Emperor Faustin I

Emperor Faustin-Élie Soulouque, Emperor of Hayti (15 August 1782 – 3 August 1867) was a Haitian politician and military commander who served as President of Haiti from 1847 to 1849 and Emperor of Haiti from 1849 to 1859.

Soulouque was a general in the Haitian Army when he was appointed President of Haiti. He acquired autocratic powers, purged the army of the ruling elite, installed black loyalists in administrative positions and the nobility, and created a secret police and personal army. 

He declared the Second Haitian Empire in 1849 after being proclaimed Emperor under the name Faustin I, and formally crowned in 1852. Several unsuccessful attempts to reconquer the Dominican Republic eroded his support and he abdicated in 1859 under pressure from General Fabre Geffrard and Dominican military victory. Soulouque was temporarily exiled to Jamaica before returning to Haiti where he died in 1867.

Soulouque was the last Haitian head of state to have participated in the Haitian Revolution, the last to have been born prior to independence, and the last ex-slave. (This temporary text has been reproduced from this article and will be replaced with our own text soon.)

Continuity

Joseph I (1830-1875) and Joseph II (1856-1922)

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As Emperor Faustin I had no male issue, he proclaimed his nephew Prince Mainville-Joseph Soulouque (the eldest son of his brother Jean-Joseph) as Crown Prince of Haiti. Prince Mainville-Joseph (1830-1875) married his cousin the Princess Imperial Geneviève-Olive (1842-1883), daughter of Faustin I and Adélina. He thus became both nephew and son-in-law of the Emperor. After Faustin I’s death in 1867, the Crown Prince became head of the imperial household, and pretender, under the name of Joseph I. He worked to restore the monarchy, led the Imperialist Party, and ran for Senator in 1872. Upon his death, his son Joseph (1856-1922) — grandson of Faustin I —became Prince Imperial and pretender to the throne of Haiti as Joseph II. He lived in the Dominican Republic from 1918 until his death. 

Thierry Jean-Baptiste Soulouque Nord Vil Lubin (b. 1971)

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Vil Lubin asserts to be the Head of The Imperial House of Faustin I. He uses the titles His Imperial Highness Prince Thierry of Haiti, Count of Léogane, Count of Petionville, Baron of Jean-Baptiste, and Knight of the Kingdom of Hayti. Vil Lubin claims descent from Princess Gènévieve Olive, the biological daughter of Empress Adélina, and the biological or adopted daughter — the sources are contradictory — of Emperor Faustin I of Haiti.

His Facebook site states that he is “a great-great-great-grandson of Emperor Faustin I of Haiti” as well as “the only descendant of any Haitian monarch to actually lay claim to the throne, ” adding that the “line of succession to the Haitian throne has been completely in oblivion since the death of Prince Joseph Soulouque [the pretender Joseph II] in 1922.” 


Vil Lubin believes that no legitimate claim may proceed from Emperor Jacques I (Dessalines) because his monarchy, according to the 1805 constitution, was not hereditary and because he died before designating his successor. Furthermore, Faustin’s Empire, with its new constitution, was not a legal continuation of Dessalines’, which should therefore be considered extinct.

Regarding any claims from potential successors of King Henry Christophe, whose Kingdom only comprised the northern part of the country, Vil Lubin rationalizes that his three children died without issue, and that “that line is obsolete.” Moreover, as a descendant of the Count of Léogane —  whose wife was a cousin of Henry’s Queen Marie Luisa — he considers himself a member of the Christophe family that should be accorded the dignity of Imperial and Royal Highness.


A graduate of the Université du Québec à Montréal, Vil Lubin lives in Canada. The Chancellor of the Imperial House is Carmelo Currò Troiano, Count Mirto.

Baron Rudolph Andries Ulrich Juchter van Bergen ​​Quas (b. 1965)

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Van Bergen ​​Quas is a Dutch attorney and researcher who runs a well-regarded website on nobiliary law. He also heads the Institut de la Maison Impériale d’Haïti, in which he claims the Imperial Throne of Haiti. His line of descent is illustrated in a “Genealogical Chart of the Heir Presumptive,” although more detailed pages analyzing his claim are password-protected. The pedigree he posted shows that his great uncle was married to Marie-Adéline Soulouque, daughter of Mainville—the nephew and designated heir of Emperor Faustin, who claimed the throne as Joseph I.

Imperial coat of arms of the Second Empire of Haiti under Faustin I. The first Haitian emperor —  also self-proclaimed— was Jacques I (1804-1806) born Jean-Jacques Dessalines. (Image digitally traced from here and colorized by Emanuel Kingsley, 2022.)

Regalia of Emperor Faustin Ier Soulouque of Haiti

A medal with the imperial coat of arms; the two sceptres and the crown of Emperor Faustin I designed and produced by Maison Rouvenat in Paris. Drawings by Rouvenat reproduced in L'Illustration, February 1851. (Image: public domain.)

Coronation of Faustin I on 18 April 1862. Lithographic print from the Album Impérial d'Haïti, New York 1852, 11 1/2 x 16 1/4 in. Lithographs by Severyn and others after daguerreotypes by A. Hartmann of New York. Later coloring.

Design by Maison Rouvenat of Paris of the crown of Emperor Faustin I from the Album Rouvenat. Crowns were added to the eagles' heads in the final manufacture of the crown. Maison Rouvenat also manufactured the Imperial scepter, throne, swords and insignias for Faustin I's coronation.

The crown of Emperor Faustin I in its current condition, with diamonds and precious stones missing. Exhibited at the Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien (MUPANAH) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Reigned as

Emperor Faustin I

Reign

25 August 1849 – 15 January 1859

Coronation

18 April 1852

Polity

Empire of Haiti (1849 – 1859)

Objects in our Collection

Emperor Faustin I of Haiti. Detail of Letters Patent nominating a Consul of the Empire of Haiti in New York City

Letters Patent, 1861

Letters Patent from Emperor Faustin I of Haiti nominating Henry Delafield (1792–1875) as Consul of the Empire of Haiti in New York. 

Coin pattern, 1855 

10-cent copper coin pattern from 1855 depicting Emperor Faustin I in uniform and wearing a laurel crown. On the obverse are the imperial arms of Haiti. 

Engraving of Emperor Faustin I and Empress Adeline of Haiti in coronation attire

Newsmagazine cover, 1856 

Engraving of Emperor Faustin I and Empress Adeline in coronation attire on the cover of the French periodical L'Univers Illustré, 16 February 1856. 

Emperor Faustin I of Haiti meeting with his council

Illustration, c. 1850 

Watercolor painting of Emperor Faustin I meeting with his council, c. 1850.

Empress Adelina of Haiti consort of Emperor Faustin Soulouque of Haiti

Pipe, 1850-1900 

Figural pipe stummel by Gambier depicting Empress Adélina of Haiti, 1850-1900.

Satirical caricature book by Cham of Emperor Faustin I

Caricature book, 1850s 

Satirical caricature book by Cham of Emperor Faustin I, 1850. 

Caricatures, 1850s 

Satirical caricatures by Cham of Emperor Faustin I, 1850.
New acquisition: more information to come.