Charles Rivière-Hérard also known as Charles Hérard Aîné was an officer in the Haitian Army under Andre Petion during his struggles against Henri Christophe. He was declared President of Haiti on 4 April 1843. He was forced from office by revolutionaries on 3 May 1844.
Charles Hérard Aîné was born at Port-au-Prince on 16 February 1789. Little about his early life is generally known, except that he fought with the revolutionaries against the French, and that he was an officer commanding a battalion of black troops, probably later in his military career.
Hérard was chief among the conspirators who ousted President Boyer during the 1843 Revolution. On 30 December of that same year, a Provisional Parliament of Haiti enacted a new Constitution, apparently without Hérard's approval. Soon afterward, General Hérard, who had the loyalty of the army, seized control of the government and declared himself President of Haiti.
Soon after Hérard's rise to power, the eastern half of Haiti, known as Santo Domingo, staged a revolt. On 27 February 1844, rebels occupied the capital city of Santo Domingo and the following day declared the Dominican Republic's independence from Haiti. Hérard responded almost immediately. Fielding an army of 25,000 soldiers on 10 March 1844, he entered the new Dominican Republic with the intent of returning the eastern half of the island to Haitian rule. He was quickly defeated however, and within a month was forced to retreat with his army back into Haïti. Facing increasing opposition in the government and a rapidly deteriorating political situation within the country, on 30 March 1844 Hérard dissolved the new Constitution and the Parliament.
During Hérard's invasion of the Dominican Republic, an armed revolt began in the Haitian countryside. By the end of March 1844, a rebel army composed of peasants and farmers began to muster near the city of Les Cayes on the southwest peninsula. The rebels, known as piquets, were armed with long pikes (from which they derived their name). Gathering under the command of a General Jean-Jacques Acaau, they formed what became known as "L’Armée Souffrante" or the Army of the South. In April of that year, they met and defeated a government army, although soon after this, their advance on the Haitian capital was checked at the town of Aquin.
This however, did not provide a respite for Hérard. While General Acaau was marching against Port-au-Prince in the south, an armed revolt had begun in the North, fueled by Hérard's opponents in the government. Faced with this crisis, Hérard relinquished the Presidency on 3 May 1844.
He went into exile on 2 June 1844, resettling in Jamaica where he died on 31 August 1850.