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DavidV

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Reply with quote  #1 
[12998_750097351686252_1187878957_n] 
Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Emperor Jacques I of Haiti (1804-06)

[1509165_767447373284583_1652532235_n] 
Henri Christophe, King Henri I of Haiti (1811-20)

[1510821_756076941088293_456457995_n] 
Faustin-Elie Soulouque, Emperor Faustin I of Haiti (1849-59)

Haiti is noted among monarchists as one of three countries in the Western Hemisphere to have sovereign home-grown monarchies which emerged after 1492 (unless one counts the Mosquito Coast protectorate), the others being Brazil and Mexico. Like Mexico, none of its dynasties actually managed to perpetuate itself in succession, but unlike Brazil and Mexico, finding potential claimants has been very difficult.

The Haitian Revolution is the subject much scholarly research as the most successful slave rebellion in history, creating the first independent "black" state in the Western Hemisphere as a result. It began with the onset of the French Revolution and took on a life of its own. Haitian society comprised white planters, mulatto gens de couleur (who were freedmen), and black slaves. The Haitian Revolution drove out nearly all of the white planter class, save a few (and European and Middle Eastern immigrants did contribute to Haiti's gene pool in later decades), whilst some of Napoleon's Polish Legion who were sent to suppress the rebellion switched sides and stayed, and their descendants are still there today.

Thus Haitian national identity, including its culture of fused French and African elements and Haitian Creole language (Louisiana Creole is similar), is rooted in this rebellion and the pride it takes in the success of it. But what has there been to celebrate in a country which has been one of the poorest and worst-governed in the Americas? Which has been under some form of dictatorship for much of its history, a caricature of Latin American caudillismo? Critics also observed that the economic system the ex-slaves set up was barely less oppressive and exploitative than the slave-based economy they toiled in. Thus is also the case with Liberia, established by American freedmen, forming settler elite as exclusionary as the white settlers of South Africa and Rhodesia, ruling as such until 1980.

Haiti attained independence as a monarchy, the first of the three post-1492 home-grown sovereign monarchies, for Dessalines was crowned as Emperor Jacques I, in fact two months before the coronation of Napoleon I. He was not able to keep a lid on things, not least the difficult task of rebuilding a shattered economy, and soon began the vicious cycle of internecine conflict in which the Emperor would be assassinated in 1806.

The two rivals competing for power were Henri Christophe and Alexander Petion. Petion represented the Mulatto elites, and Christophe the black elites. Ideologically, Petion was a liberal whereas Christophe had reactionary tendencies, which shaped their respective states. Haiti was divided between the two presidents, Petion in the south and Christophe in the north.

In 1811, Henri Christophe transformed his state into the Kingdom of Haiti and was crowned as Henri I. An Anglophile who admired British educational and political institutions, Henri's reign might well have been the most promising and progressive of any ruler in Haiti's history. While he was mocked as a "tin pot" ruler in some quarters, he was sincerely devoted to advancing his kingdom. He put emphasis on economic reconstruction, allowing British and American merchants to do business in his realm, while British teachers were invited to advance education. He created a native nobility, some of whom would play an important role in the life of the country long after his kingdom collapsed.

Henri I sought an alliance with Britain and cultivated an friendship with the abolitionist Thomas Clarkson which can be described here:
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=iPHJxBCjqUgC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
http://scholarworks.uno.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2714&context=td

France had not accepted the independence of Haiti and desired to reclaim it, which prompted Henri I especially after the Congress of Vienna to seek European allies. In fact, even Emperor Alexander I of Russia, after a conversation with Clarkson, was impressed with the progress Haiti had made:

Quote:
To see, said his Imperial Majesty, a person rising up in the midst of slavery and founding a free Empire was of itself a surprising thing, but to see him, in the midst of ignorance and darkness, founding it on the pillars of education under Christian auspices was more surprising and truly delightful.


