Boukman wasn't muslim

Origin of the Bwa Kay Iman lieBois Caïman and plant namesKay + Iman in Northern Haitian Creole
Boukman wasn't JamaicanOrigin of the Boukman nameBoukman wasn't named Zamba
Boukman didn't know how to readCécile Fatiman wasn't muslimTamerlan wasn't muslim
Dédé Magrite wasn't muslimAzaka is not muslimDessalines wasn't muslim
Boukman wasn't the revolutionary army's leader


Author : Rodney Salnave
Function : Dougan (Scribe)
Date : September 10, 2017
(Updated : Jan. 9, 2018)

The Haitian Revolution, which is generally poorly studied, is constantly bombarded with a burst of erroneous revisions from pseudo-historians, demagogue researchers, sentimental ultra-liberals, pan-african embellishers, reactionary African-Americans, christian fundamentalists and islamic proselytes, amongst others.
For their own reasons, these distinct and parasitical groups agree, without any tangible proof, that the Haitian Revolution results from the religious contribution of Boukman whom they consider to be of muslim faith. And as for the Haitian intellectuals who should naturally restore the facts, they produce and convey the majority of these historical deformations, due to their cultural alienation. Being alienated, therefore incapable of conceiving themselves outside of the domination of others (whether to embrace or to criticize), these irresponsible intellectuals insert islam into the Haitian Revolution in order to find a master, and a justification to their poor existence.
By means of verifiable proofs, we shall here show that Boukman, one of this noble Revolution's heroes, was not a muslim; and could not have been.

1- Boukman was not the instigator of the Haitian revolution

We have in previous articles demonstrated that Boukman didn't come from Jamaica, that he couldn't read, that he didn't live in Morne Rouge, that he wasn't the leader of the revolutionary army, and that his name "Boukman" was christian, of Flanders origin. Now, we say that Boukman wasn't the instigator of the Haitian revolution, as is claimed. This revolution originated in the theocratic conception of the Saint Domingue (Haiti) captives (slaves), and not in the work of any muslim. Here is the chronology of the revolutionary plot :
  • In 1679, the ancestors of the Haitians, first arrived as captives in the French colony of Saint Domingue. (Not to be confused with the blacks who came centuries prior in the Spanish part of the island, and with whom the Haitians did not mix, and vice versa, due to mutual rejection.) (1) The French side captives came from Theocratic societies and practiced a royalist religion. The most numerous group in the North as in the whole colony, "The Congos were converted to Christianity by the Portuguese 200 years ago, their Kings have always been Christians since that time, and many of these Negroes are baptized, but scarcely one finds in some a slight tincture of our Mysteries." (2) Although they retained almost nothing of the Christian doctrine which they syncretized, these Congo had no difficulty in identifying with the christian royalty of France. Especially since the Jesuit missionaries (in the North), great royalists, took charge of maintaining this royal affection in the hearts of the captives. In Saint Domingue, that took the "Saint Name" (Zina dia Santu) (3) or the royal title of Dom Pedro III, the King of Congo/Angola. This King of Angola (Wa Dangòl), still deified in Haiti, Nzimba Ntumba, was his real name, was in function from 1668 to 1683, at the time of the first captives  landings (1679).
  • Around 1762, the Chevalier d'Hericourt, heir to the de Manquets plantation (later Noé), located at l'Acul-du-Nord, acquired 120 captives. Of these, there was probably a certain Jean-Jacques, possibly Creole, who would become one of the two commanders of this sugar plantation. This Jean-Jacques was not an ordinary captive. Over time, he will challenge the master-slave relationship, placing the blacks above the whites. These actions will influence the parish, its surroundings and even the outbreak of the Haitian revolution. Jean-Jacques, whose function as commander was to make the captives work for the benefit of the owner, formed instead a sort of union. Although he was a captive, he was paid. He chose whites to be employed on the dwelling, organized strikes-marronnage followed by pay on return. He encouraged the captives to slow down their pace of work, and so on. And even after receiving his unofficial liberty (savanna freedom), he continued to corrupt the workers and openly defied the system at the risk of his life. (4) However, Jean-Jacques's syndicalism did not reach the pre-revolutionary stage. For, despite the constant deterioration of working conditions leading to the death of several captives, physical violence was not envisaged by his syndicate. Boukman's presence at l'Acul-du-Nord will change that.
  • On December 3, 1784, King Louis XVI issued a decree aimed at improving the treatment of captives that were abused by the Procureurs-Économes or Plantation Managers because of a very high rate of absenteeism amongst owners living in France. Then, a year later, on December 23, 1785, he issued an additional decree condemning the resistance of the colonists and Procureurs-Économes to the application of the first decree. The captives, informed by the priests and other royalists of these decrees, saw in them proofs that their interests were linked to the king's authority.
  • In 1787, Jean-François, the future King of the Revolutionary Army, fled the Papillon plantation of l'Acul-du-Nord, where, it is said, he occupied the post of Commander. He will bring to the maroons the dominating attitude that Jean-Jacques had spread in the parish. However, he left on the same Papillon plantation, Mademoiselle Charlotte, the Goddess and future Queen of the Haitian revolution.
  • But, in 1789, the French Revolution dethroned Louis XVI, the captives sole support, and at the same time reduced the ecclesiastical power. It goes without saying that this new state of things deeply desolated the captives identifying themselves with the monarchy politically as much as religiously. For everything in their religion denotes royalty: the royal Petro rite (from King Dom Pedro III), the Agasou dahomean cult (pronounced Agassou) reserved for royalty, that of the Queen of Congo, the King of Angola, and Even of Saint-Louis-Roi-de-France (Saint-Louis-King-of-France), syncretised with the Congo cult, remain perennial in Haiti. 
  • That same year of 1789, Boukman, then a marooned from the Turpin plantation in Limbé, after receiving a rifle shot on this estate, was apprehended and sold to the Clément plantation of l'Acul-du-Nord: "We have a few other pieces of informations about Boukman. Leclerc, the procureur-syndic of the Limbé town council at the time of the insurrection and later, from October 1792 to June 1793, the governement delegate to the Le Cap law court, drew up some notes that inform us that Bookman had been a slave on his familiy's plantation and that he was considered a "bad slave." He ran away but did not go far; he came back to the plantation at night to get food. After being discovered one night by Leclerc's brother, he was shot and wounded, then sold. This is how he ended up on the Clément plantation in Acul, a parish next to Limbé." (5) Boukman's arrival in l'Acul-du-Nord will offer the option of revolutionary violence to the captives of this neighborhood already crowded with ideas of superiority, thanks to the work of Jean-Jacques. This place will become the epicenter of the Haitian revolution. Not Morne Rouge where Boukman never lived.
  • Still in 1789, one day, according to the testimony of Colonel Paul Aly, his former comrade-in-arms and friend, Toussaint Louverture listened intently to the conversation of a royalist [most probably Séraphin Salnave] with Bayon de Libertat, of whom he was the coachman. These 2 royalists and members of the "Counter-Revolutionary Committee of Le Cap", were studying the best ways to "carry out this terrible insurrection." (6) Toussaint, free for many years, surprised them by injecting that "the sole  promise of a three-day franchise per week and the abolition of the punishment of the whip would suffice to raise the workshops." (7) 4 of the members of this "Counter-Revolutionary Committee of Le Cap" later became Toussaint's advisers. According to Deputy-Commissioner Sonthonax, (8) there were two priests : Father Martini and Father Antheaume, Toussaint's confessor ; and 2 stewards of the Comte de Noé : Bayon de Libertat, former manager of the Bréda plantation in Haut-du-Cap and the de Manquets plantation in l'Acul-du-Nord, and Séraphin Salnave, an émigré who will write Toussaint proclamations, (9) the godfather of his son. (10) In short, Bayon recommended Toussaint to the committee, which, recommended Toussaint as a leader to the royalists of the metropolis. It should be pointed out, though, that the royalists were not in charge. In an August 25, 1793, proclamation addressed to the Saint Domingue inhabitants, Toussaint Louverture reminded them that he was the revolution's instigator, and that during his collaboration with white and mulatto royalists he received no orders from them. His decisions came mostly from the Supreme Being who inspired him.+
  • In October-November 1789, Bacon de la Chevalerie, a royalist who sought to frighten the metropolis, landed at Saint Domingue in order to incite the captives to revolt. He would have had contact with Jeannot Bullet, who served him as guide. But his imported project aborted. (11)
  • 1789-1790, republican free blacks and mulattoes claimed the political equality promised by the new regime. After the rejection of their proposals, they shed blood, and the leaders, Chavannes and Ogé, were captured, condemned and cruelly executed. Their followers, free men who couldn't care less about the captives, having fled, now turn to them as potential manipulable allies.
  • January 3, 1790, this letter written symbolically on the day of epiphany or Three Kings' day (the 3 Wise Men), that is on the first Monday of January 1790, was addressed to "Toussaint Louverture". It came from the royalist Boufon, Secretary of the Council of Versailles, and denotes that Toussaint bore this evocative name prior to the general uprising, and in 1789 at the latest :


