Christophe was in charge of the Northern division of the country, where he notably supervised the first steps of the construction of Citadelle Laferrière. In 1805, General Nicolas Geffrard, commander in the South, approached Christophe with a plot to kill Dessalines. Christophe's influence and power in the North was such that Dessalines, though aware of opposition brewing against him in the highest circles of power, found himself unable to strike against his general; the conspiracy involved the majority of Dessalines' senior officers, including Dessalines' Minister of War and Navy Etienne Elie Gérin, General Alexandre Pétion, commander-in-chief of the second division in the West, General Nicolas Geffrard and many others.
On 16 October 1806, they signed a Proclamation entitled "Resistance to Oppression," that declared the necessity to overthrow Dessalines' government and proclaimed Christophe head of the provisional Haitian government. Dessalines was assassinated on 17 October 1806. In 1805 French troops were still posted on the eastern part of the island, where they were led by the French officer Marie-Louis Ferrand, he mobilized his troops and ordered them to seize all black children of both sexes below the age of 14 years to be sold as slaves. Learning of this action, Dessalines was outraged and decided to invade Santo Domingo, with his forces looting several towns, such as Azua and Moca, laying siege to the city of Santo Domingo, the stronghold of the French; the Haitian general Henry Christophe, under Dessalines, attacked the town
Michel Domingue was the President of Haiti from June 14, 1874 to April 15, 1876. Michel Domingue was born in Les Cayes in 1813, he became commander of army units in Sud. From May 8, 1868 to December 1869, he was president of the autonomous states of the south of Haiti. On June 11, 1874, General Domingue was elected for a term of eight years as president of Haiti. Domingue, a soldier, had neither the stature nor the tact of a statesman, he therefore issued a decree on September 10, 1874 appointing Septimus Rameau to manage public functions as the Vice-President of the Council of Secretaries of State. Septimus Rameau thus became the true ruler of Haiti. Rameau was domineering by nature, while Michel Domingue was more of a figurehead. One of Domingue's first acts after his election to the presidency was the signing of an agreement with the Dominican Republic; the agreement established the countries' mutual recognition and in particular an end to the long and bloody border war between them. Septimus Rameau led negotiations with the President of the Dominican Republic Ignacio María González.
The Chief of Staff of President Domingue, General N. Léger, was sent to Santo Domingo to prepare a new agreement. Upon his return to Port-au-Prince on November 9, 1874, he was accompanied by Dominican negotiators to seal a treaty of friendship and an accord on trade and navigation. Haiti recognized and accepted the full independence of the Dominican Republic, on January 20, 1875 the treaty of friendship was signed between the two countries. Despite this success in international politics, Haiti's domestic financial situation was devastating. Domingue tried to negotiate a loan with France. Corruption and fraud were so great that Domingue issued a decree, dated May 15, 1875, for the arrest of Generals Brice and Pierre Monplaisir Pierre, his political opponent Pierre Théoma Boisrond-Canal criticized the loan. He took refuge at the embassy of the United States. Brice and Pierre Monplaisir Pierre were killed while other opponents fled abroad. Septimus Rameau was accused of being responsible for the deaths of the two generals.
He was himself assassinated on a street in Port-au-Prince. Domingue resigned on April 15, 1876 and went into exile in Kingston, where he died a year later. Domingue's surviving family still resides in Haiti and the United States, though their last name has changed. Michel Domingue
Louis Eugène Roy
Louis Eugène Roy was a prominent mulatto Haitian banker selected by U. S. General John H. Russell, Jr. the American High Commissioner to Haïti, to serve as that country's interim president following the resignation of Louis Borno. Roy served from 15 May to 18 November 1930, during which time his major duty was to oversee elections to the new National Assembly; when the Assembly selected Sténio Vincent as president, Roy stepped down
François Denys Légitime
François Denys Légitime was a Haitian general who served as President of Haiti from 1888 to 1889. Légitime was born in Jérémie, Haiti, on 20 November 1841 to Tinette Lespérance. Légitime married Rose-Marie Isaure Marion and had nine children: Cuvier, Angèle, Denis Jr. Léon, Clemence and Agnès, he served as adjutant general during the government of Fabre Geffrard, as aide-de-camp during the government of Sylvain Salnave. He was Secretary of State of the Interior and Secretary of State of the Interior and of Agriculture during the government of Lysius Salomon. During this administration, Légitime was accused of aspiring to the presidency, accordingly went to Kingston, remaining three years, he returned to Haiti at the invitation of his followers, on October 7, 1888 was elected president of the provisional government. General Seide Thelemaque denounced the election as fraudulent and attempted to make himself President, but he was killed in the battle which ensued. Légitime was elected President of Haiti on December 16, 1888, but resigned in 1889, owing to the opposition of General Florvil Hyppolite, again retired to Jamaica.
