Historic Haitian Names
Bonapat, Polin —Pauline Bonaparte (1780-1825), the ravishing sister of Napoleon Bonaparte (and who was not opposed to posing nude!), was the wife of Victor-Emmanuel Leclerc, commander of the some 21,000 French troops sent in early 1802 to subdue the slave rebellion and then to proceed to Louisiana. (This was the largest army ever sent from the Old World to the New.)
At her palace on the outskirts of Cape Haitian was Pauline’s luxurious court of artists, musicians, and ladies’ maids. She returned to France almost exactly nine months after her arrival, following the death from yellow fever of her
Channmas—the Champ-de-Mars, the park and parade grounds adjoining the National Palace; completed by the Square of the Heroes of Independence. In this area are statues of Toussaint Louverture, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Henry Christophe, and Alexandre Pétion; as well as of the Unknown Escaped Slave. Recently another martyr of the colonial period was added: the Unknown Indian.
Desalin, Jan-Jak—Jean-Jacques Dessalines (1758-1806). Although often accused of being excessively bloodthirsty even within the context of a bloody revolution, he nevertheless had the courage to do what no Black man had ever before dared: to proclaim (January 1, 1804) the independence of a Black nation, the final victory of the world’s only slave revolt ever permanently to succeed.
It has been said that Toussaint Louverture gave Haiti liberty, Henry Christophe gave Haiti dignity, and Jean-Jacques Dessalines gave Haiti independence.
Divalye, Franswa—Dr. François Duvalier (1907-1971), often familiarly called “Papa Dòk.” He was one of the physicians who led the successful campaign to eradicate the tropical disease called yaws (Creole: pyan), as well as being an outstanding anthropologist. However his years as president of Haiti (1957 until his death) were characterized by ruthlessness and terror. The international jet airport which bore his name was inaugurated in 1967 and has been considerably enlarged since.