The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Haitian Politicians of all time. This list of famous Haitian Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Haitian Politicians.
With an HPI of 72.87, Jean-Jacques Dessalines is the most famous Haitian Politician. His biography has been translated into 44 different languages on wikipedia.
Jean-Jacques Dessalines (Haitian Creole: Jan-Jak Desalin; French pronunciation: [ʒɑ̃ ʒak dɛsalin]; 20 September 1758 – 17 October 1806) was a leader of the Haitian Revolution and the first ruler of an independent Haiti under the 1805 constitution. Under Dessalines, Haiti became the first country to permanently abolish slavery. Initially regarded as governor-general, Dessalines was later named Emperor of Haiti as Jacques I (1804–1806) by generals of the Haitian Revolution Army and ruled in that capacity until being assassinated in 1806. He is regarded as being one of the founding fathers of Haiti.Dessalines served as an officer in the French army, when the colony was fending off Spanish and British incursions. Later he rose to become a commander in the revolt against France. As Toussaint Louverture's principal lieutenant, he led many successful engagements, including the Battle of Crête-à-Pierrot. After the betrayal and capture of Toussaint Louverture in 1802, who died in prison in France, Dessalines became the leader of the revolution. He defeated a French army at the Battle of Vertières in 1803. Declaring Haiti an independent nation in 1804, Dessalines was chosen by a council of generals to assume the office of governor-general. In a genocide, he ordered the 1804 Haiti massacre of remaining white settlers in Haiti, resulting in the deaths of between 3,000 and 5,000 people. He excluded surviving Polish Legionnaires, who had defected from the French legion to become allied with the enslaved Africans. He granted them full citizenship under the constitution and classified them as Noir, the new ruling ethnicity. Tensions remained with the minority of mixed-race or free people of color, who had gained some education and property during the colonial period. In September 1804, Dessalines was proclaimed emperor by the Generals of the Haitian Revolution Army. He ruled in that capacity until being assassinated in 1806 by opponents who resisted his autocratic rule.
With an HPI of 68.92, Alexandre Pétion is the 2nd most famous Haitian Politician. His biography has been translated into 27 different languages.
Alexandre Sabès Pétion (French pronunciation: [alɛksɑ̃dʁ sabɛs petjɔ̃]; April 2, 1770 – March 29, 1818) was the first President of the Republic of Haiti from 1807 until his death in 1818. He is acknowledged as one of Haiti's founding fathers; a member of the revolutionary quartet that also includes Toussaint Louverture, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, and his later rival Henri Christophe. Regarded as an excellent artilleryman in his early adulthood, Pétion would distinguish himself as an esteemed military commander with experience leading both French and Haitian troops. The 1802 coalition formed by he and Dessalines against French forces led by Charles Leclerc would prove to be a watershed moment in the decade-long conflict, eventually culminating in the decisive Haitian victory at the Battle of Vertières in 1803.
With an HPI of 68.64, Jean-Claude Duvalier is the 3rd most famous Haitian Politician. His biography has been translated into 46 different languages.
Jean-Claude Duvalier (French pronunciation: [ʒɑ̃klod dyvalje]; 3 July 1951 – 4 October 2014), nicknamed "Baby Doc" (Haitian Creole: Bebe Dòk), was a Haitian politician who was the President of Haiti from 1971 until he was overthrown by a popular uprising in February 1986. He succeeded his father François "Papa Doc" Duvalier as the ruler of Haiti after his death in 1971. After assuming power, he introduced cosmetic changes to his father's regime and delegated much authority to his advisors. Thousands of Haitians were killed or tortured, and hundreds of thousands fled the country during his presidency. He maintained a notoriously lavish lifestyle (including a state-sponsored US$ 2 million wedding in 1980) while poverty among his people remained the most widespread of any country in the Western Hemisphere.Relations with the United States improved after Duvalier's ascension to the presidency, and later deteriorated under the Carter administration, only to again improve under Ronald Reagan due to the strong anti-communist stance of the Duvaliers. Rebellion against the Duvalier regime broke out in 1985 and Baby Doc fled to France in 1986 on a U.S. Air Force flight. Duvalier unexpectedly returned to Haiti on 16 January 2011, after two decades in self-imposed exile in France. The following day, he was arrested by Haitian police, facing possible charges for embezzlement. On 18 January, Duvalier was charged with corruption. On 28 February 2013, Duvalier pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption and human rights abuse. He died of a heart attack on 4 October 2014, at the age of 63.