Source : Título de la unidad: "Conflictos con Francia" Archivo: Archivo General de Simancas Signatura: SGU,LEG,7157,3
  • That same year of 1790, still according to Paul Aly++ : "Toussaint chose his most intimate friends, Jean-François Papillon, Georges Biassou, Boukman Dutty and Jeannot Bullet, and the conspirators gathered and distributed the roles. Jean-Francois obtained the first rank, Biassou the second, and Boukman and Jeannot, more audacious, took charge of directing the first movements, and Toussaint reserved the role of intermediary between the conspirators and the secret drivers of the insurrection [Counter-Revolutionary Committee of Le Cap]." (Transl.) (12)
  • On September 5, 1790, a police report identified an armed band with Yorch (Georges) Biassou as King, seconded by Boukman and Barthélemi Roquefort : "That it was Barthélemi, a negro of M. Roquefort, of La Petite-Anse, who was the chief with Boukman, that there was a king named Yorch, a negro of M. Biassou, that there were many mulattoes in the band, that it was the colonel of the regiment of Le Cap who carried them to revolt..." (Transl.) (13)
  • In the month of March, 1791, Mademoiselle Charlotte also fled from the Papillon estate. Given the coquetry of this beautiful foula (fulani), this future Queen must have been assured by Jean-François of the nearing uprising, before accepting to join him in the precariousness of  marronnage life.
  • Then on Sunday, August 14, 1791, during the day, about 200 plantation commanders and coachmen gathered at Morne Rouge, not secretly, to fix the date of the general insurrection. "A false gazette was produced which reported that the king and the national assembly had granted the slaves three days a week and the abolition of the punishment of the whip, but that the colonial assembly and the whites did not want to enforce this law of France, and a young man of color, Candide, was won by Boukman, and read this gazette to the slaves of the plain, secretly assembled on the 14th of August, on the Lenormand de Mézy estate in Morne-Rouge. (...) Boukman announced to these conspirators that new troops from Europe were expected to come to execute the laws of the metropolis, and that the slaves would then rise up to keep this execution from failling, and that he himself would give the signal by rising up with the workshop of the Turpin plantation of which he was one of the commanders." (Transl.) (14) This decision will be followed by an offering.
  • On Sunday, August 21, 1791, the rebels organized a second religious meeting during the day as well.
  • On the night of August 22, 1791, the day after the second religious meeting, Boukman, as agreed, began the insurrection in l'Acul-du-Nord, with the additional help of his former colleagues of the Turpin plantation of Limbé.
As we shall see below, Jean-Jacques des Manquets gave the same version of the facts concerning the influence of the royalists (and not islam) ; and this on the very night of the general uprising.

2- Boukman during the night of the uprising

On the night of August 22, 1791, François-Alexandre Beau, a young procureur or manager of the Clément estate had his life saved by Boukman. Thanks to his eyewitness account, we will examine Boukman's actions and that of his companions in arms in order to evaluate their religious allegiance.
a) Prior to the hostilities, Boukman and some rebels had broke into the Trémes or Trenet estate, in order to seize the arms of Dutheil, a carpenter whom they forced into signing a piece of paper :
"On the 22nd of August, at eleven o'clock in the evening, the negro Bouqman, a coachman of the Clément estate, of which I was a manager, at the head of some negroes from the Limbé and others from the l’Acul quarter, went on the Trémes [or Trenet] estate, seated at the said quarter, seizes the arms of citizen Dutheil, carpenter and manager of the dwelling, and after having contented himself with making him sign a declaration as he pleases, brings him with him." (Transl.) (15)
We see in this last action, a proof that Boukman could not sign his own passing tickets, and that he needed the carpenter whom he brought with him for that purpose. (See the article "Boukman didn't know how to read", for more on that).
b) Then, Boukman and his band went to the Noé plantation where the first drops of white blood were poured, strategically as a tribute to Jean-Jacques des Manquets' long work :
"From there they go to the neighboring plantation belonging to citizen Noé, seize the apprentice refiner. His cries bring citizen Demené [Dumesnil], manager, out of the big house : he is overthrown by two shots in his garden, and they walked to the apartment of the sieur Curiel, a refiner, not far away, murdered him in his bed and dragged him outside, strike with a saber a sick young man who, left for dead, took refuge on the neighboring plantation where they learned the horrors of which he was a witness and where, a few days later, he was killed by the brother of the negress who cared for him, who was the commander of that plantation. (…) After having plundered thoroughly the estate's big house, they went with their prisoners to the Clément plantation." (Transl.) (16)
The Clément plantation is the residence of both Boukman and the young narrator, François-Alexandre Beau, nicknamed the "Clément procurer" or the "manager of the Clément plantation" by modern historians.
c) When Boukman's troops approached the Clément estatate's master house (or big house), François-Alexandre Beau, awakened by the din, cried "Who goes there?!" The insurgents' response was not "The soldiers of Allah", but rather "It's death" :
"At the sound of the gunshot that had overthrown citizen Feurouge, my dog, who slept in the gallery near my room, barked to the point that he woke me up. Bothered by the continuous barking, I get up to silence him, after which I went back to sleep. A quarter of an hour later, the poor dog begins barking again with more force. But [the rebels] had already taken possession of all the avenues of the big house; at the noise they made, I hastily emerged from my bed and shouted, "Who goes there?" A voice of thunder answered me : it's death!" (Transl.) (17)
So there was nothing islamic in the rebel response. 
d) Once in the big house, the insurgents that some paint as muslims, did not shout "Allah u akbar!" (God of the muslims is great). In their murderous movements, they repeated the word "tue, tue" (kill, kill) :
"At the same time I heard a considerable quantity of fire-shots, and the voice of a multitude of negroes, that filled the house with these terrible words : tue, tue (kill, kill). Seeing what it was all about, and not being able to escape, I ran to my pistols: fortunately for me they were not loaded, I say fortunately because if they had been, I would have defended myself, would have killed some of the assailants and would not have avoided succumbing to their blows." (Transl.) (18) 
Tue, tue, or tchwe, tchwe, in modern Creole for kill, kill, is not a shout referring to religion. 
e) During the big house attack, Boukman killed Clément, his owner. François-Alexandre, who hid behind his bed, was discovered by a member of the band. The colonist, in exchange for his life, invited the rebels to take whatever he possessed. One of them gave an answer in which "buffet a li" (his armoire) is spoken. "Buffet a li" contains "a" which is a marker of possession in Northern Creole, when placed between the possessed object (buffet) and the possessor (li) :
"I approached tremblingly these few negroes, and said to them : "Take everything I have; Leave me my life!" They replied with an air of derision : "que ça l'y vlé nou prend, ni a poin a rien encore dans buffet a li" [What does he want us to take from him? He has nothing left in his armoire.] ; While telling me that they went out and shut the door after them." (Transl.) (19)
The Northern possession marker "a" is not found in the revisionist expression "Bwa Kay Iman" (House of Iman in a Wooded area). If expressed in Northern Saint Domingue (Haiti) where the Bois Caïman ceremony took place, that phrase would have been "Bwa Kay a Iman". 
f) François-Alexandre's life was spared by Boukman who valued the knowledge of that young colonist :
"Fate had ordered it otherwise: the commander of that sanguinary horde named Bouqman, for whom I have always had a great deal of kindness, arrived at that moment and perceiving me in my room, the door of which was half broken, all bloodied and Despairing, had compassion on me, and addressed his people, and said to them eagerly, "Do not kill him, he is a good white and more knowledgeable than all the others who are here." (20)
Our article "Boukman didn't know how to read" offer more details on unwarranted credit that Boukman granted to the young settler.
g) After the initial attacks, some of the insurgents appeared to be mitigating, when the gravity of the situation hit them. And as a motivation, Boukman did not throw them a koranic verse, as a muslim warrior would have done. Far from it, Boukman, like a workshop commander, threatened them with his weapon, calling them "negro dogs" :
"Peacefully, we followed the brigands who recruited into the negro huts, both by force and goodwill, and the negroes already seemed to have remorse for the crimes they had just committed, but they did not want to go any farther, but Bouqman, who was no doubt more interested than others that things did not stop there, places himself behind them and striking with the butt of his rifle: "Walk, negro dogs, walk, or I shoot you with shots!"" (Transl.) (21) 
This was the perfect opportunity where, if Boukman was inspired by islam, he would have sought to motivate his soldiers with muslim doctrinal references. But this was not the case.h) In order to prevent other black rebels from killing François-Alexandre and the other settlers who had been spared, Boukman gave the charge of the young colonist and two other whites to two rebels (Jean-Jacques from the des Manquets (or Noé) estate, and Vincent from Clément). The settlers who had been spared were led, for their safety, to the des Manquets plantation. They questioned Jean-Jacques des Manquets and Vincent who indicated why they were in revolt, which concerned the royal promise of 3 days of weekly leave for the captives ; and that they protected certain settlers, including catholic priests, to maintain the exercise of that religion :
"Then I entered into conversation with the two negro guards : Jean-Jacques belonging to the comte de Noé and Vincent belonging to my cousin ; I asked them whom might be the authors of such a great event, and what were their views in doing so many crimes. They replied that they were the big whites of France, [Boufon, Secretary of the Council of Versailles], that their object was to punish us for having dethroned the king, that we had no faith, no law, no religion, that we had burned at Port-au-Prince the act of the king, which granted the negroes three days of the week. [Toussaint Louverture's idea] The two negroes added that if they had not received orders from these big whites (grands blancs) to revolt in order to contribute to the re-establishment on the king's throne, the object concerning them would not have carried them to such extremities, since they were not sufficiently intelligent and too limited to conceive such a vast project, which consisted of nothing less than destroying all the whites, with the exception of a few non-owners, priests, surgeons and women, to set fire to all the plantations and to make themselves master of the country.I expressed my astonishment at all that I heard, but I did not allow myself any reflection ; I simply asked them why they excepted priests, surgeons, and women ; they replied that they preserved the priests for the exercise of religion, the surgeons to cure them in their illnesses, and the women to make them theirs and pregnant, some whites to govern, given their defects of industry and capacity." (Transl.) (22) 
Here, in the very night of August 22-23, 1791, the rebels of l'Acul, the epicenter of the insurrection, showed they were motivated by the royal promise of improving captives working conditions. So did Francois aka Dechaussée of the Chapotin plantation, who was arrested two or three days prior, on the 20th of August, in Limbé, when, accompanied by Boukman and a few others, he set fire on the Chabaud plantation. Unlike François, who underwent interrogation in Limbé, Jean-Jacques and Vincent, as guardians and protectors of their French interlocutors, expressed themselves in a position of strength. But their answers were the same. And as far as their religious point of view was concerned, they advocated the catholic religious values that French republicans seemed to have lost. And that the Saint Domingue revolutionaries retained ; at least, in the syncretic form.
i) And the following morning, up until noon, the rebel guards were only drinking alcohol, without even eating. A clearly non-muslim act :
"Towards noon our guards, already sipping wine, having drunk all morning, told us that they were going to dine on the Clément plantation [were Boukman resides], and not to worry that they would soon be back." (Transl.) (23)
That the rebel guards were drinking is not at all trivial ; in particular coming from Jean-Jacques des Manquets. Him who mentally prepared the people of l'Acul-du-Nord for this insurrection, was nevertheless considered a "complete drunk" for over a decade, which gave him eye trouble. (24) Also, the fact that these completely rebel guards went to eat, completely drunk, at the Clément plantation, where Boukman resided, shows that Boukman wasn't not of the muslim faith.
j) On that day, Boukman's soldiers, approaching the Godin plantation that they were going to attack, were questioned by the colonists in these words: "Who goes there?!" And as non-muslims, they did not reply "Soldiers of Allah". Instead, they identified themselves as "Gens du roi", meaning "People of the king" :
"The day was ready to appear when the rebels attacked the neighboring plantation. Mr. Godin, the own er,  together with three other whites, to the noise they had heard on the Clément residence, had prepared themselves for the defense ; so that when they heard them coming, they cried unto them : "Who goes there?!" The negroes replied, Gens du roi", ("People of the king") and the whites gave them a discharge of musketry, which more than disconcerted them, and they recoiled, and Bouqman, who commanded them, harangued them so well that they returned to the charge, the whites took refuge in a neighboring cane-room." (Transl.) (25)
k) On the Flaville plantation, black women, supporting the rebellious cause, used their feminine charm, non-muslim behavior, to ensure that a wounded white man, pretending to be dead, is indeed finished :
"A refiner after receiving pistol shots, that reached him once on the wrist and the other over his shoulder, was left for dead. Negresses wanted to have the barbarous pleasure after that to make him sniff their natural parts. The poor white man, who had the misfortune to give a sign of life, was again assailed by these frightful shrews, who threatened him at any moment, and said to him : "Had we've known that you were not dead, we would have fetched negroes to finish you" ; and finally he had the firmness to imitate the dead so well that they believed it to be so, and left him, therefore, in a state of great pain." (Transl.) (26)
l) In Saint Domingue, islam did not transfer easily from one generation to the next. Thus, the chances that a creole, i.e. a captive born in the islands, would be islamized, were slim. The mulattoes, being as Boukman, born in the Americas, and not on the mother continent, had, as a group, much less chance of being exposed to muslim doctrine. Now, from the first moments of the insurrection, the mulattoes took part in the rebellion, thus demonstrating that islam was not a factor :
"The day dawned, the rebels scoured the whole plain with frightful cries, burned and slaughtered the whites who had the misfortune to fall into their hands. Mr. Chauvet, a member of the General Assembly, was trying to escape, he was ruthlessly murdered by a sixteen-year-old mulatto, his son, to whom he intended to leave his fortune. And the negress, mother of the villain who still lived with Mr. Chauvet, was so indignant at such an inhuman act, that despair took possession of her and brought her to take her own life." (Transl.) (27)
These mulattoes were not islamized Mandingoes. Some of them were instead sympathizers of Vincent Ogé, as was the case with Jean-Baptiste Cap :
"But a band of free negroes and mulattoes, most of whom were condemned in absentia in the Ogé affair, had come from Grande-Riviere to Mr. de Galliffet's estate, and excited the negroes to revolt." (Transl.) (28)
m) The following evening, Boukman's bands faced French troops. And Boukman was very surprised when Tousard (Touzard), the royalist colonel who, in 1790 supplied him with weapons, fired on him :
"The engineers of the insurrection had caused the negroes to think that they would only fight against the country's inhabitants, and that the island's troops would never fire upon them, and they advanced boldly upon our army ; but such was their surprise when they saw that Le Cap's regiment charged them sharply : they quickly repented of their boldness, Bouqman, who commanded them, said : "I am betrayed, M. de Touzard promised me that the regiment from Le Cap would never fire on our people and that I would only deal with the settlers."" (Transl.) (29)
The latter quote provides further proof that Boukman was fighting for the royalist cause that could lighten the heavy burden of his people. In fact, the first Haitian historian, Baron de Vastey, a native of the North and a contemporary of Boukman, went along the same line :
"The generals Jean-François, Biassou, Bouquemand, Candi, etc. fought in the names of the kings of France and Spain, against the French republic." (Transl.) (30)
So there was no muslim feeling in Boukman, this traditionalist rebel leader. 

