Jean-Jacques Dessalines was an important figure and leader of the Haitian Revolution. He went on to rule an independent Haiti, which became the first country to abolish slavery permanently. Considered one of Haiti's founding fathers, Dessalines reigned as the emperor of Haiti from 1804 until his murder in 1806. Today, he is regarded as an icon of Haitian nationalism.
François Duvalier was a Haitian politician. From 1957 to 1971, he served as the president of Haiti. Over the course of his political career, Duvalier's regime became despotic and totalitarian. In 1964, Duvalier declared himself President for Life and remained in power until his death. Since his demise, several books have been written about his rule in Haiti.
Jean-Claude Duvalier was a Haitian politician. From 1971 to 1986, Duvalier served as the president of Haiti before he was removed from office by a popular uprising. During his presidency, thousands of Haitians were tortured or killed. His presidency was also marked by his notoriously lavish lifestyle, while many Haitians were left to battle poverty.
Former Haitian president Henry Christophe also declared himself the king of northern Haiti as Henry I. Apart from spending lavishly on building palaces for himself, he also restored soldier peasants and gifted plantations to military leaders. He eventually committed suicide by shooting himself, fearing a coup against him.
Michel Martelly is a Haitian former politician. From 2011 to 2016, he served as the 41st president of Haiti. Also a singer and keyboardist, Michel was one of Haiti's most popular musicians for over a period of 10 years! He is renowned for his Kompa music and has released several studio albums like Anba Rad La and Tout Cé Mately.
Jean-Bertrand Aristide is a Haitian politician who served as the country's first democratically elected president. He was removed from office during the 2004 coup d'état and was later forced into exile. He returned to Haiti after seven years amidst rumors that blamed the US for orchestrating the coup against him. A former priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide taught liberation theology to many.
Alexandre Pétion was a Haitian political leader best remembered for his service as the first President of Haiti from 9 March 1807 until his death on 29 March 1818. Today, Alexandre Pétion is revered as one of the founding fathers of Haiti.
Born to Haitian agronomist Claude Préval, René Préval, too, followed in his father’s footsteps to become a prominent agronomist. He also studied geothermal sciences, before stepping into politics and becoming Haiti’s 2nd prime minister and, later, its 41st president. He had also served as the Haitian interior and defense minister.
Dutty Boukman was a Haitian revolutionary who was active during the Haitian Revolution. It is believed that Boukman and a Vodou mambo named Cécile Fatiman presided over a religious ceremony at Bois Caïman that instigated the 1791 slave revolt which came to be known as the Haitian Revolution.
Jean-Pierre Boyer was a Haitian political leader best remembered for his service as the President of Haiti from 30 March 1818 to 13 February 1843. He is credited with reuniting the north and south of Haiti to form the Republic of Haiti. Jean-Pierre Boyer also annexed Spanish Haiti to bring all of Hispaniola under a single Haitian government by 1822.
Faustin Soulouque was a Haitian military commander and politician. He is best remembered for his service as the President of Haiti from 1 March 1847 to 25 August 1849. He then acquired autocratic powers and declared himself the Emperor of Haiti. Faustin Soulouque went on to reign as the Emperor of Haiti from 26 August 1849 to 15 January 1859.
Laurent Lamothe is a Haitian businessman, political figure, and economist. He is known for his service as the Prime Minister of Haiti from 16 May 2012 to 14 December 2014. He also served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 24 October 2011 to 6 August 2012. Laurent Lamothe is currently serving as the Minister of Planning and External Cooperation.
Initially a lawyer and the first female justice at the Supreme Court of Haiti, Ertha Pascal-Trouillot later rose to be Haiti’s first provisional female president. Her main task as the provisional president was to prepare Haiti for the elections, while coordinating with the 19-member Council of State.
Paul Magloire was a Haitian politician best known for his service as the President of Haiti from 6 December 1950 to 12 December 1956. He also served as the Minister of Interior and Defence on two occasions; in 1946 and again in 1950.
Born to Haitian diplomat Alix Balmir in Venezuela, Stephanie Villedrouin grew up to lead Haiti as its tourism minister and witnessed the inauguration of Haiti’s first tourism promotion office during her tenure. She later turned into an entrepreneur and has also managed a hotel in Kenscoff.
Ti Memenne of La Gonave was a Haitian political leader and the tribal ruler of a Haitian island called La Gonâve. Although her reign was not recognized by the Haitian government during American occupation, Ti Memenne maintained economic, social, spiritual, and political leadership of the island.
Haitian author and intellectual Jacques Roumain explored the black perspective through his works and also believed in the concept of art for people's sake. Best known for his poetry collection Ebony Wood and his novel Masters of the Dew, he was also a supporter of Marxist theory.
Madame Max Adolphe, or Rosalie Bosquet, started her career as the commandant of Fort-Dimanche/Fort La Mort and later became a prominent associate of Haitian president François Duvalier. She also became the mayor of Port-au-Prince, but later disappeared amid riots after the fall of the Duvalier dynasty.
Haiti’s 4th prime minister, Marc Bazin also led the country as its provisional president in the early 1990s. He had been Haiti’s finance minister, too, and had also represented Haiti in the WHO. He had worked with the World Bank and the United Nations, too.