With an HPI of 67.99, Jean-Pierre Boyer is the 4th most famous Haitian Politician. His biography has been translated into 22 different languages.
Jean-Pierre Boyer (15 February 1776 – 9 July 1850) was one of the leaders of the Haitian Revolution, and President of Haiti from 1818 to 1843. He reunited the north and south of the country into the Republic of Haiti in 1820 and also annexed the newly independent Spanish Haiti (Santo Domingo), which brought all of Hispaniola under one Haitian government by 1822. Boyer managed to rule for the longest period of time of any of the revolutionary leaders of his generation.
With an HPI of 67.24, René Préval is the 5th most famous Haitian Politician. His biography has been translated into 47 different languages.
René Garcia Préval (French pronunciation: [ʁəne pʁeval]; January 17, 1943 – March 3, 2017) was a Haitian politician and agronomist who served twice as President of Haiti; once from early 1996 to early 2001, and again from mid 2006 to mid 2011. He was also Prime Minister from early to late 1991. Préval was the first elected head of state in Haitian history to peacefully receive power from a predecessor in office, the first since independence to serve a full term in office, the first to be elected to non-successive full terms in office, the first to peacefully hand over power, and the first former prime minister to be elected president. Préval promoted privatization of government companies, agrarian reform, and investigations of human rights abuses. His presidencies were marked by domestic tumult and attempts at economic stabilization, with his latter term seeing the destruction wrought by the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
With an HPI of 65.72, Vincent-Marie Viénot, Count of Vaublanc is the 6th most famous Haitian Politician. His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.
Vincent-Marie Viénot de Vaublanc, 1st baron Viénot de Vaublanc and of the Empire as known as "count de Vaublanc" ' (2 March 1756 – 21 August 1845) was a French royalist politician, writer and artist. He was a deputy for the Seine-et-Marne département in the French Legislative Assembly, served as President of the same body, and from 26 September 1815 to 7 May 1816, he was the French Minister of the Interior. His political career had him rubbing shoulders with Louis XVI, Napoleon Bonaparte, the Count of Artois (the future Charles X of France), and finally Louis XVIII. He was banished and recalled four times by different regimes, never arrested, succeeding each time in regaining official favour. In a long and eventful career, he was successively a monarchist deputy during the Revolution and under the Directoire, an exile during the Terror, a deputy under Napoleon, Minister of the Interior to Louis XVIII and eventually, at the end of his political career, a simple ultra-royalist deputy. He is remembered now for the fiery eloquence of his speeches, and for his controversial reorganisation of the Académie française in 1816 while Minister of the Interior. A man of order, he was a moderate supporter of the Revolution of 1789 and ended his political life under the Restoration as a radical counterrevolutionary.
With an HPI of 64.96, Jean-Bertrand Aristide is the 7th most famous Haitian Politician. His biography has been translated into 43 different languages.
Jean-Bertrand Aristide (born 15 July 1953) is a Haitian former Salesian priest and politician who became Haiti's first democratically elected president. A proponent of liberation theology, Aristide was appointed to a parish in Port-au-Prince in 1982 after completing his studies to become a priest. He became a focal point for the pro-democracy movement first under Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier and then under the military transition regime which followed. He won the 1990–91 Haitian general election, with 67% of the vote. As a priest, he taught liberation theology and, as a president, he attempted to normalize Afro-Creole culture, including Vodou religion, in Haiti.Aristide was briefly president of Haiti, until a September 1991 military coup. The coup regime collapsed in 1994 under U.S. pressure and threat of force (Operation Uphold Democracy), and Aristide was president again from 1994 to 1996 and from 2001 to 2004. He was ousted in the 2004 coup d'état after right-wing ex-army paramilitaries invaded the country from across the Dominican border. Aristide and many others have alleged that the United States had a role in orchestrating the coup against him.He was later forced into exile in the Central African Republic and South Africa. He finally returned to Haiti in 2011 after seven years in exile.
