Henry Christophe

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Portrait of Henry Christophe
Henry Christophe (also Henri Christophe; Kreyòl: Anri Kristòf) (1767 Grenada –1820 Milot, Haiti)– an important general of the Haitian revolutionary army under Toussaint Louverture, and later emperor King Henry I of Haiti (Henry 1er), after he had himself crowned ruler of the Northern part of Haiti in 1811.

Freed by the time he joined the rebel army, Christophe had been a slave, "a waiter in a public hotel at Cap Français, where he made use of his opportunities to gain a knowledge of men and of the world." (James, p. 19)

He was illiterate, but learned to speak English and French fluently and was an effective ruler. (James, p. 257)

When Leclerc's expedition arrived to retake Saint-Domingue, it was Christophe who warned the French general not to land his men on the island, threatening to burn Le Cap to the ground and to fight on the ashes. (Korngold p. 255)

Play by Aimé Césaire

In 1963 the acclaimed Martinican poet, playwright, and politician Aimé Césaire (1913 - 2008), who had been in Haiti as a cultural ambassador, wrote the play La tragédie du roi Christophe (Engl.: The Tragedy of King Christophe).

See also


  • Césaire, Aimé. (1969). The tragedy of King Christophe, New York: Grove
  • James, C.L.R. (1989). The Black Jacobins. Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. (2nd Ed., Revised) New York: Vintage Press. ISBN 0-679-72467-2.
  • Korngold, Ralph (1944). Citizen Toussaint. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. LCCN 44007566.