Republic of Haiti
|Common languages||French language, Haitian Creole|
|Government||Unitary presidential republic|
• Upper Chamber
• Lower Chamber
|Chamber of Deputies|
• Assassination of Emperor Jacques I
|17 October 1806|
• Reunification of North and South Haiti
|18 October 1820|
|ISO 3166 code||HT|
|Today part of||Haiti|
The first Republic of Haiti (French: République d'Haïti; Haitian Creole: Repiblik d Ayiti) controlled the southern portions of Haiti from 1806 until 1820. The republic, commonly referred to as South Haiti during its existence, was created on 17 October 1806, following the assassination of Emperor Jacques I and the overthrow of the First Empire of Haiti. The southern Republic of Haiti was ruled by General Alexandre Pétion, a free person of color, as President from 9 March 1807 until his death on 29 March 1818. He was succeeded by Jean-Pierre Boyer.
While the Republic of Haiti had control in the south, Henri Christophe ruled over the north of the country as President of the State of Haiti until 1811 when he proclaimed the Kingdom of Haiti with himself as King Henri I. Following King Henri's death in 1820, Haiti was unified as a single republican state under Boyer.
Initially a supporter of democracy, Pétion modified the terms of the presidency in the Revision of the Haitian Constitution of 1806 on 2 June 1816, making the post of president a position for life, with the president having the power to appoint his successor. Furthermore, he found the constraints imposed on him by the Senate onerous and suspended the legislature in 1818.
Pétion named General Jean-Pierre Boyer as his successor; the Senate approved his choice. Boyer took control in 1818 following the death of Pétion from yellow fever. After Henri I and his son died in 1820, Boyer reunited the two parts of the country in 1820; he went on to unify the entire island of Hispaniola under his rule in 1822, and presided over the unified Republic of Haiti until his overthrow in 1843.
Pétion seized commercial plantations from the rich gentry. He had the land redistributed to his supporters and the peasantry, earning him the nickname Papa Bon-Cœur ("good-hearted father"). The land seizures and changes in agriculture reduced the production of commodities for the export economy. Most of the population became full subsistence farmers, and exports and state revenue declined sharply, making survival difficult for the new state.
Pétion gave sanctuary to the independence leader Simón Bolívar in 1815 and provided him with material and infantry support. This vital aid played a defining role in Bolivar's military career, and ensured his success in the campaign to liberate the countries of what would make up Gran Colombia.
1st President Alexandre Pétion
2nd President Jean-Pierre Boyer
- Mellen, Joan (November 2012). Our Man in Haiti: George de Mohrenschildt and the CIA in the Nightmare Republic. p. 7. ISBN 9781936296538. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
- "Constitution of Haiti from 27 December 1806, and its revision from 2 June 1816, year 13 of independence". Saint Marc. 1820. p. Article 142.
- Senauth, Frank (2011). The Making and the Destruction of Haiti. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse. p. 25. ISBN 9781456753832.
- Ferrer, Ada (2012). "Haiti, Free Soil, and Antislavery in the Revolutionary Atlantic". The American Historical Review. 117 (1): 40–66. doi:10.1086/ahr.117.1.40. Archived from the original on 28 December 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
- Rogozinski, Jan (1999). A Brief History of the Caribbean (Revised ed.). New York: Facts on File, Inc. pp. 218–220. ISBN 0-8160-3811-2.
- Jenson, Deborah (2012). Beyond the slave narrative: politics, sex, and manuscripts in the Haitian revolution. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. p. 185. ISBN 9781846317606.
- Marion, Alexandre Pétion; Ignace Despontreaux Marion; Simón Bolívar (1849). Expédition de Bolivar (in French). Port-au-Prince: De l'imp. de Jh. Courtois.