In 1896 President Tiresias Simon Sam granted a general amnesty, Légitime returned to Haiti. He died on July 1935 in Port-au-Prince. Dumas, Pierre-Raymond. François Denys Légitime: un réformiste résolu, le général, président, auteur. Port-au-Prince: Imprimeur II. ISBN 978-99935-724-5-9. Histoire du gouvernement du général Légitime, président de la République d'Haiti. Paris: E. Leroux. OCLC 7076062. Les États-Unis et le gouvernement du Gén. F. D. Légitime. New York: N. Thompson & acie. OCLC 26039179. Roche-Grellier. Quatre mois de ministère sous le gouvernement du général Légitime. Paris: A. Davy. OCLC 504411974, 24917925, 458083786. Trouillot, Hénock. Démesvar Délorme: suivi de la pensée de François Dénis Légitime. Port-au-Prince: Ateliers Fardin. OCLC 17059297, 84303910. Works by or about François Denys Légitime at Internet Archive
Jean-Louis Michel Pierrot was a career officer general in the Haitian Army who served as President of Haiti from April 16, 1845 to March 1, 1846. During the Haitian Revolution Pierrot led a black battalion at the Battle of Vertieres in 1803. During the period of the Haitian Kingdom, Henri Christophe promoted Pierrot to the rank of Lieutenant General in the Army and granted him the hereditary title of Prince. Pierrot was elected president of Haiti by the Council of State on April 16, 1845, the day after the death of Philippe Guerrier; as President of Haiti, he was intended to be a figurehead for the mulatto ruling class. Pierrot's most pressing duty as the new president was to check the incursions of the Dominicans, who were harassing the Haitian troops along the borders. Dominican boats were making depredations on Haiti's coasts. President Pierrot decided to open a campaign against the Dominicans, whom he considered as insurgents. Haitians, were not inclined to go to war with their neighbors, were unwilling to support the President's views.
Furthermore, Pierrot had displeased the army by conferring military rank on the leaders of the peasants of the Sud department and on many of their followers. In addition, the inhabitants of the towns of this department felt uneasy regarding the tendencies of Pierrot, who had appointed Jean-Jacques Acaau, the former terrorist of Cayes, as Commandant of the Anse-à-Veau Arrondissement. Fearing a peasant revolt, the townsmen decided to divest Pierrot of his office. In consequence, on March 1, 1846, General Jean-Baptiste Riché was proclaimed President of the Republic at Port-au-Prince. On that same day, Pierrot resigned and retired to his plantation called Camp-Louise, where he led a quiet and peaceful life. Pierrot died on February 18, 1857. Pierrot's daughter, Marie Louise Amélia Célestine, in 1845 married Lieutenant-General Pierre Nord Alexis, a provincial governor under Emperor Faustin I, who became Haitian Minister for War from 1867 to 1869 and president of Haiti from 1902 to 1908. Media related to Jean-Louis Pierrot at Wikimedia Commons
Antoine Louis Léocardie Élie Lescot was the President of Haiti from May 15, 1941 to January 11, 1946. He was a member of the country's mixed-race elite, he used the political climate of World War II to sustain his power and ties to the United States, Haiti's powerful northern neighbor. His administration presided over a period of economic downturn and harsh political repression of dissidents. Lescot was born in Saint-Louis-du-Nord to a middle-class mixed-race family, descended from free persons of color in the colonial era, he traveled to Port-au-Prince to study pharmacy after completing his secondary education in Cap-Haïtien. He settled in Port-de-Paix to work in the export-import business. After his first wife died in 1911, Lescot entered politics, he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies two years later. After a four-year stay in France during the United States occupation of Haiti, he returned and held posts in the Louis Borno and Sténio Vincent administrations. Four years he was named ambassador to the neighboring Dominican Republic, where he forged an alliance with President Rafael Trujillo.
