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Henri Christophe: The Master Builder

Born in the Island of Grenada in 1767, Henri Christophe was brought to Saint-Domingue (Haiti) as a slave. In 1779 he served with the Chasseurs-Volontaires in the Siege of Savannah for American Independence. Upon his return to Haiti, he joined the army ranks of Toussaint Louverture.

 

Signatory of the Act of Independence, he was named President after Dessalines' death in 1806, but refused the position and was discharged by the Senate. Having taken up position in Cap-Haitien, he made the State of the North a kingdom in 1807, was voted President and then became King in 1811.

 

With the country split in two, Henri Christophe led its Northen part with an iron fist and assured its prosperity.

Henri Christophe's Monument in Port-au-Prince

Henri built for himself 6 châteaux, 8 palaces and the massive Citadelle Laferrière, still considered one of the wonders of the age. He supported himself with a fabricated nobility consisting of 4 princes, 8 dukes, 22 counts, 37 barons & 14 knights.

 

Despite his efforts to promote education and establish a legal system, the Code Henri , King Henri was an unpopular autocratic monarch, whose realm was in a constant state of conflict with the south.

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The citadelle fortress designed by king Henri Christophe

Toward the end of his reign, public sentiment was sharply against what was perceived to be his feudal policies, intended to develop the country.

 

Last update 12/06/12

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