Faustin Soulouque

Posted by hougansydney.com on Wednesday, October 8, 2014

 Born in Petit Goave in 1782, Faustin was a general in the Haitian Army  when he was elected president in 1847.

At the age of 65, he seemed to be a malleable candidate and was subsequently enticed to accept the role offered to him by the Boyerist ruling class. At first Faustin seemed to fill the role of puppet very well. Many considered him dull and ignorant. As president, he retained the cabinet level ministers of the former president and even continued the programms of his predecessor. However, within a short period of time, he overthrew his backers and made himself absolute ruler of the new born state of Haiti. Soulouque continued to consolidate his power over the government. A process which culminated in the senate proclaiming him Emperor of Haiti on August 26th 1849. And eventually in a lavish ceremony, Faustin was crowned on on April 18th 1852 as Emperor Faustin I with the right to name is successor. He became one of Haiti strongest ruler. Like his predecessors, he vainly sought to subjugate the Dominican Republic , in 1849, 1850, 1855, 1856 each with the objective of seizing the eastern half of Hispaniola and annexing it to Haiti. All ended in defeat for the Haitian Army. He was so completely defeated in 1855, that he barely escaped capture.

During his reign, Faustin found himself in different confrontations with the USA over Navassa Island, which the US had seized on the somewhat dubious grounds that guano had been discovered there. Faustin dispatched warships to the island in response to the incursion, but after the US guaranty of a portion of the revenues of the mining operation, Faustin withdrew the Warships.

A revolution led by General Fabre Geffrard in 1858, The Emperor was overthrown. Geffrard defeated the Imperial Army and seized control of more than half of Haiti. On January 15th 1859, Faustin and his family set sail for Jamaica until the fall of Geffrard when he returned to Haiti where he died in 1867.

Years in Office: 1847-1858
Note about terms: Overthrown.