3- Boukman's death and funeral

On November 7, 1791, at l'Acul-du-Nord, his camp and place of residence, Boukman fell to a pistol shot. During 11 days of fierce fighting, he had taken refuge on a plantation's sugar-cane field, when Cambefort's troops, crawling on their stomachs, surprised them  : 
"I [colonel Cambefort] continued to charge the rebels on the road and in the canes (...) we killed about thirty, with our firearms and sabers : among these were Bouckmann ; he was carrying a two-shot gun, which he unloaded on me and Mr. Dubuisson. (...) The rifle that Bouckmann wore was that of his late master Mr. Clément, whom he had murdered. He had a pair of excellent pistols.
PS. - I have forgotten to speak to you of a valiant mulatto whose chief Boukmann he always accompanied ; he fought like a lion against three of my dragons before succumbing." (Transl.) (31) 
This valiant mulatto accompanying Boukman, was necessarily born in catholic America and not in islamic "Africa". His presence along side Boukman contradicts the unfounded revision that Boukman led a band of islamized mandingo captives.
A week later, on November 14, 1791, news of the loss of Boukman reached the Grande-Rivière-du-Nord camp. And according to Verneuil Gros, who was a prisoner in this camp, the rebels ordered a catholic funeral mass to honor the memory of Boukman, him who perished while defending the French royalty that was more generous to the captives ; and not for any muslim cause :
"On the 14th we learned of Bouqueman's death, and it would be impossible to describe the impression which this death made upon the negroes. The chiefs mourned and ordered a solemn service : (...) Already we've heard the negroes' speeches, and their criminal conspiracies were enough to frighten us, for it was nothing less than murdering us to avenge, said the Cannibals, their chief, who died for the most just cause, in defense of his king." (Transl.) (32)
Father Sulpice, the revolutionary army's chaplain, made catholic funeral masses for Boukman in all rebel held parishes :
"Boukman had his head cut off, and his corpse was burnt at the sight of Jean François' camp. His bloody head, transported to Le Cap, was exposed on a pike in the center of the place of arms. He had known how to make himself beloved by his companions, who regretted him, and carried several months mourning for him. Father Sulpice, the insurgents army's chaplain, celebrated masses for the rest of his soul in all the parishes in revolt. Sulpice was a European whom Jean François had saved from the massacre of the whites, and whom he filled with honors and wealth." (Transl.) (33) 
At Grande-Rivière, it was Father Phillippe who celebrated a mass (catholic) in homage to Boukman. He was subsequently arrested :
"Father Phillippe, who was the parish priest of Grande-Rivière, followed the insurgents. He celebrated a funeral service during Boukman's execution. He was later arrested by the French troops." (Transl.) (34) 
Finally, what about Philémon, the catholic priest of Limbé who paid the ultimate price for supporting Boukman's cause, was he a muslim
"The next day Father Philémon, the parish priest of Limbé, who was convicted of having maintained the negroes in the revolt, and having corresponded with their different chiefs and the Spaniards, was hanged on the Place d'Armes at four o'clock in the afternoon. Bouqman's head was exposed on the gallows to parody the intimate connection that had existed between him and this chief." (35)
The rebels, far from being muslims, sang a catholic mass for the late priest, and wore pieces of his clothes as protection in combat ; a behavior that is reminiscent of the Bois Caïman ceremony :
"A few days later it was learned at the Biassou's camp that Father Philémon had been condemned to be hanged, and that his execution had taken place at the place d'armes at Le Cap, in the presence of all the townsmen assembled.*
Biassou made a funeral ceremony in memory of Father Philémon, who was regarded as a martyr of religion and good cause, and the clothes he had left in the camp were cut in pieces, and each negro bore a piece of it, as a talisman capable of preserving him even from death.
*Author's note : I was in Cap-Français when the priest Philémon was condemned to the death penalty. Curiosity caused me to go witness this man accused of such great crimes, and convinced even by white prisoners who had escaped due to the disorder which the news of a sudden and general attack caused in Biassou's camp... (...)
He pushed his wickedness to the extent of uttering loudly with a strong voice, while stepping on the gibbet : "O God, who sees my innocence, forgive my executioners, as I forgive them." (Transl.) (36)
But the French were not the only ones seeking vengeance. According to Verneuil Gros, in retaliation for Boukman's death, the rebels danced a three-day calinda, an "extravagant and very indecent funeral dance" (37) of "African" origin, to parody Tousard, the French officer whom they also believed dead. (38) So if Boukman was an imam as some say, why would a catholic priest celebrate funeral masses in his honor instead of an imam who would have given him a muslim ceremonial? The answer is obvious. Boukman had no connection with the Mohammedan cult. All around him proves that he was fully immersed, on the contrary, in the traditional syncretic religion still practiced, almost identically, in Haiti, thanks to his sacrifice.

4- Boukman, was he really a religious leader?