He moved to Washington, D. C. after being appointed as ambassador to the United States. His close political and economic ties to the United States helped lay the groundwork for his ascendancy to Haiti's presidency, he received the State Department's tacit backing for his campaign to succeed Sténio Vincent in 1941. Prominent members of the Chamber of Deputies opposed his candidacy, arguing Haiti needed a black president from a majority African ancestry. Taking the advantage of Trujillo's influence, Lescot was said to buy his way into power, he won 56 out of 58 votes cast by legislators. Deputy Max Hudicourt claimed the margin of victory was due to intimidation and beatings of legislators. Lescot moved to consolidate his control over the state apparatus, naming himself head of the Military Guard and appointing a clique of white and mixed-race members of the elite to major government posts, including his own sons; this action earned him great disdain among Haiti's large majority of ethnic Africans.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Lescot declared war on the Axis Powers and pledged all necessary support to the Allied war effort. His government offered refuge to European Jews on Haitian soil in cooperation with Trujillo. In 1942 Lescot claimed the war required the suspension of the constitution and had the parliament give him unlimited executive powers. Political opponents were subject to physical surveillance by security forces; as an Axis blockade cut off rubber supplies from the East, Lescot's administration began an ambitious program, in cooperation with the United States, to expand wartime production of rubber in the Haitian countryside. The Export-Import Bank in Washington granted $5 million in 1941 for the development of rubber plants in Haiti; the program was called the Société Haïtiano-Américane de Développement Agricole and managed by American agronomist Thomas Fennell. SHADA began production in 1941 with the provision of ample military support per contract with the US government.
By 1943, an estimated 47,177 acres were cleared for the planting of cryptostegia vine, considered to yield high amounts of latex. The program claimed over 100,000 hectares of land. Farmers in Haiti's northern countryside were lured from food crop cultivation to meet increasing demand for rubber. Lescot energetically campaigned on SHADA's behalf, arguing the program would modernize Haitian agriculture; the United States promoted the project with a robust public relations campaign. Peasant families were forcibly removed from Haiti's most arable tracts of land. After nearly a million fruit-bearing trees in Jérémie were cut down and peasant houses invaded or razed, the Haitian Minister of Agriculture, Maurice Dartigue, wrote to Fennell asking him to respect "the mentality and legitimate interests of the Haitian peasant and city-dwellers." But yields did not meet expectations, insufficient amounts of rubber were produced to generate significant exports. Droughts contributed to poor harvests. "The worst thing that can be said of SHADA is that they are doing at considerable expense to the American taxpayer and in a manner that does not command the respect of the Haitian people", concluded a survey by the US military.
The US government offered $175,000 as compensation to displaced peasants after recommending the program's cancellation. Lescot feared SHADA's termination would add the burden of higher unemployment to a sinking economy and hurt his public image, he asked the Rubber Development Corporation to extend its closing of the program until the end of the war, but was refused. With his government near bankruptcy and struggling with a flagging economy, Lescot pleaded unsuccessfully with the United States for an extension on debt repayments. Relations between Lescot and Trujillo in the Dominican Republic broke down. In Haiti he expanded the corps of the Military Guard, including a core of light-skinned commanding officers. A system of rural police chiefs, known as chefs de section, ruled by intimidation. In 1944 low-ranking black soldiers plotting rebellion were caught, seven of them were executed without court-martial; that same year Lescot extended his presidential term from five years to seven. By 1946, his attempts to muzzle the opposition press sparked fierce student demonstrations.
Black-empowerment noirists and populist leaders joined forces in opposition. Crowds protested outside the National Palace, workers went on strike, the homes of authorities were ransacked. Lescot's mulatto-dominated government was resented by Haiti's p
Guillaume Fabre Nicolas Geffrard was a mulatto general in the Haitian army and President of Haiti from 1859 until his deposition in 1867. After collaborating in a coup to remove Faustin Soulouque from power in order to return Haiti back to the social and political control of the colored elite, Geffrard was made president in 1859. To placate the peasants he renewed the practice of selling state-owned lands and ended a schism with the Roman Catholic Church which took on an important role in improving education. After surviving several rebellions, he was overthrown by Major Sylvain Salnave in 1867, his first act as president was to cut the army in half from 30,000 to 15,000. He formed his own presidential guards called Les Tirailleurs de la Garde, who were trained under him personally. In June 1859, Geffrard founded the National Law School and reinstituted the Medical School that Boyer began, his ministers of Education, Jean Simon Elie-Dubois and François Elie-Dubois and established many lycea in Jacmel, Jérémie, Saint-Marc, Gonaïves.
