This article needs additional citations for verification . (March 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Bois Caïman (Haitian Creole : Bwa Kayiman: "Alligator Forest" or Bwa Kay Imam: “Forest near the Imam’s house” ) was the site of the first major meeting of enslave blacks during which the first major slave insurrection of the Haitian Revolution was planned.
Before the Bois Caiman ceremony, Vodou rituals were seen as an event of social gathering where enslaved Africans had the ability to organize.These meetings and opportunities to organize were considered harmless by white slave owners, therefore, they were permitted. It is also argued that Vodou created a more homogeneous black culture in Haiti.
On the night of August 14, 1791, representative slaves from nearby plantations gathered to participate in a secret ceremony conducted in the woods by nearby Le Cap in the French colony of Saint-Domingue. Presided over by Dutty Boukman, a prominent enslaved African leader and Vodou priest, the ceremony served as both a religious ritual and strategic meeting as enslave Africans met and planned a revolt against their ruling white enslavers of the colony's wealthy Northern Plain. The ceremony is considered the official beginning of the Haitian Revolution.
The event was followed by participants of the Bois Caiman ceremony to revolt against their white oppressors due to their promise to the mysterious woman who appeared during the ceremony. The participants liberated plantations throughout the area. The leader of this rebellion, Boukman, had made claims that he had obtained the power of invincibility from divine power. To reduce the social disorder of the rebellion, the French captured Boukman and beheaded him. The French then displayed his head on Cap’s square to prove his mortality and French power.
During the Bois Caiman ceremony, a witness described the presence of 200 enslaved Africans at the event.The event was presided over by Dutty Boukman, a Houngan priest. The African woman figure that appeared declared Boukman the “Supreme Chief” of the rebellion.
In the following days, the whole Northern Plain was in flames, as the revolutionaries fought against the whites who enslaved them. Clouded in mystery, many accounts of the catalytic ceremony and its particular details have varied. There are no known first-hand written accounts about what took place that night. It was first documented in the white enslaver Antoine Dalmas's "History of the Saint-Domingue Revolution", published in 1814.
The Haitian writer Herard Dumesle visited the region and took oral testimonies in order to write his account of the ceremony.He recorded what is thought to be the earliest version of the Bois Caïman speech made by Dutty Boukman. Translated, it reads:
…This God who made the sun, who brings us light from above, who raises the sea, and who makes the storm rumble. That God is there, do you understand? Hiding in a cloud, He watches us, he sees all that the whites do! The God of the whites pushes them to crime, but he wants us to do good deeds. But the God who is so good orders us to vengeance. He will direct our hands, and give us help. Throw away the image of the God of the whites who thirsts for our tears. Listen to the liberty that speaks in all our hearts.
This excerpt from the official "History of Haiti and the Haitian Revolution"serves as a general summary of the ceremonial events that occurred:
A man named Boukman, another houngan, organized on August 24, 1791, a meeting with the slaves in the mountains of the North. This meeting took the form of a Voodoo ceremony in the Bois Caïman in the northern mountains of the island. It was raining and the sky was raging with clouds; the slaves then started confessing their resentment of their condition. A woman started dancing languorously in the crowd, taken by the spirits of the loas. With a knife in her hand, she cut the throat of a pig and distributed the blood to all the participants of the meeting who swore to kill all the whites on the island.
Despite purported facts and embellishments that have dramatized the ceremony over the centuries, the most reoccurring anecdote is the sacrifice of a black Creole Pig to Ezili Dantor by the mambo Cécile Fatiman and the pact formed through its blood. Dalmas provided the first written account of the sacrifice:
A black pig, surrounded by the slaves believe to have magical powers, each carrying the most bizarre offering, was offered as a sacrifice to the all-powerful spirit...The religious community in which the nègres slit its throat, the greed with which they have believed to have marked themselves on the forehead with its blood, the importance that they attached to owning some of its bristles which they believed would make them invincible.
Critics offers the theory that the ceremony never occurred at all. Dr. Leon-Francois Hoffmannn theorizes that the event simply had motivational and unitary roles to politically gather allies throughout Haiti. Where Hoffmannn found the narrative to have a strong impact on shaping the motivations of those involved in the revolution, Hoffmannn feels there is no factual bias for the event occurring.
