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Salomon, Louis Étienne Lysius Félicité (1820–1888)

Salomon, Louis Étienne Lysius Félicité (1820–1888)

Louis Étienne Lysius Félicité Salomon (b. 1820; d. 1888), Haitian president (1879–1888) and polemicist. He was born to an elite black landowning family in Les Cayes, and after a brief period in the army, turned while still young to politics. He became known as a noiriste, an advocate of black dominance, and an opponent of the mulatto elite.

Salomon served as minister of finance and commerce under Faustin Soulouque (1785–1867) and tried to emphasize state ownership of coffee exports. When Fabre Nicolas Geffrard (1806–1878) overthrew Soulouque, Salomon left for Jamaica, and from there he bitterly opposed Geffrard.

After his election to the presidency in 1879, many Liberals were exiled or fled. In 1880 Salomon founded the National Bank with foreign capitalization. Some have argued that he thus opened the way for foreign interference and, perhaps, the nineteen-year U.S. occupation that began in 1915. He gave some state land to the peasantry, but he was permissive toward foreign ownership. He was overthrown by a northern coalition in 1888, and he died soon after in exile.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Berloquin-Chassany, Pascale. Haïti, une démocratie compromise, 1890–1911. Paris: Harmattan, 2004.

Gaillard, Roger. La république exterminatrice. Port-au-Prince: R. Gaillard, 1984.

Gaillard, Roger. Une modernisation manqueé (1880–1896). Port-au-Prince: R. Gaillard, 1995.

                                     Murdo J. MacLeod

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