A question lingers : namely, whether, besides being a military and political leader, Boukman was also a religious leader? Historian David Geggus, although he later concluded otherwise, nevertheless had long doubted that Boukman associated with religion, stating that "It is difficult to find any earlier sources, French or Haitian, that refer to Boukman as a priest." (39) Our research allows us to respond positively to the question asked. For, Boukman's contemporaries recognized him as a magician wielding traditional occult science in combat :

Translation :
"Extract from lettres de Paris, 
of January 12, [1792].
The vessel, le Solide, captain Dumas, who had left Cap Français on the 16th of November [1791], and arrived at Bordeaux in the first days of January, confirms all the details which we have given in our last sheets, and adds even more frightful
The negro Bouqueman was killed by Mr. Cambefort's soldiers. This negro was all the more dangerous, because he was considered a magician, and joined to the ascendancy of superstition that of ferocious intrepidity." (40)
Geggus was aware of a shortened version of this article, published in English, two days later, in the  English Chronicle and Universal Evening Post, January 14, 1792. This English version lacking Captain Dumas' confirmation, has led Geggus to deduce that was confusion between Boukman and Jeannot Bullet. (41) However, an additional search enabled us to certify that Captain Dumas was indeed in Cap Français from June or July 1791, which was one to two months prior the August 1791 insurrection outbreak. This classified advertisement appearing in the "Commerce - Avis Maritime" section of the newspaper Le Mercure Universel of Tuesday, March 1, 1791, proves that the ship Le Solide was filling the last places in Bordeaux for a Cap Français deestination :

Translation :
"The ship Le Solide, of Bordeaux, captain, Mr. Dumas, will set out for Le Cap incessantly, and will still take passengers, who will be conveniently accommodated. Contact Mr. Loriague and his eldest son, shipowners, or Mr. Clissié, broker." (42)
And as the ship Le Solide returned to Bordeaux on November 10 or 16, 1791, Captain Dumas  witnessed the three month period following the fateful date of August 22, 1791. And likewise, he witnessed Boukman's death that occurred on November 7, 1791. Thus, Captain Dumas was sufficiently informed to validate the information that the journalist had gathered from other sources that viewed Boukman both as a magician and a rebel leader. And there is no chance that Captain Dumas could confuse Boukman with Jeannot, since Boukman's head was exposed as early as November 7 in the Le Cap's public square. Captain Dumas, who sailed on the 16th of November, has observed  Boukman's head several times on his way to the harbor.
Finally, Colonel Paul Aly, a former rebel and contemporary of Boukman, presented him as a religious leader :
"Boukman also had recourse to the magic influence of fetishism." (Transl.) (43) 
Colonel Paul Aly, a former friend of Toussaint Louverture, shared his story to historian Céligny Ardouin in 1841. He then commanded a regiment in Santo Domingo, capital of the Spanish side. Paul Aly's testimony is credible since he had crossed to the Spanish camp with the first wave of rebels. And he remained in that country. Thus, geographical distance isolated him from the new Haitian historical discoveries. 

a) Boukman, was he present at the Morne Rouge meeting?

On the night of August 17, 1791, rebel captives lit a fire in Limbé, on the Chabaud plantation. Arrests followed. One of the incendiaries was François aka Dechaussée, a Métis commander of the Chapotin plantation. Arrested on August 20, he revealed in his interrogation a captive meeting held in Morne Rouge with the objective of destroying the colony :
"On the 14th of August, on the Lenormand [de Mézy] plantation, in Morne Rouge, a very large assembly of Negroes, composed of two deputies from all the workshops at Port-Margot, Limbé, Acul, Limonade, Plaine-du-Nord, Quartier Morin, Morne Rouge, & etc., etc., Etc. This assembly was destined to fix the day of the insurrection which had long been meditated. It was almost agreed that the plot would take place in the night itself, but the Negroes walked back on this decree, because they reflected that a project conceived in the afternoon would be difficult to carry out that evening." (Transl.) (44)
This Morne Rouge meeting will generally be known, rightly or wrongly, as Bois Caïman. And given that a sacrificial ceremony presided over by Boukman would have been held there, this event will become the Bois Caïman ceremony. Some Western or pro-christian revisionists seeking to marginalize the religious aspect of the Haitian revolution raise doubts about Boukman's presence at this ceremony. We recall that at least a year prior to this conspiracy meeting of August 14, 1791, and the general insurrection which it led to, Boukman already commanded along with Barthélemi an armed band belonging to George Biassou. (45) Barthélemy Roquefort, who co-directed this band with Boukman, became, in 1791, a general in the revolutionary army. Biassou, the King of this armed band, was promoted to the rank of Vice-Roy of the Revolutionary Army. This confirms that this armed band reported on September 5, 1790, was working for the revolution to come. And since Biassou was recognized as a traditional priest, then the band was not made up of islamized captives. (See the article "Boukman wasn't the revolutionary army's leader", for more on the religious nature of the other revolutionary army's members.)
Moreover, Hérard-Dumesle, the author who in 1824 reported the famous "oath" of Boukman, affirms that this leader was present at
the Morne Rouge meeting, and played a major part in it :

Translation :
 "Joseph Faviel succeeded Boukman, the principal conceptor of the Morne-Rouge meeting." (46)
Moreover, as we have said, on the night of August 17, 1791, 3 days after the Morne Rouge meeting, the rebels set fire on the Chabaud estate. During this night, Jacques Cautant, commander of the Desgrieux plantation, was arrested and through his interrogation revealed the encounter at Morne Rouge, and also Boukman and his associate Barthélemy among the incendiaries :
"We need to return to the parish of Limbé, to that Thursday, August 17, when the secrets were revealed... (...) A small group had already set fire to the trash house. When Chabaud arrived, they ran off, but he wounded and captured one, whose name was Jacques. A slave driver from the nearby Desgrieux estate, Jacques, ended up reavealing the meeting of August 14 and the decision to organize the insurrection. The fire was intended to announce it (…) Leclerc arrived and took down the confession of Jacques, which included names that would crop up again latter : Barthélémy, Paul, Boukman, and few others." (Transl.) (47)
In other words, Jacques, who was present at Morne Rouge, to the point of testifying, belonged to the group of Boukman and Barthélemy, who sought to make trouble since 1790 at the earliest. And aside from Barthélemy, Paul Blin, a future revolutionary army general, was also named by Jacques. Thus, the Limbé  fire was set by people who had participated in the Morne Rouge meeting. So Boukman, who was part of the lot, had to have, like them, attended the same meeting.
But Jacques Cautant's interrogation tells us more : 

"He is questioned, and testifies that all the commanders, coachmen, servants and chief trustees of the neighboring plantations and adjoining quarters formed the conspiracy to burn the plantations and slay all the whites." (Transl.) (48) 
So Boukman was worthy to attend this meeting of the privileged class since he was a coachman (49) like Toussaint Louverture, was coachman of the Bréda plantation. This point is settled. It is impossible that Boukman was absent from the Morne Rouge assembly in which the uprising date was to be chosen. This general uprising for which he has been working since 1790 at the latest.

5- Was the August 14th meeting at Morne Rouge religious?

The captive Francois aka Dechaussée of the Chapotin estate, in his interrogation, confirmed that the August 14, 1791, assembly at Morne Rouge was at first a political meeting. Not Boukman, but the mixed-race Candy, read a false newspaper (based on Toussaint Louverture's invention). The propaganda article in question announced the improvement of the captives' fate via a royal decree. And the local authorities, that are anti-royalists and pro French Revolution, had refused the application of that royal decree, as it had formerly done for the royal decree of December 3, 1784 and that of December 23, 1785 :
"The public papers were read to the assembled negroes by a mulatto or an unknown quarteron, who told them that the King and the National Assembly had granted them three days a week ; that the white settlers opposed it, and that it was necessary to await the arrival of the troops who would come to enforce this decree ; that this was the opinion of the majority, but that the negroes of some plantations of l'Acul [probably Boukman] and of Limbé wanted at all costs start the war against the whites before the troops' arrival." (Transl.) (50) 
To disregard the Haitian ancestral tradition, Western revisionists used the details mentioned to argue that no ceremony was held in this meeting in the Morne Rouge which was solely strategic and political. These Western revisionists having appropriated Boukman's "Prayer" or "Oath" poetically reported by Hérard-Dumesle, ignore or pretend to be unaware that this author has mentioned, a few lines above, that political planning was sealed by a religious ceremony :

Translation :
"Towards the middle of August [14], 1791, the cultivators, manufacturers and craftsmen of several workshops, assembled during the night, in the midst of a violent storm in a thick forest which covers the summit of Morne Rouge, formed the plan of a vast insurrection which they sanctified by a religious ceremony." (51)
So politics and religion made common cause during this Morne Rouge meeting. Thus, anyone who loves to regurgitate the Boukman "Prayer" or "Oath", must accept the rest of Hérard-Dumesle's text that also revealed a religious ceremony. You cannot have one without the other.

a) Was the August 14, 1791, meeting islamic?

The muslim revisionists, for their part, announce that the August 14, 1791 assembly, was used for the celebration of the muslim festival of 10 dhul'hija (or 10 of the month of dhul'hija in the year 1205 of the muslim lunar calendar) in which a sacrificial sheep should be offered :
"On the other hand, the date of this ceremony, 14 August 1791, when a sacrifice took place, corresponds to 14 Dhu Al-Hijja 1205 in the Hegira era (muslim lunar calendar), the last day of the Feast of Sacrifice (Aid-el-Adha or Aid-el-Kebir): a feast celebrated in memory of the sacrifice God demanded of Abraham.
Abraham was about to sacrifice his son but at the last moment, God had his son replaced by a sheep. During this "Sacrifice feast", muslim families kill a sheep and share it with each other and with the poor. It is celebrated 70 days after the end of Ramadan Fast and marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage.
It lasts 4 days, from the 10th to the 14th of Dhou Al-Hijja, which corresponded precisely in the year 1791 to the 10th to the 14th of August." (Transl.) (52)
This looks good. Except that, contrary to what this bold revisionist advances, in the islamic tradition, the annual immolation does not take place on the 14th of the month of hulhijja, but on the 10th :
"The sacrifice of Mina, 10 dhul'hijja. The most important of the muslim sacrifices is the one that is performed in Mina, Mekke, 10 dhul'hijja, on the occasion of the pilgrimage."(Transl.) (53)
Therefore, if the Bois Caïman ceremony in Morne Rouge had a muslim content, the sacrifice would have been undertaken on August 10, 1791, which corresponds to the 10 dhul'hijja 1205 of the islamic calendar. August 14, 1791 would have been too late. For if the first 10 days of the month of dhul'hijja are the most virtuous in islam, (54) the following days of 11, 12 and 13 are also important and are called "the days of tashreeq". These "days of tashreeq" are devoted to end-of-fast meals. However, the sacrificial period may be extended up to the last day of tashreeq which is the 13th :
"The days of Tashreeq are the 11th, 12th and 13th of Dhu’l-Hijjah. (...) The time for slaughtering the hadiy and udhiyah lasts until the end of days of Tashreeq." (55)
Thus, August 14, 1791 exceeds the sacrificial extension allowed in the interval of August 11 to 13, 1791 (the "days of tashreeq"). So therefore the choice of this August 14, 1791 date had no connection with islam.