With an HPI of 63.78, Faustin Soulouque is the 8th most famous Haitian Politician. His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.
Faustin-Élie Soulouque (15 August 1782 – 3 August 1867) was a Haitian politician and military commander who served as President of Haiti from 1847 to 1849 and Emperor of Haiti from 1849 to 1859.Soulouque was a general in the Haitian Army when he was appointed President of Haiti. He acquired autocratic powers, purged the army of the ruling elite, installed black loyalists in administrative positions and the nobility, and created a secret police and private army. Soulouque was an enthusiastic vodouisant, maintaining a staff of bokors and mambos, and gave the stigmatized vodou religion semi-official status which was openly practiced in Port-au-Prince. Soulouque declared the Second Empire of Haiti in 1849 after being proclaimed Emperor under the name Faustin I, and formally crowned in 1852. Several unsuccessful attempts to reconquer the Dominican Republic eroded his support and he abdicated in 1859 under pressure from General Fabre Geffrard and Dominican military victory. Soulouque was temporarily exiled to Jamaica before returning to Haiti where he died in 1867. Soulouque was the last Haitian head of state to have participated in the Haitian Revolution, the last to have been born prior to independence, and the last ex-slave.
With an HPI of 63.76, Leslie Manigat is the 9th most famous Haitian Politician. His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.
Leslie François Saint Roc Manigat (August 16, 1930 – June 27, 2014) was a Haitian politician who was elected as President of Haiti in a tightly controlled military held election in January 1988. He served as President for only a few months, from February 1988 to June 1988, before being ousted by the military.
With an HPI of 63.02, Henri Namphy is the 10th most famous Haitian Politician. His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.
Henri Namphy (2 October 1932 – 26 June 2018) was a Haitian general and political figure who served as President of Haiti's interim ruling body, the National Council of Government, from 7 February 1986 to 7 February 1988. He served again as President of Haiti from 20 June 1988 after the June 1988 coup that he led, until his deposition on September 17, 1988 in the September coup.Following the fall of the government headed by President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier, who fled the country with his family in 1986, Lieutenant General Namphy became president of the interim governing council, made up of six civilian and military members, which promised elections and democratic reforms. His regime was given the moniker "duvalierism without Duvalier". Namphy, who enjoyed a reputation for being honest and apolitical, had trouble in his early weeks in power; Haitians ceased their celebrations over the departure of Duvalier and started rioting and looting. In March 1986, as violence swept the capital, Port-au-Prince, the popular justice minister resigned from the ruling council and Namphy dismissed three other members who had close ties with the Duvalier regime. The new council had two other members apart from Namphy. The council had difficulty in exerting its authority because of frequent strikes and demonstrations.An election held in October for a constituent assembly to prepare a draft constitution reflected a lack of public interest in determining the country's political future. The first attempt at elections, in November 1987, ended when some three dozen voters were massacred. In January 1988 Leslie Manigat won an election that was widely considered fraudulent, and Namphy overthrew him on 20th June in the June 1988 Haitian coup d'état after Manigat had dismissed Namphy as army commander, after Namphy had made moves that Manigat did not approve of. Namphy remained in power until 17 September 1988, when he was deposed by a group of young officers organized by General Prosper Avril. He died from lung cancer on 26 June 2018 in the Dominican Republic, after 30 years in exile. He told his family that he wanted to be buried in the Dominican Republic. In his testament, he bequeathed his personal library to the Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo foundation.Namphy was tetralingual (he spoke Haitian Creole, French, Spanish and English). He had married twice and had two daughters, one based in Martinique and the other in the Dominican Republic.
Pantheon has 32 people classified as politicians born between 1756 and 1980. Of these 32, 15 (46.88%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Boniface Alexandre, and Ertha Pascal-Trouillot. The most famous deceased politicians include Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Alexandre Pétion, and Jean-Claude Duvalier. As of October 2020, 3 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Martial Célestin, Jocelerme Privert, and Fritz William Michel.
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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 16 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.