Yet it came to an end when Henri, facing a mutiny, committed suicide in 1820 and his heir was killed shortly after. Thus Haiti was reunited under the republican rule of Petion's successor, Jean Pierre Boyer, as President for Life. Petion's alleged liberalism may have had good intentions but in comparison to Henri's paternalistic and progressive autocracy, had left southern Haiti in a dreadful state of neglect in comparison - which Boyer did little to improve upon. It remains a mystery as to how would Haiti have progressed under Henri Christophe's monarchical rule.

After Boyer was overthrown in 1843, a succession of short-lived presidents, some from Henri's nobility, served as puppets for the mulatto elite. Eventually they settled in 1847 on Faustin-Elie Soulouque, who though not part of that nobility, would then proceed to make himself Emperor Faustin I in 1849. Like Henri, Faustin created his own nobility and stabilised the country internally, although it appears he had less success in advancing the country in comparison. Once more, Haiti's vicious cycle of short, medium or long-term presidents in less-than-smooth succession followed until American occupation in 1915-34.

Perhaps because of this, Henri's Kingdom of Haiti demands a reappraisal as a missed opportunity for Haiti. He had the noblest of intentions, to win respect for Haiti among the ranks of civilised nations of the world, a sense of equality if you insist. He believed that his paternalistic methods were the best way to advance his subjects, as well as making Haiti a valuable ally to the Great Powers. Given time, he might just have succeeded.
Elizabelo_II

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Reply with quote  #2 
From the little I've managed to find on this subject, a continuation of the Kingdom of Haiti would have been interesting, and might have provided some much needed stability to the nation. Not so sure about Dessalines or Soulouque.
DavidV

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Reply with quote  #3 
Dessalines' biggest failing was that he defined himself by racial retribution, i.e. driving "white" influence out of Haiti, yet consciously imitating "white" institutions, perhaps to signify a commitment to "equality". Yet his consort, Empress Marie-Claire, was a woman of compassion who disagreed with her husband's racial attitudes. The Emperor thus was criticised as a despot yet also revered as a national hero and founding father. This sort of revanchism was no vision for running a newly free country.

Henri Christophe was not like that. He was far more conciliatory, saw the need for friendships with European nations and the USA to preserve his small kingdom's sovereignty, and his ideas was perhaps an early manifestation of developmentalism and corporatism, a sort of progressive paternalism as he was reputedly a very hands-on ruler. There was a much greater concentration of land ownership, especially by the state, but it was put to good use especially in the field of sugar production. Haiti produces high quality rum. Henri recognised he needed "white" capital and expertise to enable the development of the country. Whereas Dessalines proclaimed religious liberty, Christophe re-established Catholicism (although considered, under British influence, changing religion).

By contrast, the idealistic liberalism of Petion proved nothing of the sort. Haiti's intellectual elites in the 19th century imported various European ideas both left-wing and right-wing, without necessarily implementing them. While liberal ideas were popular among mulatto elites, they never actually practised it. So under Petion the idea of democracy was never implemented and he became President for Life. His egalitarian land policies had the idea of making peasants own all their land, but this also had the unintended consequence of reducing productivity - the south became a subsistence economy, although quality coffee came to be grown there is it still is today. Petion also supported Latin American revolutionaries.

None of this changed under Boyer, who also made a settlement to recompense former slave owners with France driving Haiti deep into debt. He took control of the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo, uniting all Hispanola under his rule, but after his overthrow the Dominicans rebelled and the Dominican Republic was formed. This explains the ill-feeling between the two countries which persists today. So Boyer's overthrow was followed by elite mulattoes scrambling for a suitable replacement.