August 14, 1791, was favorable to holding that meeting for the following reasons :
1- It was a Sunday, a day off, a day in which the captives were able to hold small social gatherings. (56) 2- August 14, of that year was also a public holiday, the Sunday closest to the catholic feast of Our Lady of the Assumption (August 15). Our Lady of the Assumption (Notre Dame Dawou) represented a great deal for Saint Domingue : a) She was patron saint of the Saint Domingue colony. (57) b) She was also the patron saint of the town of Cap Français, (58) the colony's capital, situated not far from Morne Rouge. c) Moreover, this Sunday, August 14, 1791, was the eve of the 121st anniversary of the city of Cap Français, founded on August 15, 1670. The magnitude of this festive date in the North meant that this meeting in Morne Rouge was not secret, and took place during the day, contrary to popular belief :
"The meeting itself was not secret. Colonists later wrote of the "pretext for a meal," or "a large dinner" that the slaves were allowed to attend." (59)
The elite class of the captives, who enjoyed enormous privileges in relation to the whole captive population, had been granted permission to meet in great numbers to organize a meal on the Lenormand de Mésy plantation. The term "meal" is still used in Haiti (manje Lwa, manje yanm, etc.) to designate an ancestral ceremony. Of course, these commanders, coachmen and servants took advantage of this meeting to plan the colony's ruin. And to ensure their plan's success, they performed a religious service that included a sacrifice. And for this sacrifice to be in accordance with islam, the immolated animal should ideally be a white sheep, in order to re-create Abraham's sacrifice in which a sheep was killed in place of his son.
But it was not a sheep that was sacrificed on the 14th of August at Morne Rouge, nor a pig, nor even a man, as some eccentrics think, but a bull. According to Hérard-Dumesle, a black bull was sacrificed to the gods by a traditionalist orator who might well be Boukman, "the chief conceptor of the Morne Rouge meeting."


Translation :
"The Attica transmitted its worship and its uses
To the unhappy children of these distant shores... 
But a bull appears, and this black color, 
This funeral apparatus and these flowery ties
Are for a sacrifice offered by innocence 
To this deity adored by Hope.

Among the attendants a speaker stands up; 
He has the august employment of a sacrifice official
Armed with a sacred iron, his arm to the victim 
Carries the fatal blow, in the ardor which animates it.
 He speaks ; and this beloved language of our ancestors,  
That ingenuous language that seemed to be right for them. 
Whose naive accents, painting of their soul, 
Lending more anointing to this speech of flame,

He electrified the hearts by a new transport :
"This God who lit the torch with the sun,
Who raises the seas and makes the storm roar,
This God, doubtlessly, hidden in a cloud
Contemplates this country, sees whites' crimes;
Their worship engages in crime, and ours in welfare ;
But the supreme goodness orders vengeance
And will guide our arms; with strong assistance,
Let us trample under our feet the idol eager for our tears.

Powerful Freedom ! Come... speak to all hearts"...

The oracle is pronounced. The devouring flame
Charges into vortices towards the dazzling vault,
 The offered victim is delivered to the vengeful god; 
And is welcomed by this liberating god
The gods interpreter explains their designs ; 
Everything is cleansed in his pious hands." (60)
This Hérard-Dumesle account, from which historians usually draw certain aspects while ignoring others, tells us that this Morne Rouge gathering included a religious portion. The speech which was pronounced there, and which is generally associated with Boukman due to a misinterpretation by Victor Schoelcher in 1843, (61) occurred immediately after the fatal blow was given to the sacrificial animal. This implies that it was not the priest, but a Jany or Lwa, who, momentarily occupying the body of the male officiant (Boukman or another), spoke in "this beloved language of our ancestors".
Given the time in question, and the gigantic extent of the traditional pantheon in those days, no one can, without written proof, assert with certainty the identity of the Lwa doing the sacrifice. However, the rite in use is more easily identifiable, although in the (modern) ritual of the North, the rites are intertwined without the sharp demarcation found in Western, Center and Southern Haiti.
We assume that rite merging was already underway in the North in 1791. The only evidence of ethnic exclusivity in dances (calenda), comes to us from the Central region (Artibonite). (62) To this day, this Artibonite region still possesses several lakou or spiritual sanctuaries of an ethnic nature : Nan Soukri (Congo), Nan Souvnans (Rada, Arada or Dahomean), Nan Badjo (Nago / Yoruba of Nigeria / Benin).
That said, we believe that the black bull sacrifice that occured on Sunday, August 14, 1791 corresponds to the Nago rite. This Nago or Annago ritual, Anago (as the members of the Yoruba ethnic group in Benin were called) is a warrior rite guided by Ogun, the Jany or Lwa of war. 

So, in all likeliness, a Jany or Lwa belonging to the Nago rite (Chango, Ogoun, or others) sacrificed the bull and gave the war speech that appealed to Oloroun (Olorun), the Creator. Not Oloroum, as the traditionalists have falsely propagated recently. But rather Oloroun in Olorun Oludumare Oduduwa, the highest Orisha (at the celestial level) in the Yoruba / Nago tradition. But if the Haitians do not call their Divinities "Orisha", as did the Yoruba/Nago, it does not mean that they've neglected their Nago roots. Because, instead of "Orisha", Haitians use the word "Lwa" which derives from "Oluwa", a Yoruba/Nago word which means "Lord." Also, the word "Orisha" itself was kept in the Haitian ritual, in which Olicha is a Nago Lwa.

b) What about the Morne Rouge August 14, 1791 black pig sacrifice, was it real?  

Hérard-Dumesle, in that same text, referred to a second meeting held elsewhere, a week later. And it was during this second meeting of Bois Caiman, strictly speaking, that a pig was actually sacrificed. However, these two separate but complementary meetings deserve to be categorized as "Bois Caïman". For they are part of the same ceremony done in 2 parts in accordance with the ancestral tradition's dual structure.

6- Is the Boukman "oath" authentic?

In their historical predation, the revisionists of various religious allegiances seek to capture the "oath" or "prayer" of Boukman, a supposedly liberating speech delivered in Morne Rouge. Some of them even consider this "oath" as a sacred text. But is this "oath" authentic?
The answer is 'no' on certain aspects. And "yes" on others.
a) For starters, the "oath" in question is a poem. It is evident that no one expresses himself or herself in verse, in everyday life. Unless that person was reading a written text. But that was not the case in Morne Rouge. For, according to witness statements, only extracts from a newspaper were read by a person other than the sacrificial official. The rest of the expressions were therefore oral.

b) From a linguistic point of view, this "oath" as presented in Hérard-Dumesle's work cannot be taken as a true copy of the speech given in Morne Rouge. The author presented this poetry in French, as follows :

Translation : 
He electrified the hearts by a new transport :
"This God who lit the torch with the sun,
Who raises the seas and makes the storm roar,
This God, doubtlessly, hidden in a cloud
Contemplates this country, sees whites' crimes;
Their worship engages in crime, and ours in welfare ;
But the supreme goodness orders vengeance
And will guide our arms; with strong assistance,
Let us trample under our feet the idol eager for our tears
Powerful Freedom ! Come... speak to all hearts"...
Then, as a foot note, Hérard-Dumesle offered the Creole version of this poetic "oath". However, the Creole he used does not fit, grammatically, the Northern Saint Domingue Creole spoken in 1791. His Creole reflected rather that of the Western and Southern provinces, as the author was a native of Torbeck (commune of Les Cayes, in the South province) :

Translation :
 (*) Here is the meaning of the oracle in the idiom it was uttered :
Bondié qui fait soleil, qui clairé nous en haut,
Qui soulevé la mer, qui fait grondé l’orage,
Bon dié la, zot tandé? caché dans youn nuage,
Et la li gadé nous, li vouai tout ça blancs faits !
Bon dié blancs mandé crime, et part nous vlé bienfaits
mais dié là qui si bon, ordonnin nous vengeance ;
Li va conduit bras nous, la ba nous assistance,
Jetté portrait dié blancs qui soif dlo dans gié nous,
Couté la liberté li palé cœurs nous toùs. (63)

If truly spoken in 1791 Northern Saint Domingue Creole, Hérard-Dumesle's poetic "oath" would have had this form :

Bondié qui fait soleil, qui clairé nous en haut,
Qui soulevé la mer, qui fait grondé l’orage,
Bon dié la, zot tandé? caché dans youn nuage,
Et la li gadé nous, li vouai tout ça blancs faits !
Bon dié à blancs mandé crime, et quien à nous vlé bienfaits
mais dié là qui si bon, ordonnin nous vengeance ;
Li va conduit bras à nous, la ba nous assistance,
Jetté portrait à dié à blancs qui soif dlo dans gié à nous,
Couté la liberté li palé dans cœurs à nous toùs.