The black Creole Pig was a sacrifice to and a symbol of Ezili Dantor, the mother of Haiti (who resembles the scarred Dahomey Amazons or Mino, meaning "Our Mothers" in the Fon language). It was a mixing of the traditions of the army of the Dahomey, which was the ethnicity of many of the enslaved Africans in Saint Domingue with the Taino, who had fled to the high mountains of Haiti (Haiti meaning high mountains in Taino) in order to escape the Spanish colonial genocide.[ clarification needed ]
The Bois Caïman ceremony has often been used as a source of inspiration to nationalists and as a symbol of resistance to oppression.
In pop culture, Bois Caiman has been referenced in music and other artistic works as a symbol of resistance and unity. In the 1970s, Roots Music has referred to the Bois Caiman event as a parallel to resisting the Duvalier totalitarian regime like their ancestors.
Due to the influx of American protestants in Haiti during the 1990s, some neo-evangelical Christians rewrote the events at Bois Caïman as a Haitian "blood pact with Satan" [ citation needed ] These Evangelicals developed a counter-narrative to the official national story. In this narrative, the ancestral spirits at the Vodou cemetery were re-cast as demons. In their view, the engagement with demons amounted to a pact that put Haiti under the rule of Satan. While some Haitian Evangelicals subscribe to this idea, most Haitian nationalists vehemently oppose it. This belief was referenced by Christian media personality Pat Robertson in his controversial comments during the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Robertson declared the Haitian people "have been cursed by one thing after the other" since the 18th century after swearing "a pact to the devil". Robertson's comments were denounced.They were influenced by "spiritual warfare" theology and concerned that the Aristide government had made efforts to incorporate the Vodou sector more fully into the political process.
Erzulie is a family of loa, or spirits, in Vodou.
Saint-Domingue was a French colony on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola from 1659 to 1804, in what is now Haiti.
Cap-Haïtien, often referred to as Le Cap or Au Cap, is a commune of about 190,000 people on the north coast of Haiti and capital of the department of Nord. Previously named Cap‑Français and Cap‑Henri, it was historically nicknamed the Paris of the Antilles, because of its wealth and sophistication, expressed through its architecture and artistic life. It was an important city during the colonial period, serving as the capital of the French Colony of Saint-Domingue from the city's formal foundation in 1711 until 1770 when the capital was moved to Port-au-Prince. After the Haitian Revolution, it became the capital of the Kingdom of Northern Haiti under King Henri Christophe until 1820.
Ezilí Dantor or Erzulie Dantó is the main loa or senior spirit of the Petro family in Haitian Vodou.
Haitian Vodou is a syncretic mixture of Roman Catholic rituals developed during the French colonial period, based on traditional African beliefs, with roots in Dahomey, Kongo and Yoruba traditions, and folkloric influence from the indigenous Taino peoples of Haiti. The Loa, or spirits with whom Vodouisants work and practice, are not gods but servants of the Supreme Creator Bondye. In keeping with the French-Catholic influence of the faith, vodousaints are for the most part monotheists, believing that the Loa are great and powerful forces in the world with whom humans interact and vice versa, resulting in a symbiotic relationship intended to bring both humans and the Loa back to Bondye. "Vodou is a religious practice, a faith that points toward an intimate knowledge of God, and offers its practitioners a means to come into communion with the Divine, through an ever evolving paradigm of dance, song and prayers."
The Haitian Revolution was a successful insurrection by self-liberated slaves against French colonial rule in Saint-Domingue, now the sovereign state of Haiti. The revolt began on 22 August 1791, and ended in 1804 with the former colony's independence. It involved blacks, mulattoes, French, Spanish, and British participants—with the ex-slave Toussaint Louverture emerging as Haiti's most charismatic hero. The revolution was the only slave uprising that led to the founding of a state which was both free from slavery, and ruled by non-whites and former captives. It is now widely seen as a defining moment in the history of the Atlantic World.
Boukman Eksperyans is a mizik rasin band from the city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Grammy nominated for their debut album Vodou Adjae. The band derives its name from Dutty Boukman, a vodou priest who led a religious ceremony in 1791 that is widely considered the start of the Haitian Revolution. The other half of the band's name, "Eksperyans", is the Haitian Creole word for "experience", and was inspired by the band's appreciation of the music of Jimi Hendrix. The band was at the height of its popularity in 1991 when the presidency of Jean Bertrand Aristide was overthrown in a military coup d'etat. Like many other artists and performers, Boukman Eksperyans fled the country to live in exile. During their time abroad, the band performed and spoke out against the military dictatorship of Raoul Cédras. In 1994, after Aristide was restored to power, the band returned to Haiti, where they continued to play concerts, record albums, and perform at the Carnival celebrations.
