Horror historically always seems to hover around the aspect of religion, good defeating evil for that matter all early wars evolved around religion until the true discovery of using petroleum as a fuel, now we fight about religion and oil but I am almost crossing the line about politics!
The 1791 Slave Rebellion in Haiti is a classic example of good defeating evil sort of… People of the day held religion as their highest priority. Although owning slaves was viewed as a simple business decision with no thought of human life except on how to breed slaves to make bigger stronger workers.
Quick history of Haiti, Haiti was originally Hispanola named by Christopher Columbus Dec 5th, 1492. Its native people were small in numbers but soon over ran by ships carrying loads of slaves to work the fields growing sugar cane. Originally a Spanish colony, it was taken over by French buccaneers who used the island of Tortuga (1625, an actual place not only in The Pirates of The Caribbean), as a launching ground for raids on Spanish ships. France quickly made claim to the island but the Spanish held on in the areas that became The Dominican Republic in later years. Sugar expanded to indigo and cotton. This flourishing business gave great wealth to France and the slave owners drove their slaves hard in darkened misery of endless days of work. Voodoo was the chosen religious practice chosen by the slaves something that the so called Christian slave owners would try to beat out of them.
By 1791 the slave population reached a staggering 790,000! With only 32,000 being white. Some slaves tried planning revolts, but were slaughtered, gutted and hung around the cities and plantations to warn the other slaves to ‘stay in line’ others were so savagely beaten by their Christian owners that they would remain crippled for the rest of their lives.
Voodoo was a pagan ritual seen as a type of demonic practice or ‘pact with the devil’ as the recent Pat Robertson so affectionately yet irresponsibly reminded us of and caused our wonderful Dai Green to send that nice email to the 700 Club, Pat Robertson’s launching ground for his cult like practice of evangelism. Voodoo in fact is a blending of African religious beliefs and Christianity which was forced upon the slaves as they became the property of their Christian owners. As the generations of slaves progressed so did the blending which eventually became known as voodoo.
1791 led to the breaking point, Boukman Dutty a self educated slave and voodoo high priest (witch doctor) led the successful slaughter of the white dominance on the island. Boukman was large in stature with a rage unlike anything the Christian’s had seen, leading them to believe even more that voodoo had made his rage so intense to lead the hundreds of thousands of his people into revolt. He was viewed as being invincible by his followers and many French as well.
Such a rising could only be seen as a ‘pact with the devil’ in the eyes of the French Christians. The Christian slave owners could not fathom their God would let such a uprising against his Christian followers, they only knew this had to be the devils work.
Boukman on the eve of the first organized attack slaughtered a pig in sacrifice and ‘cast aside the image of the God of the whites.’ Being interpreted wrongly as a revolt against God but in fact a revolt against the white God who was seen by the Boukman’s followers as letting it be ok for a human to be slaved to another human. Simply put, practice what you preach.
Saint Domingue saw some 1800 plantations burned to the ground and 1000 slave owners savagely killed ripped to pieces, burned alive or dragged to their death in one of the bloodiest horrific uprisings to date. Rumors of slave owners were reported to be used in human sacrifices with various body parts being consumed by Boukman’s followers adding to the intense state of horror felt by the French colony. It was viewed as Boukman was demonically possessed by the devil himself.
The uprising ceremony is remembered as ‘The event of the Bwa Kayiman ceromony’ it forms the important part of the identify of the genesis of the Hatian people. Still viewed as a ‘pact with the devil’ by many Christians who do not understand its meaning or heritage.
Boukman a few months later was caught by the French, brutality tortured in public until his death and dismemberment where his head was put on display to show his disciples that he was indeed defeated and he was not invincible as previously thought.
August 29, 1793 slavery was abolished in the Northern territories of Haiti and eventually completely by 1794. The United States took nearly 71 years (1865) to follow France.
Horror, Religion, & Voodoo