We've noticed that the author's French version differs significantly from his Creole translation. Yet the vast majority of historians have translated into French the  widely popularized Creole version, without consulting the original material already in French.
In support of our argument, a contemporary text from Comte de Vaublanc describes the way in which the captives of the North-East (and North) of Saint Domingue called the religion of the whites in Creole :

 "Ils appelaient la sainte hostie bon Dieu à blanc." (64)
Translation : 
"They called the holy ghost God of the whites."
Indeed "bon Dieu à blanc" (God of the whites), belongs grammaticaly to Northern and North-Eastern Creole, while "bon Dieu blanc" belongs to the Creole of the rest of Saint Domingue/Haiti. That being said, racially differentiating Divinity, having been practiced in Saint Domingue, brings enormous credibility to Hérard-Dumesle's account. In our estimate, around 1823-1824, the author had traveled to Northern Haiti, freshly reunited with the rest of the country. And he transcribed in poetry the essence of the testimonies gathered on the ground concerning the Morne Rouge speech and sacrificial ceremony. Thus, a speech containing the essence of the "oath" was expressed by the person or Lwa who sacrificed the bull in Morne Rouge. Besides, Hérard-Dumesle was recognized for his extraordinary memory, by his  contemporaries :
"Mr. Dumesle (Hérard) was born in the commune of Torbeck on June 16, 1784, son of mulatto and negro, meaning one quarter-white, he made a name for himself at the Bar, at the tribune, and as a writer. Endowed with a prodigious memory, his head is quite an encyclopedia." (Transl.) (65) 
c) If the first portion of the "oath" was actually spoken, but with other words, it was not the same for the last part. The last phrase "Powerful Freedom ! Come... speak to all hearts" is borrowed from a famous speech by Jacques-Pierre Brissot de Warville, devoted abolitionist and member of the national assembly. As early as December 1, 1791, he had associated, during a national assembly speech, the hearts of the blacks with the sound of liberty :
"Despite the double torture of slavery, and the spectacle of the liberty of others, the slave of Saint Domingue has been tranquil until these last troubles, even in the midst of the violent commotions which have shaken our islands ; he has everywhere heard the enchanted word of liberty, the heart of a black also beats for freedom; and yet he was silent. He continued to wear the irons for two and a half years without thinking of breaking them; and if he has shaken them, it is to the infliction of atrocious men that you will come to know." (Transl.) (66)
2 days later, Brissot repeated this association of the heart of blacks with freedom, in his speech of December 3, 1791 :
"The last class is that of slaves, and I will not describe to you the double torture of slavery and barbarism : The negro had heard the enchanting word of liberty, and he was moved: for the heart of a black also beats for freedom. (Applause.) Well, the slave had remained peacefully in chains, and he would not have sought to break them without the instigation of frightful men whom you will learn to know." (Transl.) (67)
Hérard-Dumesle said in the same work that he was following Brissot's footsteps :
"Brissot, and the most celebrated orators of the Legislative Assembly of the French people, initiated us into the mysteries of regeneration; and when they showed in the tribune the relations which bind us to the principles received, we ennobled our enterprise by some heroic devotion."  (Transl.) (68) 
It must be concluded that Hérard-Dumesle's poetic deposition preserved the essence of the word spoken during the Morne Rouge meeting. The reason being that he traveled to the North of Haiti, freshly reunited with the West and South, to gather the locals' testimonies, around 30 years after the facts. With regard to the religious ceremony, Hérard-Dumesle has probably chosen poetry to illustrate it with as much latitude as possible. And since he wasn't a participant, and his informant (s) may have been discreet on this point, poetry allowed him to fill the information void with Greek mythology. Moreover, Greek mythology being more familiar to him, was more accessible and acceptable to the Western or Westernized readers to whom his work was addressed, than an "African" ritual.
It must also be known that in 1819, 5 years prior to the Hérard-Dumesle publication, Frenchman Antoine Métral had already published a speech held by a priest in Morne Rouge.+++ We consider Métral's long speech to be false, mainly because it presents general liberty, and even independence as the aim of the Morne Rouge conspirators. But we know that at this initial stage, the rebels' demands were only of 3 days off per week and the abandonment of the whip as a form of punishment.

7- Were there caimans in Morne Rouge?

Another statement from the islamic revisionists is that there were no caimans in Morne Rouge. And that therefore "Bois Caïman" (Cayman Wood) should refer to "Bwa Kay Iman", as in  the place of residence of a certain "Iman" or "Imam". (69) We have proven the impossibility of that argument in our article: "Kay + Iman in Northern Haitian Creole". Without lingering on that subject, we shall present the anatomy of the Saint Domingue  caiman, as drawn by the naturalist M. Descourtilz, who dissected a considerable number of them, And he did so in 1800, thus, almost a decade after Bois Caïman and Boukman's death :
"I've scrutinized, investigated, and studied the tricks, behavior, and nature of the St.-Domingue crocodile, which is called Caiman. (...) I've completed in St. Domingue the comparative anatomy of the Cayman of this island, in 1800." (Transl.) (70)

(The Surprised Cayman) (Transl.)

(Cayman seen under the Belly. Fig I. It's skeleton, Fig II.) (Transl.)

(Viscers of the St. Domingue Crocodile Views from front and back.) (Transl.)

(Anatomy of the Cayman's Tongue, Larinx and Trachea Artery.) (Transl.)

(Cayman Eggs. Baby's Position During incubation. It's Exit from the Egg.) (Transl.)

(COMPARATIVE TABLE of conformations differences between Reptiles often confused, one of which has not yet been described.[2nd col.] THE CROCODILE OF SAINT-DOMINGUE, Called caiman.) (Transl.)
Source : M. E. Descourtilz. Voyages d’un naturaliste et ses observations... Tome 3, Paris, 1809.

Thus, despite appearances, the Saint Domingue colony possessed caimans which could inspire places names. Moreover, despite its deforestation, Haiti still holds caimans in several of its departments. We do not, however, assert that there have ever been caimans in Morne Rouge. But we cannot dismiss it as categorically as the revisionists do, since Morne Rouge bathes in the Bay of l'Acul (and the Bay of Alain) and that caimans are amphibians.

(Plan of a battery and an entrenchment made on the bay of l'Acul to prevent the ships from anchoring there. Ordered on the 8th of April, and finished on the 20th of May. Poliart (draw, engineer), May 20, 1748.) (Transl.)
Source : FR ANOM 15DFC426C

Our argument is this : whether we like it or not, caimans were part of the Saint Domingue fauna. Indeed, it does not matter whether or not there were caymans at the Morne Rouge site, given that Hérard-Dumesle informed us that the conspirators held a second politic/religious ceremony nearby.

8- The August 21, 1791 meeting & the pig sacrifice

The religious ceremony of the 14th of August, 1791, from a liturgical point of view, was of Nago or Annago rite. It represents Rada, or Vodou, in the language of that time, which is the first of a 2-part ceremony. The holding of a second ceremony or dance marks the union of the Rada-Nago rite with Petro/Lenmba. According to the Hérard-Dumesle account, this meeting was held on the eve of the outbreak of the general insurrection (22th of August), therefore, on Sunday August 21, 1791 :

Translation :
"Not far from that place [Morne Rouge] another assembly offered to the gods [plural, thus forbidden by islam] a new sacrifice : there they immolated a pig [forbiden by islam], and a young virgin was the Pythia [priestess, also forbidden by islam]
The next day it was near midnight (August 22-23), when the tocsin signaled the disasters. The insurrection broke out with such fury, that it offered the most desolate spectacle. The conspirators, united in the plain, dispersed there in cohorts, and carried everywhere the spirit which animates them: terror precedes them, destruction follows them, and leaves behind them the evil traces of their passage. Liberty, vengeance, these are their rallying cries : they are the divinities to whom they sacrifice." (Transl.) (71) 
This second ceremony in which "a pig was immolated" did not take place in Morne Rouge, but "not far from that place", a week later. The historical confusion originates from Colonel Paul Aly. Over time, his memory failed him. In his testimony to Céligny Ardouin, he had confused the pig immolation done on August 21, by a woman official with the August 14, Morne Rouge meeting during which a bull was sacrificed by a male official.
The Hérard-Dumesle revelation already considerably dismantles the revisionists' false claim that places everything on a supposed Boukman residence in Morne Rouge and on the conspirators gathering on August 14, on the Lenormand de Mésy estate. Now, as we have seen, Boukman never lived in Morne Rouge, but in Limbé and then in the l'Acul-du-Nord. Moreover, in islam, the sacrifice feast is performed only once a year. Not twice, neither 3 nor 4 times. Just once. Thus, the holding of this second sacrificial ceremony 7 days later, automatically puts us outside the islamic sphere. In addition, Hérard-Dumesle mentioned the important role played by "a young virgin", a priestess, in the pig sacrifice. This young priestess or Manbo corresponds to Cécile Attiman Coidavid, falsely known as Cécile Fatiman. In 1887, she passed away at the graceful age of 112. This means that she was born in 1775 and was only 16 years old in 1791 when she participated in the pig sacrifice. Apart from the pig, an animal proscribed by islam, the female presence of Manbo Cécile itself goes against the muslim faith which does not allow a woman to perform a ritual sacrifice.

a) Was it really a pig that was sacrificed?