François Mackandal was a Haitian Maroon leader in Haiti. He is sometimes described as a Haitian vodou priest, or houngan. For joining Maroons to kill whites in Saint Domingue, he was captured and burned alive by French colonial authorities.
Dutty Boukman was an early leader of the Haitian Revolution. Born in Senegambia, he was captured, enslaved and transported to Jamaica. He eventually ended up in Haiti, where he became a leader of the Maroons and a vodou hougan (priest).
Georges Biassou was an early leader of the 1791 slave rising in Saint-Domingue that began the Haitian Revolution. With Jean François and Jeannot, he was prophesied by the vodou priest, Dutty Boukman, to lead the revolution.
Jeannot Bullet, often mononymed as Jeannot, was a leader of the 1791 slave rising that began the Haitian Revolution. With Biassou and Jean François, he was prophesied by Dutty Boukman to lead the revolution, and fought with the Spanish royalists against the French Revolutionary authorities in colonial Haiti.
A mambo is a priestess in the Haitian Vodou religion. Haitian Vodou's conceptions of priesthood stem from the religious traditions of enslaved people from Dahomey, in what is today Benin. For instance, the term mambo derives from the Fon word nanbo. Like its West African counterpart, Haitian mambos are female leaders in Vodou temples who perform healing work and guide others during complex rituals. This form of female leadership is prevalent in urban centers such as Port-au-Prince. Typically, there is no hierarchy among mambos and houngans. These priestesses and priests serve as the heads of autonomous religious groups and exert their authority over the devotees or spiritual servants in their hounfo (temples). Mambos and houngans are called into power via spirit possession or the revelations in a dream. They become qualified after completing several initiation rituals and technical training exercises where they learn the Vodou spirits by their names, attributes, and symbols. The first step in initiation is lave tèt, which is aimed at the spirits housed in an individual's head. The second step is known as kouche, which is when the initiate enters a period of seclusion. Typically, the final step is the possession of the ason, which enables the mambo or houngan to begin their work. One of the main goals of Vodou initiation ceremonies is to strengthen the mambo's konesans—knowledge that determines priestly power.
Haitian Vodou is an African diasporic religion that developed in Haiti between the 16th and 19th centuries. It arose through a process of syncretism between the traditional religions of West Africa and Roman Catholicism. Adherents are known as Vodouists or "servants of the spirits".
Cécile Fatiman (1771-1883), was a Haitian vodou priestess, a mambo (Voodoo). She is famous for her participation in the vodou ceremony at Bois Caïman, which is considered to be one of the starting points of the Haitian Revolution.
The 1804 Haiti massacre was carried out against the French population and French Creoles remaining in Haiti following the Haitian Revolution, by soldiers, mostly former slaves, under orders from Jean-Jacques Dessalines. He had decreed that all suspected of conspiring in the acts of the expelled army should be put to death. It has been described as a genocide.
Polish Haitians are Haitian people of Polish ancestry or a Pole with Haitian citizenship. Cazale, which is a small village in Haiti about 45 miles away from Port-au-Prince in the Grand'Anse Department, is the main center of population of the Polish community in Haiti, called La Pologne (Poland). The name Cazale, or the home of Zalewski as many locals believe, originates from the popular Polish surname Zalewski and the Haitian Creole word for home ; is the home to those of Polish descent.
Black Power in the Caribbean refers to political and social movements in the Caribbean region from the mid-1960s to mid-1970s that focused on overturning the existing racist power structure. Guyanese academic Walter Rodney famously defined the movement as follows: “Black Power in the West Indies means three closely related things”:
The Indigenous Army, also known as the Army of Saint-Domingue, was the group of gens de couleur, free blacks; affranchis, Mulatto Haitians; and slaves that fought in the Haitian Revolution . They were not officially called the Armée Indigène until January 1803, under the leadership of Dessalines . Led by famous leaders such as Vincent Ogé, Toussaint Louverture, and Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the Armée Indigène would consolidate their power and fight using guerilla tactics to make the Haitian Revolution the first successful revolution of its kind.
During the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804), Haitian women of all social positions participated in the revolt that successfully ousted French colonial power from the island. In spite of their various important roles in the Haitian Revolution, women revolutionaries have rarely been included within historical and literary narratives of the slave revolts. However, in recent years extensive academic research has been dedicated to their part in the revolution.
Romaine-la-Prophétesse, born Romaine Rivière around 1750 in Santo Domingo, was a free black coffee plantation owner and leader of an uprising early in the Haitian Revolution, who for a time controlled the two main cities in southern Haiti, Léogâne and Jacmel.