Marie-Madeleine Lachenais was a Haitian woman who was politically active during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. She is best remembered as the political advisor of both Alexandre Sabès Pétion and Jean-Pierre Boyer, the first and second president of Haiti respectively. Marie-Madeleine Lachenais is widely regarded as the most politically powerful Haitian woman of all time.
Haitian physician and ethnologist Jean Price-Mars was also a leading politician and diplomat who led Haiti as its minister of foreign affairs, worship, and education. He had also been the Haitian ambassador to France and to the UN. Known for his ethnological writings, he coined the term collective bovarysme.
Known as Haiti’s Shakespeare, Oswald Durand was an iconic Haitian literary figure who is also considered Haiti’s national poet. Mostly a romantic poet, he had been a journalist and politician, too. He was also made the president of the Chamber of Deputies. Choucoune remains one of his best-known works.
Haitian law professor and politician Mirlande Manigat is a former First Lady of Haiti and the widow of former Haitian president Leslie Manigat. Part of the Rally of Progressive National Democrats, she ran for president in 2010. Once the dean of law at Université Quisqueya, she has been committed to improving Haiti’s public education.
Haitian health activist and politician Sophia Martelly is the wife of musician and former Haitian president Michel Martelly. The New York-born Martelly had gone against her parents’ racial discrimination to marry Michel Martelly. In 2015, she was stopped from running for the Haitian senate due to citizenship issues.
The 14th prime minister of Haiti, Michèle Pierre-Louis was also the country’s second woman to hold the post. She has also been Haiti’s Minister of Justice and Public Security and taught as a professor at Université Quisqueya. She has been associated with projects such as the International Commission Against the Death Penalty.
Émile Jonassaint not only served as a justice at the Haitian Supreme Court, but also led Haiti as its provisional president in the early 1990s. It is alleged that his presidency had witnessed many human rights violations. He signed the Port-au-Prince Accord and stepped down after the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Haitian politician Maryse Narcisse ran for president in the 2016-17 election, representing the social democratic party Fanmi Lavalas. She also holds a master’s degree in public health from Tulane University and is a medical doctor. The pro-democracy politician was exiled to the US after the 2004 coup d’etat against President Aristide.
The 7th prime minister of Haiti, Claudette Werleigh was also the first woman from Haiti to hold the position. Though registered as a lawyer, she began her career as a medical technician and then worked as a physiologist. She has also been Haiti’s minister of social affairs and foreign affairs.
Haitian politician Florence Duperval Guillaume has been Haiti’s health minister and has also led the country as its acting prime minister. In 2022, she was nominated by Haiti as a candidate to lead the Pan American Health Organization as its director, in place of Dominica’s Dr. Carissa Etienne.
The 31st First Lady of Haiti and the former wife of President Paul Eugene Magloire, Yolette Leconte was known for her contribution to charitable campaigns. She also worked to improve the educational and professional aspects of Haitian women. She was later exiled to Jamaica, France, and the US, along with her husband.
Pompee Valentin Vastey was a Haitian politician, educator, and writer. He is best remembered for his essays on the history of Haiti. He is also remembered for his service as secretary under King Henri Christophe. Pompée Valentin Vastey also worked as a tutor to Jacques-Victor Henry, Henri Christophe's son.
Massillon Coicou was a Haitian novelist, poet, playwright, and politician. Most of his literary works were published in France, where he was serving as the Haitian Chargé d'Affaires Étrangères. A fierce critic of Pierre Nord Alexis, Massillon Coicou announced his intentions to overthrow the former's government and he was subsequently executed by Alexis' orders in 1908.
Jules Solime Milscent was a Haitian poet, fabulist, and politician. Some of his best known fables are L'Homme et le Serpent, Le Cœur et l'Esprit, and Le Chien et le Loup. He is also credited with co-founding a journal named L'Abeille Haytienne. Also a prominent politician, Jules Solime Milscent served in several government positions during his lifetime.
Ann Valerie Timothee Milfort is a Haitian political leader who served as the Chief of Staff of Haitian Presidency from 2012 to 2016. She is currently serving as the president of a popular political party called Parti Haïtien Tèt Kale.
Victoire Jean-Baptiste was a Haitian woman who was politically active during Louis Mondestin Florvil Hyppolite's presidency. She is best remembered as Florvil Hyppolite's mistress and had great influence in the political affairs of state. Victoire Jean-Baptiste also played a key role in the appointment of offices; she was instrumental in making Tirésias Simon Sam the Minister of War.
Solon Ménos was a Haitian politician and author. He is best remembered for his service as Haiti's Minister of Finance and Haiti's minister to Washington, D.C. in 1897. He also served as the Haitian Ambassador to the USA from 1911 to 1918. Solon Ménos is also credited with writing L'Affaire Lüders, which described the conflict between Germany and Haiti.
Claude Raymond was a Haitian military leader who served as the army chief of Jean-Claude Duvalier. Raymond was amongst the most feared men in Haiti during Duvalier's presidential term from 1971 to 1986. When Duvalier was ousted in 1986, Claude Raymond declared himself a presidential candidate. However, he was disqualified by an electoral council and he was arrested in 1996.
Philippe Wilson Desir was a Haitian freedom fighter who was forced into exile when he led a coup d'etat against François Duvalier in 1970. He then settled in New York and worked towards the welfare of his fellow exiles. At the time of his death in 1995, Philippe Wilson Desir was serving as the Haitian Consul General in New York.