In 1993, was published La Légende des Loa du Vodou Haïtien, a work of fiction by author Déita. Her non-scientific book reports that during the Bois Caïman ceremony, they were about "to sacrifice the pig to Ogoun Féraille", (Transl.) (72) But that a maroon (fugitive) captive named Jean-Baptiste Vixamar Legrand had offered himself to be sacrificed instead of the pig ; and that he has since become a Lwa Gad or a Protective Lwa in a Bizango secret society :
""History, in its customary way, wrote the Bois Caïman ceremony. Those who have described history have no interest in recounting the facts in their authenticity. It would be outrageous to say that men and women, the sons of white men, had drunk the blood of the negro, that "cochon sans poils" ["pig without hair"]. In short! I am Jean-Baptiste Vixamar Legrand, the one who took his own life by his own free will. No external influence compelled me to do so. I gave my life for the love of Liberty, the one whose blood was distributed, and drunk by the black and mulattoes, and the slaves also, on the night of August 14, 1791, in the Bois Caïman grotto. Boukman who officiated can testify... I dismissed the hairy pig and sacrificial man I become the pig without hair (cochon sans poils). He became silent..."
I had just discovered the meaning of the word chanpwèl [pig without hair]." (Transl.) (73) 
Déita began her historical falcification by declaring that "Those who have described history have no interest in recounting the facts in their authenticity". She then spat on the gigantic works of Haitian historians such as Thomas Madiou, Céligny and Beaubrun Ardouin, Hérard-Dumesle, Baron de Vastey, etc., by insinuating that the "whites" wrote the history of Haiti. This is a manipulatory technique that is widespread among pseudo-historians, who, plagued by laziness and lacking factual data, like to start their arguments by discrediting proven historical facts. Discredit once established, the black reader or listener, generally credulous and conformist, is then ready to accept the vilest stupidity. For Déita's book, although interesting as a work of fiction, is full of historical and lithurgical errors. For example, the author claims that Boukman lived on "the Turpin Estate in Haut du Cap", (74) when, in reality, that estate was located in Limbé. Similarly, the author indicated that the sacrificed pig was in honor of the Lwa Ogoun Feray. Now, the least novice knows that Ogun Feray does not receive pig offerings. Also, the speaker in Déita's story was mistaken in date and place, since a bull was sacrificed to the Morne Rouge, on August 14, 1791, not a pig, as he claimed in his narrative. Then the author stated that :
"This story was told in French during a Bissango ceremony, the speaker had spoken to the 3rd person, and the narrative was adapted to the first person." (Transl.) (75)
However, given that Déita subsequently declared that she was not initiated, this implies that she did not attend the secret society ceremony she described. (76) onsequently, her narrative is only hearsay, since a third person, who had remained anonymous, would have told her the words supposedly coming from the mouth of a Spirit named Jean-Baptiste Vixamar Legrand.
Over time, renown Haitian intellectuals from all horizons have seized and validated this "pig without hair" urban legend :  
  • 2000 - Reginald Crosley (Physician) quoted Jean-Baptiste Vixamar Legrand and Déita's zero-reference book as if it were a scientific work.  (77) 
  • 2005 - Claudine Michel (professor) placed Jean-Baptiste Vixamar, the fictional character, on the same rank as Toussaint Louverture, Dessalines, Christophe and the other heroes of Haiti's independence. (78)
  • 2006 - Jean-Bertrand Aristide (former Haiti's president and priest), compared Jean-Baptiste Vixamar Legrand, Déita's hearsay, to Jesus Christ, in his doctoral dissertation devoid of any reference regarding Haiti. (79)
  • 2006 - Max Beauvoir (Houngan, Ati, biochemist) claims that Boukman held an ason (sacred rattle) at Bois Caïman, (80) whereas an ason is not part of the tradition of Northern Haiti where the so-called Bois Caïman ceremony was held. A year later, in 2007, Max Beauvoir would then compare Jean-Baptiste Vixamar Legrand to Saint John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. (81)
  • 2009 - Emmanuel Félix Jr (Lawyer Evangelist) arbitrarily appointed Boukman "Jean-Baptiste Dutty Boukman", (82) maybe in reference to Jean-Baptiste Vixamar Legrand.
  • 2011 - Euvonie Georges Auguste (Manbo) added that there were never any pigs at Bois Caïman and its surroundings, making Jean-Baptiste Vixamar, a maroon captive, a "maroon or brown pig". (83)
Instead of hastily jumping to conclusions, like these Haitian-pseudo historians, let's seriously analyze the reality of the expression "hairless pig" in Haitian culture :
  1. Etymologically : The Dictionnaire Haïtien-Français (Haitian-French Dictionary) defines the word "Sanpwèl" (Without Hairs) and its variant "Chanpwèl" in these terms : "Sanpwèl, chanpwèl n. nocturnal being possessing evil power." ; "Chanpwèl n. sorcerer, evildoer, member of a secret society." (Transl.) (84)
  2. Liturgically, the "Chanpwèl" are outside the traditional religion. They are excluded from it because they are members of the "Red Sects" considered not as heroes, but as traitors: "The voudoo initiates, who have remained in traditional purity, call the initiates who have gone out of it CABRITT'THOMAZO [Thomazo Goat]. The cabritt'thomazo are traitors... (...) These are the classic members of so-called red sects or "criminal sects": who pour human blood, as a host, but not (as believe those who are misinformed) for the pleasure of killing. (…) The formula indicates a religious schism, or rather of a religious concept to which the formation of these sects of sacrificial human blood remains attached." (Transl.) (85)
  3. Historically, from the questioning of conspiratory captives, it had emerge that during the second Bois Caïman meeting, a black pig was sacrificed and its hairs collected as amulets : "An entirely black pig, surrounded by fetishes, loaded with offerings, each more bizarre than the next, was the holocaust offered to the all-powerful genie of the black race. The religious ceremonies that the negroes practiced while slaughtering it, the greed with which they drank its blood, they had to possess some of his hair, a kind of talisman which, they thought, was to make them invulnerable, serve to characterize the African. It was natural that a caste so ignorant and moronic should prelude the most terrible attacks with the superstitious rites of an absurd and sanguinary religion." (Transl.) (86)
  4. At the liturgical level, this practice of collecting pig hair or any other object as a magical protection belongs indeed to the "African" religious corpus. The Congolese Luba or Baluba ethnic group, call this form of protection Bingalù, meaning "tame-it": Binga (Tame) + lù (her, him, it). (87) The use of a Bingalù was perfectly desired on the eve of the Saint Domingue War : "Let's take another unusual phenomenon which is a matter of the spirituality of knowledge [congo]... Bingalù. Meaning, when facing danger. When facing an imminent danger, you are given something. You are given a small sheet that you always wear on you. And, facing an imminent danger... (...) It is like this that we do to protect ourselves from this kind of danger. They call it bingalù." (Transl.) (88)
  5. Despite the absurdity of their approach, the revisionists insisted that it was Jean-Baptiste Vixamar Legrand, a person, who immolated himself, and from there came the expression "Cochon Sans Poils" ("pig without hair"). According to their logic, "Cochon Sans Poils" should be synonymous with "Black Pig", since their so-called hero might not have as much hair as a pig, but he was black nonetheless. However, that wasn't so. In Haiti, the members of the so-called "Hairless Pig" associations bear several names, including "Gray Pigs": "The schism took place between the pure voudoo worshippers and those that the pures claim are unpure : a division between the frank and the heterodox. (...) The schismatics, who tend seriously towards the strong rite par excellence (the Pethro rite) form sects with various names : pig without hair, Bissages or Bi-sango, Gray Pigs, Vin'Bain-Ding." (Transl.) (89)
These arguments should be sufficient to show that a pig was indeed sacrificed at this second Bois Caïman ceremony. However, since the revisionists are fueled by genocidal predation and not by reason, the batch of evidence required to stun them must be gigantic. So, here's more.
a) Long before Bois Caïman, the sacrifice of pigs was documented in Saint Domingue. In a work published in 1736, reissued and increased in 1765, the planter Élie Monnereau testified of pig sacrifices on his Limonade estate, in Northern Saint Domingue. In the case described by the author, it was a funeral ceremony in which : "The relatives or friends of the dead announce that this holiday or that Sunday they will hold a Prayer for their deceased relative or friend, where the Nations or Compatriots of the dead are asked to attend." (Transl.) (90) This ceremony began with alcoholic libations, a practice that is contrary to islam:

"They do not fail to find themselves at the rendezvous, where everyone is obliged to bring something, one takes charge of some food, the other of Alcohol, a third of Syrup, and so on. On arrival, they proceed on either side with compliments of kindness, afterwards they assemble, forming a circle opposite the door of the deceased, and taking a bottle of Alcohol they pour it on the threshold of his [the deceased's] door..." (91)
After the preliminary prayer,  they carried on with man-woman dancing (Congo style of dancing, forbidden by islam), followed by the immolation of a pig which was then consummated : 

Translation :
"Once this prayer ends each one kisses the earth, and rises, they make a second sprinkling, after which they begin to dance two by two until dinner, to which the friends of the dead have been careful to provide by the sacrifice of a pig which they are obliged to immolate to his manes, of which they are very careful to make an exact anatomy and they dissect it with appetite ; the rest of the day passes by singing, dancing, contorting, and extravagances." (92)
This Congo funeral ceremony gives an insight into the unfolding of the Bois Caiman ceremony in which a pig was also sacrificed. However, there are enormous differences between the semi-family religious session here described and the warlike ceremony of Bois Caïman.
b) It is presumed that there were no wild or "maroon pigs" in Morne Rouge, and the surrounding area. Proof to the contrary came from Descourtilz's work. This naturalist, having studied the Saint Domingue fauna, drew up a table of the colony's hunted animals. Included in this table are maroon pigs, maroon oxen, maroon goats and also caimans, with the precision that they are "existing races" and not extinct :

(Table of Saint Domingue's useful hunted animals)
Source : M. E. Descourtilz. Voyages d’un naturaliste et ses observations, Tome 2, Paris, 1809. p.153.

Descourtilz also described his way of hunting these mammals, including maroon pigs :

Translation :
"They use few dogs in Saint Domingue, and those who would be useful are the basset-griffins, or running dogs, to pursuit the cow and the maroon goat, in the midst of thorny cardasses [nopal cactus], or to attack in their mangrove the maroon pigs which, distracted from the coral, enjoy themselves in the middle of the aquatic mangles..." (93)
In short, it was a pig that was sacrificed not far from Morne Rouge on the night of August 21, 1791. This Jean-Baptiste Vixamar Legrand story is nothing but fiction, a vicious attempt to sabotage the Haitian Revolution for which a third of the black population perished. But what do these revisionists care? Their paternal ancestors were not involved in the initial plot of this revolution. Mine were
  • Séraphin Salnave, member of the Counter-Revolutionary Committee of Le Cap in 1789-1790, hanged in 1802 ;
  • his grandson, President Sylvain Salnave (son of Séraphin Silvestre Jean-Baptiste Salnave, of whom Toussaint Louverture was the godfather), shot in 1870
  • Sylvain's son, Gen. Charles Salnave, Min. of war, from whom I descend, died in combat in 1914.
They do not descend, on the maternal side, from those who led the revolutionary victory. Unlike me :
  • Henry Christophe, second in command at the last battle (Nov. 1803), continued, as a King, the revolution until his suicide in 1820 ;
  • King Henry's natural son, the Chevalier Joseph Béliard, from whom I descend, shot in 1856.

And since the revisionists seek to rewrite the history of Haiti from a "legend", then let's talk about "legends". Were their birthes, announced since generations in a popular royal legend of the North? Would they be this male child, as prophesied by King Christophe's Spirit, who should be born at Petite-Anse (a commune near Cap Haïtien) and who will take over the royal "Fortune"? Of course not. But I am. And from my first breaths, this was confirmed to my family by an old lady of Le Cap.

