Black Napoleon

11 years of slavery and 40 years of service

Fosen-Eli Suluk was born on the territory of the French colony of San Domingo in 1782 into a family of slaves and himself was the first eleven years of his life bondage. The Haitian Revolution, which erupted in 1791, freed Fausten: in 1793, the civil commissioner San Domingo issued a decree abolishing slavery. However, at the very beginning of the 19th century, the French authorities attempted to restore slavery in their colony, which led to a new round of the Haitian revolution, to which Suluk joined as an ordinary soldier.
The revolution ended in 1804. France recognized the independence of San Domingo, and the island returned the old Indian name - Haiti. The whites on the island were either slaughtered or forced to flee. Mulatto and black people constantly argued for power over the island. Fausten, thanks to the revolutionary events made a successful military career. In 1806, he was appointed lieutenant of the army of Haiti and then adjutant to General Lamarr.


Fausten I. Source: royalark. net

In 1810, he entered the horse guards of the second president of Haiti, Alexander Petion. In the same year, Napoleon decided to retake the colony, but his thoughts about the march on Russia distracted his attention and saved the newly formed state from an attempt on its independence. Suluk continued to build his career and rose to the rank of colonel. After spending the next three decades in the Haitian army, he became a lieutenant general and occupied the high office of Supreme Commander of the Presidential Guard during the reign of Jean-Batista Richet.

The president

When the 67-year-old president Richert died in 1847 (there is a perception that as a result of the poisoning), the ruling circles of Haiti decided to find a figure who could take up a presidential position without encroaching on real power. Fausten-Eli had the reputation of such a stupid and ignorant martinet that the choice was stopped on him. So at the age of 65, on March 2, 1847, Suluk solemnly assumed the presidency. At first, he coped well with the role of the puppet: he continued the course of his predecessor, was loyal to his ministers. However, this “honeymoon” quickly passed and Fausten began to take the reins in his hands. He organized a personal army and with its help arrested, tortured and killed his political opponents, especially among the mulattoes who had recently formed the ruling elite. In April 1848, Fausten's thugs staged a massacre in Port-au-Prince, which led to the massacres of Haiti’s wealthy mulattoes.


Coronation ceremony of Emperor Fausten I. Source: fr. wikipedia.org

In 1849, Suluk, intoxicated with power, decided to proclaim himself emperor, which did not cause the slightest objection in the government and the senate under his control. On August 26, a ceremony took place at which Fausten was crowned with a gilded cardboard crown - the latter-day emperor was in a hurry to take the throne and did not have time to bring the real one to him. In December of the same year, he married Adeline Leveque, a former fish merchant who was proclaimed empress.

A la napoleon

On April 18, 1852, Suluk, now ruling under the name of Emperor Fausten I, arranged for himself and his wife a new coronation ceremony in Port-au-Prince. She spent much more luxuriant, pompous and more expensive than the previous one. The celebration was supposed to completely repeat the coronation in the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Napoleon Bonaparte, whose ardent admirer Fausten considered himself to be. This time the crown was made of pure gold and delivered from Paris. From there they brought the scepter, the orb and the throne. From the royal shoulders of Fostin and Adeline, velvet mantle with an ermine, like Napoleon and Josephine, appeared in the picture of Jacques-Louis David. Like the French emperor, Suluk laid the crown on himself first, and only then on his wife.


Jacques-Louis David "Coronation of Emperor Napoleon I and Empress Josephine in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris" on December 2, 1804. Source: ru. wikipedia.org

In subsequent years, Fausten imitated the great European monarchs even more. He and his wife had a retinue, and a noble estate was founded in Haiti. His grandees, he bestowed estates that belonged to the white owners. The new aristocracy received names from the names of the plantations. This is how Duke Lemonade appeared in Haiti (lemons were grown on his plantation), Duke Marmalade (the former owner made jam) and other equally funny titles. The emperor dressed his guard in a luxurious form sewn in Marseilles, and based on numerous orders in order to increase the prestige of the monarchy in Haiti (the very first of them bore the name of Saint Fausten).
But not everything European found a hot tip in the heart of a Haitian ruler. The emperor was a fan of the voodoo cult, so this religion with him received almost official status in Haiti. In his retinue there were several bokorov - sorcerers, practicing black magic, and mambo - female voodoo adepts, who received predictions from the spirits during a dive into a trance.

The fall of the tyrant

Reinforcing the power inside the country, Fausten tried by all means to protect Haiti from attempts on its sovereignty, which led to a significant isolation of his empire. At the same time, he sought to take away territory from the neighboring Dominican Republic. Three times his troops intended to invade the eastern part of the island, but each time the operation ended in failure.
Failures in foreign and domestic policy, cruelty and arrogance of the emperor, as well as exorbitant spending leading to the impoverishment of the country, forced the military in 1858 to raise an uprising against Fausten Suluk. He was led by the popular in the army Mulat-General Fabre Jeffrar. By December, the rebels took control of most of the country. The emperor had to flee the capital. The rebels demanded the abolition of the empire, the restoration of the republican system and the constitution. On December 23, in Port-au-Prince, they declared Fabre Geffrard to be President of Haiti. In January next year, Fausten officially abdicated the throne. Together with his family, he was sent into exile to Jamaica. The former emperor at Kingston delivered a British ship.

For Fausten, who loved Napoleon so much, Jamaica became her own island St. Helena. Here the former emperor made plans for the return of power, but was not too popular to take decisive action. True, unlike Napoleon, he did not die in exile, but returned to Haiti after the overthrow of President Jeffrar. For a long time, Fausten did not have to enjoy the fall of his enemy. The former emperor died in August 1867. At this very time, the temporary ruler of Haiti became Soot Nissage. It was he who in 1869 will take the presidency of the country and become the first head of state who has not violated the constitution and left power in a democratic way.


French caricature of Emperor Fausten I. Source: fr. wikipedia.org

The caricature of the ruler of Haiti gained immense popularity in France, where he had his president, who later declared himself emperor - Napoleon III. He was often called “suluk” - for opponents of the Second Empire, this name became a household name and meant “tyrant” or “despot”.

Sources:
1. Childs, Elizabeth C. Daumier and Exoticism: Satirizing the French and the Foreign
2. Rat-Veg. I. The history of human stupidity
3. Baur, John E. “Faustin Soulouque, Emperor of Haiti, His Character and His Reign
4. Rogozinski, Jan (1999). A Brief History of the Caribbean
FotAbout for the announcement on the main: travelinghaiti.com
Photo lead: digitalcollections. nypl.org

Watch the video: Toussaint LOuverture: the Black Napoleon who Freed Haitis Slaves (November 2019).

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