King Henri Christophe of Haïti

Died aged c. 53

Henri Christophe (French pronunciation: ​[ɑ̃ʁi kʁistɔf]; 6 October 1767 – 8 October 1820; used the anglicized version of Henry Christopher) was a former slave of Bambara ethnicity, and key leader in the Haitian Revolution, which succeeded in gaining independence from France in 1804. In 1805 he took part under Jean-Jacques Dessalines in the capturing of Santo Domingo (now Dominican Republic), 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, as he named that area. Alexandre Pétion was elected president in the South. On 26 March 1811, Christophe created a kingdom in the North and was later proclaimed Henry I, King of Haïti. He also 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, and numerous other palaces. Under his policies of corvée, or forced labor, the Kingdom earned revenues from agricultural production, primarily sugar; but the people resented the system. 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, ill and fearing a coup, he committed suicide. His son and heir was assassinated 10 days later. The general Jean-Pierre Boyer came to power and reunited the two parts of Haiti.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

Bâtisseur prodigieux de cette citadelle, Henri Christophe s'est suicidé au Palais de Sans-Souci, le 8 octobre 1820. La nuit même du décès son corps fût inhumé en secret dans l'enceinte du fort, où seule aujourd'hui la poussière impalpable de la dépouille tragique du monarque disparu, frôle invisiblement les murs - Mais c'est ici pourtant, que les filles et les fils de la terre d'Haïti viennent se recueillir, en quête d'un message d'unité historique de peuple et du choix d'un destin de libertés toujours nouvelles à conquérir.

English translation:

Citadelle La Ferrière, Dondon, Haiti where they built