Just as Dessalines had beaten Napoleon to coronation, so Soulouque beat Napoleon III to coronation in 1852, three years after proclaiming himself Emperor of Haiti. Whereas the mulatto elites had dominated Haiti for three decades, and had put Soulouque in power, the new Emperor turned the tables on them. An important aspect of his reign was granting voodoo equal status to Catholicism, which sat unfavourably with Rome. This is somewhat reminiscent of the Duvalier regime's use of voodoo during its reign of terror. Faustin I also tried to retake the Dominican Republic, but repeated failures contributed in part to his downfall.
Elizabelo_II

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Reply with quote  #4 
I did read some remarks about how Sylvain Salnave supposedly proclaimed himself Emperor in 1868, is there any evidence to that ?
DavidV

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Reply with quote  #5 
It's been said that he intended to but if he did so, it was never put into effect or rather he was deposed as President before he had the chance.
Elizabelo_II

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidV
It's been said that he intended to but if he did so, it was never put into effect or rather he was deposed as President before he had the chance.


The royal ark has has that up there for years now, even though the author acknowledged the general confusion and lack of evidence beyond Haydn's Dictionary of Dates and "other sources".
DavidV

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Reply with quote  #7 
Henri Christophe also admired both Frederick the Great and George III. He also named his palace Sans Souci Palace.
Ethiomonarchist

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Reply with quote  #8 
I believe Michele Duvalier (ex-wife of Dictator "Baby Doc" Jean Claude Duvalier) is a descendant of Henri Christophe through her father Ernest Bennett. Her maternal uncle Monsignor François-Wolff Ligondé was the Archbishop of Porte Au Prince, and Primate of Haiti. Her devout Roman Catholic mulatto family were wealthy land owners, and considered the creme of Haitian aristocracy, while the Duvaliers represented the black voodoo associated underclass that regarded people like the Bennets and Ligondés as oppressors.  Francois (Papa Doc) Duvalier rose to power on an anti-mulatto platform.  This was underlined by the deep animosity between Michele Duvalier and her mother-in-law Simone (the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy mulatto and his maid who was abandoned and raised in an orphanage), and the fracturing of the Duvalierist movement between the old guard and the new as a weak Jean Claude was tugged in different directions by his overbearing and powerful mother and wife.  Michele's royal tastes which included lavish jewels and costume balls in the Palace reminiscent of the era of 18th century Europe earned her a reputation for corruption and ostentation eagerly encouraged by the outwardly frugal but equally imperious Simone.  There is a story that in order to drive her mother-in-law out of the Presidential Palace, Michele trained a pet parrot to continually repeat obscene phrases, and had the parrot placed  in a cage outside Simone's bedroom window.

[178_Michelle_Bennett-1a]
Michele Bennett Duvalier, descendant of King Henri I Christophe

[178_Contest-Papa_Doc-Simone]
Simone Ovide Duvalier, wife of Francois Duvalier and mother of Jean Claude Duvalier.

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Ethiopia stretches her hands unto God (Quote from Psalm 68 which served as the Imperial Motto of the Ethiopian Empire)

"God and history shall remember your judgment." (Quote from Emperor Haile Selassie I's speech to the League of Nations to plead for assistance against the Italian Invasion, 1936.)
DavidV

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Reply with quote  #9 
It seems to me that possible claimants to a Haitian throne have emerged:
https://www.facebook.com/FondComteJeanBaptisteDeLeogane
http://www.vivailre.it/casa-imperiale-legittima-e-sovrana-di-faustin-i-ultimo-imperatore-di-haiti/
http://www.vivailre.it/i-diritti-del-principe-thierry-soulouque-pretendente-di-haiti/
http://www.hchristophefoundation.org/
Spongie555

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Reply with quote  #10 


Is their any evidence they are related to any of the Haitian monarchs? While I would love to see a Haitian pretender I am weary of random internet people

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"Throughout my reign I will never rule you as a King. I will protect you as a parent, care for you as a brother and serve you as a son. I shall give you everything and keep nothing; I shall live such a life as a good human being that you may find it worthy to serve as an example for your children; I have no personal goals other than to fulfill your hopes and aspirations. I shall always serve you, day and night, in the spirit of kindness, justice and equality."

- His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck Coronation Address to the Nation, 6 November 2008
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