On October 10, 1863, he reintroduced the colonial law that required roads to be built and maintained. He revived the policy of former rulers Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Alexandre Pétion and Jean-Pierre Boyer of recruiting African Americans to settle in Haiti. In May 1861, a group of African Americans led by James Theodore Holly settled east of Croix-des-Bouquets. However, by 1862, Geffrard began to examine the constitution and eliminated the legislature to his own benefit, he first gave himself a raise, 2 plantations, paid for his personal luxuries with hospital funds and army funds. In 1863, he reformed the monetary system to that of the present day. Geffrard was a Catholic, he gave orders to demolish altars and any other instruments used in ceremonies. In 1863, a six-year-old girl was killed by Voodoo practitioners in a gruesome fashion. Geffrard ordered a public execution was held; this case became the famous Affaire de Bizoton, featured in a British minister's best-selling book. In 1859, Geffrard made the first attempt in negotiating with the Dominican Republic under the regime of Pedro Santana.
In March 1861, Pedro gave his country back to Queen Isabella II of Spain, thus making Haitian officials nervous about having a European power back on their borders. In May of that year, guerilla war broke out in Santo Domingo against Spain. Geffrard sent his personal guards and men to help out the rebels against Spanish troops, but in July 1861, Spain gave Haiti an ultimatum for participating and supporting the Dominican rebels. In the end, Geffrard agreed to surrender to Spanish demands and dropped all intervention within Spanish territory in the east; this episode left many Haitians humiliated and angry at Geffrard because he backed down to a European nation while Faustin Soulouque would have never accepted it. Geffrard, like many Haitians, supported the abolitionist movement in the United States and held a state funeral for the abolitionist John Brown, hanged for leading an armed insurrection against the United States government in 1859. With the secession of the slave-owning Southern states in the American Civil War, Haiti was granted diplomatic recognition by the United States.
During the war and British colonial officials in Cuba, the Bahamas and neighboring Santo Domingo sided with the Confederacy, harboring Confederate commerce-raiders and blockade-runners. By contrast, Haiti was the one part of the Caribbean where the United States Navy was welcome, Cap-Haïtien served as the headquarters of its West Indian Squadron, which helped maintain the Union blockade in the Florida Straits. Haiti took advantage of the war to become a major exporter of cotton to the United States, Geffrard imported gins and technicians to increase production. However, the crops failed in 1865 and 1866, by that point the United States was again exporting cotton. By the eighth month of Geffrard's presidency, Faustin Soulouque's minister of interior, Guerrier Prophète, began to lay out his plan to overthrow Geffrard. For Geffrard, his plan was picked up by Geffrard's guards and Prophète was exiled. In September 1859, Geffrard's daughter Madame Cora Manneville-Blanfort was assassinated by Timoleon Vanon.
In 1861, General Legros tried to take over the weaponry storage but was detained by government forces. In 1862, Etienne Salomon tried to rally the rural community to revolt against Geffrard, but was instead shot and killed. In 1863, Aimé Legros gathered troops to overthrow Geffrard, but his troops betrayed him, he was shot. In 1864, the elite community in Port-au-Prince tried to take over the weaponry storage, but the conspirators were prosecuted and sentenced to jail. In 1867, Geffrard's bodyguards, betrayed him and tried to assassinate him inside the national palace. In 1865, Major Sylvain Salnave began his takeover of the Artibonite part of Haiti. By May 15, both Geffrard and his government troops clashed with Salnave Northern troops. After using the Royal Navy for gunboat diplomacy with Salnave, the Geffrard regime was in ruins financially, he re-opened old wounds between North and South Haitians and brought foreigners into domestic affairs. In 1866, a huge fire engulfed hundreds of businesses.
In March 1867, Geffrard and his family disguised themselves and fled to Jamaica, where he died in Kingston in 1878