The national heroes of Haiti include Pierre Dominique Toussaint L'Ouverture (1743–1803), the Precursor; Jean Jacques Dessalines (1758–1806), who defeated Napoleon's army and proclaimed Haitian independence; Alexandre Sabès Pétion (1770–1818), first president of the republic established in southern Haiti; and Henri Christophe (1767–1820), king of Haiti (1811–20), who built the famous Citadelle and Sans Souci Palace. François Duvalier ("Papa Doc," 1907–71), originally trained as a physician, was elected president in 1957 and in 1964 became president for life. His son Jean-Claude Duvalier (b.1951) inherited his father's title in 1971 but was ousted in 1986.
John James Audubon (1785–1851), an artist and ornithologist, was born in Haiti. The writers Éméric Bergeaud (1818–58), Oswald Durand (1840–1906), Philippe Thoby-Marcelin (1904–75), Jacques Roumain (1907–44), and Jean Fernand Brierre (b.1909) have won international literary recognition. Noted poets include the dramatist Pierre Faubert (1803–68), Corolian Ardouin (1812–35), Alibée Féry (1819–96), and Charles-Seguy Villavaleix (1835–1923). Haitian artists include the sculptor Edmond Laforestière (1837–1904); the primitive painter Héctor Hippolyte (1890–1948), leader of the Afro-Art Renaissance in the Caribbean; Wilson Bigaud (b. 1931); and Jacques Enguérrand Gourge (1931–1996). Haitian composers include Occide Jeanty (1860–1936) and Justin Elie (1883–1931); Ludovic Lamothe (1882–1953) used voodoo music in his compositions.