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Lysius Salomon

(1815 - 1888)
Louis Lysius Félicité Salomon Jeune

Louis Lysius Félicité Salomon Jeune was the President of Haiti from 1879 to 1888. Salomon is best remembered for instituting Haiti's first postal system and his lively enthusiasm to modernize the country.

Early life

Salomon was born in 1815 in Les Cayes. His family was influential and well-known throughout the south of Haiti and mostly clashed with the elite mulattoes of south. During Charles Riviere-Hérard regime, the Salomons were wanted for arrests after a heated battle with the mulattoes and exiled to Neyba. As Faustin Soulouque came into power, Louis returned along with other powerful black leaders to serve the new government. Louis became the minister of finance under Faustin and began to monopolize export transactions in coffee and cotton, run foreign imports through state monoplies, and levies on capital. As a result, smuggling and piracy exploded during Soulouqure reign. After the fall of Soulouque, Louis was exiled to Paris and London where he read widely and traveled the world.


On 18 August 1879, Louis returned to Haiti and became president after a huge support from the people. His plan as president was to restart public education, fix Haiti's financial woes, restore agriculture productivity, improve the army, and to fix the public administration. Within 4 months, he established the National Bank and by 1880 he resumed payments to France. The 1880s saw a huge amount of effort by the Salomon administration to bring modernization to Haiti. He adhered to the International Postal Union and issued its first postage stamp in October, granted a British cable company to connect Port-au-Prince and Kingston and by 1887 he negotiated to link Môle Saint-Nicolas to Cuba, Restructured the medical school, imported French teachers from France to teach at the Lycees, and more. With the military, the armed forces was reorganized to 16,000 and assigned to 34 infantry regiments and 4 artillery regiments. Also, Salomon reorganized the ranking distribution in the Haitian army, which only carried private and general.

In May 1883, Salomon offered the United States the island, Tortuga, in return for United States protection. In November, Salomon offered Môle Saint-Nicolas or Tortuga to the United States, but both offers were not accepted.

Within the 4 months of Salomon presidency, Haitian refugees from Kingston were in contact with the elite community in Port-au-Prince in order for a coup. When Salomon went to tour the south, general Nicholas headed to St. Marc to plan another coup but was met with government soldiers. In 1883, exiled Haitian rebels from Jamaica and Cuba reached Haitian shores to start another coup against Salomon. Names such as Jean-Pierre Boyer-Bazlais and Desormes were involved. While Salomon improved parts of Haiti problems, he also was draining every resources to pay Haiti's debt to France. During 1881-1882, a outbreak of smallpox spread throughout the country and consumed most of the finances in those years. In April 1883, the infamous Cacos from the north rebelled against Salomon and his administration but were crushed by government troops mixed with former Piquets. By 1884 to the end of his presidency, Salomon faced numerous rebellions from the Cacos. By May, Cacos from south rebelled in Jeremie and in July Jacmel rebelled. In October, a huge outburst emerged between Salomon's government forces, the exiled rebels from Cuba and Jamaica, and Cacos from different cities from the south and north. Flames engulfed government records and building and mass murder were being dealt to the elite class, foreigners, and merchants. This conflict was known as the "Bloody Week". Following the rebellion, inflation grew and a scandal called "Affaire des Mandays" became known involving the national bank, a French director, a British chief accountant and the Haitian government.

In 1886, Salomon was "re-elected" for a 7-year term because of his rewriting of the constitution. In 1887, Port-au-Prince rebelled because of lack of individual freedom and the tyrannical system of the republic.


Government officials began their betrayal of Salomon and by 1888, Le Cap rebelled in the north. With so much stress and too much to handle, Salomon left Haiti and returned to Paris where he died on 19 October 1888.

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Louis Lysius Félicité Salomon Jeune
OCCUPATION: Politician
BORN: 30 June 1815
BIRTHPLACE: Les Cayes, Haiti
DIED: 19 October 1888 (aged 73)
DEATHPLACE: Paris, France
President of Haiti: 36 October 1879 – 10 August 1888
Haiti Haiti
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