“Henri Christophe (who used the anglicized version of Henry Christopher) (6 October 1767 – 8 October 1820) was a former slave and key leader in the Haitian Revolution, which succeeded in gaining independence from France in 1804. In 1805 he took part under Jean-Jacques Dessalines in the invasion of Santo Domingo (now Dominican Republic) against French forces, and was documented as killing hundreds of Dominicans, including prisoners.
After Dessalines was assassinated, Christophe retreated to the Plaine-du-Nord and created a separate government. On 17 February 1807, he was elected President of the State of Haiti, as he named that area. Alexandre Pétion was elected president in the South. On 26 March 1811, Christophe created a kingdom in the North and had himself proclaimed Henry I, King of Haïti. He also created a nobility and named his legitimate son Jacques-Victor Henry as prince and heir.
He is known for constructing the Citadelle Laferrière, the Sans-Souci Palace, and numerous other palaces. Under his policies of corvee, or forced labor, the Kingdom earned revenues from agricultural production, primarily the commodity of sugar, but the people resented the system. He reached agreement with Great Britain to respect its Caribbean colonies in exchange for their warning his government of any French navy activity threatening Haiti. Unpopular, ill and fearing a coup, he committed suicide. His son and heir was assassinated 10 days later. The general Jean-Pierre Boyer came to power and reunited the two parts of Haiti.”