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Pierre Nord Alexis (1820-May 1, 1910) was President of Haiti from December 21, 1902 to December 2, 1908. The son of a high-ranking official in the regime of Henri Christophe, Alexis joined the army in the 1830s, serving President Jean Louis Pierrot as an aide-de-camp. In the ensuing years, he had a tumultuous career: he was exiled in 1874, but returned to Haiti a few years later by President Adolph Boisrond Canal. During the presidency of Lysias Salomon, he was a vocal leader of the opposition, enduring several jail sentences before Salomon was finally ousted in a revolt. The new president, Florvil Hippolyte, gave him an important military position in the north, but when President Tirésias Simon Sam resigned, he joined Antenor Firmin in a march on Port-au-Prince in an effort to seize control of the government.
The new president, however, was his old ally, Adolph Boisrond Canal, who had returned him from exile some twenty years earlier. Canal defused the tension by appointing Alexis as his Minister of War, driving a wedge between him and Firmin. Troops loyal to Firmin were finally defeated in Port-au-Prince, leaving only two strongholds, St. Marc and Gonaïves, opposed to the new government of Canal and Alexis. Alexis took advantage of the situation by negotiating with the United States and declaring himself in support of American interests in the Caribbean. The U.S. responded by imposing a naval blockade on the two centers still loyal to Firmin, paving the way for Alexis to seize control of the government for himself.
He did this on December 21, 1902, by leading troops loyal to him into the country's Chamber of Deputies and forcing the legislators to declare him president. Alexis managed to hold on to power for the next six years, though his regime was plagued by rebellion, and the government he presided over was frequently accused of corruption. In January 1908, Alexis, already in his eighties, decided to have himself proclaimed president for life. This reunited the supporters of Firmin, who launched a new revolt against Alexis. While the revolt was crushed, it exacerbated the country's exsting economic problems. A famine in the south that same year led to violent food riots and a new rebellion, this time from the south, led by General Antoine Simon. Ousted from power on December 2, Alexis went into exile in Jamaica, where he died in 1910.
Adolph Boisrond Canal
|President of Haiti|