9- True nature of the pig sacrifice

The so-called Bois Caïman ceremony took place in Northern Saint Domingue and nowhere else. Not even in the Northeast that revolted several months after the North. Yet the majority of analysts deal with Bois Caïman, without ever addressing the religious specificities of Northern Haiti.
a) A recent version by historian Robin Law based on recent magical practices of Dahomey (Benin), and of various random Western "African" locations, suggests that the Bois Caïman pig sacrifice and the use of the blood that was poured there, corresponds to a Dahomean or Rada "blood pact". (94) The liturgical reality of the North, as elsewhere in Haiti, dictates that the Dahomean (Rada) rite should be dismissed as a supplier of the pig sacrifice, a practice which runs counter to its essence. Moreover, the "Dahomean blood pact" mentioned above is not a religious practice as such. It strictly serves to seal commercial and interpersonal transactions.
b) Considering the warlike nature of Bois Caïman, others consider that Ogun (Lwa, Jany or Mystery of War) must have taken part in the pig sacrifice. Yet Ogun belongs to the Nago rite (of the Yoruba ethnic group, known as Nago or Annago in Benin and the Americas) in which pig sacrifice is absent. However, the bull sacrifice of August 14, 1791 at Morne Rouge, is perfectly suited to the Nago rite. This bull may well have been sacrificed by Ogoun or one of the many Nago Supreme Entities. But not the pig.
c) Taking the ritual of the Western department (particularly Port-au-Prince) as reference, a majority of speakers claim that the pig sacrifice made at this Bois Caïman ceremony came from the Petro rite. Of course, the pig immolation corresponds to Petro. (We will elaborate on the origin of the Petro rite in a future article). However, this Petro rite is not named as such in the North where it is known as Lemba, Congo or Congo-Lemba (Kongo-Lenmba in Creole).
d) Other speakers, referring to the rituals of Nan Soukri, a Congo rite sanctuary located in the Artibonite department, suggest that the sacrifice in question was Congo. Indeed, the pig immolation practiced in Bois Caïman is in agreement with the Congo ritual. But what Congo? For in Saint Domingue, the Congo name was generically attributed to a panoply of ethnic groups from Central and Southern Africa, making identifying the true Congo or Franc Congo quite arduous.
Moreover, if in Artibonite, liturgical segregation predominated more than anywhere else, and gave birth to numerous semi-ethnic based religious sanctuaries, or lakou, in the North, it was quite the opposite. In this Northern department, rites separation is the least rigid in the country. In fact, in the North, the Congo rite has vastly merged with all the other rites : the mark of an ancient and profound mixture of the various ethnic/rites, which favored revolutionary cohesion. In contrast to the fusional North, in the Artibonite department where ritual/ethnic exclusivity was practiced, dissociation reflexes, leaning towards "African" tribalism, remain. Thus in Artibonite, regional-local interests prevail over those of the nation. This semi-tribal region is therefore prone to sectarian violence against the state entity as it showed in : 1820 (against the Kingdom of Henry I), 1821 (against Boyer's republic), 1986 (against Duvalier jr), 2004 (against Aristide and the 200th anniversary of the independence), to only mention these important dates.
But what about the Lemba rite, strictly speaking? The evidence shows that Lemba, as practiced in Northern Saint Domingue (Haiti), is reponsible for the pig sacrifice that took place during the day (not the night) of August 21, 1791. Let's take a closer look.

a) What is Lemba?

The Lemba rite comes (in part) from the Congo/Angola kingdom as much as the Petro and Congo rites. And Lemba should not be confused with the name of an ethnic group in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Neither should it be confused with the town of Lemba, the capital of the Mbula region of the Congo, which King Dom Pedro III founded in 1665. Name : The Lemba or Koôngo dya Lemba was the oldest and largest of the four initiating societies of the Congo/Angola Kingdom. The other initiatory societies are : the Kimpasi (that influenced the Congo rite of Western Haiti), the Ndembo and the Kimba. (95) The Lemba is "an esoteric organization, a superior institute of moral and religious sciences, of sciences overall : biology, medicine, history, geography, law, astrology specifically Kongo." (Transl.) (96)
Definition : Lemba, in the Kikongo language, means "calm", "coax" any physical or mystical evil, to extirpate all boredom, to "clamor", and to "civilize" by improving society morals. (97)
Creator (s) : Lemba is the work of the founders of the Congo/Angola Kingdom.
Date: 1600-1930.
Members : The Lemba society consisted of the elite class of the Kingdom. "It has trained many people who have fulfilled important functions in administration, justice, health, religion, etc. It is a school of endurance, vigilance, law, medical knowledge, work , government, etc." (Transl.) (98)

(Political and economic map of the activity area of Lemba societies, 1600-1930)
Source : John M. Janzen. Lemba 1650-1930 : A Drum of Affliction in Africa and the New World. New York, 1982. p.5.

Mission : It regulated trade, and was: "a kind of testamentary disposition of the Koongo king destined for the Bana-Koongo or descendants for their well-being, their happiness and above all to reinforce the perenniality of Koongo and the raison d’être of its fundamental values. It is in this perspective that the initiatory Order of Koôngo dya Leemba was one of the instruments of reinforcement of national feeling and of peace... (...) An affirmation of a well-being, of the will to live together by privileging, among other things, the culture and the perpetuation of a certain social and human integrity of the being or the Muùntu [Moun in Haiti]." (Transl.) (99)
Recruitment : The Congo commercial elite, feeling guilty of participating and taking advantage of the slave trade, developed discomforts (100) in the head, heart, abdomen and sides. And by treating or "calming" the discomforts of these wealthy slave traders, the nganga e elemba, that is to say, the great officiald of the Lemba cult, integrated them into their initiatic society. (101)
Restriction : The Leemba imposed restrictions of aristocratic order. It "has never been said to be an institution of the masses, unlike the other Koôngo initiatory schools, recruiting only individuals belonging to a certain social category. On this subject, the illustrious kongologist Ferdinand Ngoma reports that it was, "an institution of aristocratic fame, open to economically powerful individuals and often married adults."" (Transl.) (102) Such a Lemba approach explains in part the 1791 rebels' identification with royalty and their contempt for the populist republican cause ; and subsequently that aristocratic trait left an imprint on Northern of Haiti.
Morality : For the Haitian revolution's denigrators, the traditional religion that has contributed to its success is a pile of immorality. Yet, morality is one of the criteria for Lemba membership : "Social status is not a decisive factor in entering the order of Koôngo dya Leemba despite its aristocratic reputation. If the postulant is of good morality and has a significant economic power, his accession to the bosom of the order is very appreciable therefore admissible." (Transl.) (103)
Contributions : The contribution in pork, wine and other alcoholic beverages (elements prohibited by islam) is nevertheless required from a Lemba society beginner : "It is in these conditions that from the beginning of participatory operations, mwaànga-ngaànga [the neophyte] shall pay the fees of the ngaànga-leemba [Lemba official], and in principle shall offer to his Master-initiator three chickens and two gourds of wine. If the mwaànga-ngaànga is required to pay by means of a pork and lots of wine." (Transl.) (104) From the combination of pork and alcohol, 2 products prohibited by islam, we can affirm that the Lemba ceremony of 21 August 1791 was not muslim.

10- The Lemba pig sacrifice

In the Lemba society there are 3 types of offerings (105) which vary in importance : 1) the "bowl" (mbungu in the Kikongo language) which consists mainly of palm wine, other alcoholic beverages, and anything that may contain in a bowl ; 2) the "chicken" (n'susu in Kikongo, which is preserved in the Haitian ritual via the sacrificial song "benyen sousou") ; 3) the "pig" (n'gulu in Kikongo), the largest of offerings, marks great occasions such as the pre-war ceremony of Bois Caïman. Here is a summary of the functioning in this pig sacrifice :
"The  Leemba cult is sacrificial as it also contains a pig immolation which (...) must later be at the heart of meals of a communal character." The kongologist Ferdinand Ngoma reports that : "The discovery of the Lemba is made by immolation of the victim (kilambu) outside of the village, behind closed doors... (...) The public is not admitted, not even mi-mbanda women. (...) Mandatory, also, it is a pig that will be sacrificed. They cannot hurt it. It is killed by suffocation. (…) This communal meal accompanies the ceremony..." (Transl.) (106)
Several points can be raised from this extract : a) A pig must be immolated in the Lemba cult. This validates the Lenmba link to Bois Caïman. b) This pig is consumed in a communal meal, indicating that the rebels of Saint Domingue pursuing this Lemba cult were not muslim, and that a person (Jean-Baptiste Vixamar Legrand) was not sacrificed in place of the pig , as this would have involved an act of cannibalism, an element unknown to the Haitian religious sphere. c) The pig must be smothered and not injured. At first glance, this seems to contradict the bloodshed on August 21, 1791. However, we will see that the rebel officials modified Lemba's liturgical obligation, adapting it to the pre-war concept. They combined "Lemba e ekesa", a pre-war Lemba ritual, which they mystically enhanced by the sacrificial bloodshed. d) The sacrificial ceremony was held in a remote place, out of the public gaze and was even restricted to women Lemba society members. Of course, the remote place corresponds to the description of the second Bois Caïman meeting. However, the exclusion of women is problematic.
Lemba as practiced in Congo was "an exclusively male group." (Transl.) (107) Women who entered Lemba with their spouses, played a secondary role. This situation calls into question the claim that Cécile Fatiman, a woman, was the one who sacrificed the pig at Bois Caïman. Now, without specifying what type of priest did the sacrifice, Hérard-Dumesle declared that a young priestess consulted the entrails of the sacrificed pig. Reading in the bowels of an animal sacrificed in a divinatory way is a European and not "African" practice. If it is, it is not very widespread. However, analysis of a sacrificed animal's bowels in a non-divinatory way is customary in the Haitian ritual. We have witnessed it many times ; including for pigs. Such an act is but a way to appreciate the beauty of the animal itself and as an offering. Moreover, the colonist Élie Monnereau described it well : "the sacrifice of a pig which they are obliged to immolate to his manes, of which they take great care to make an exact anatomy." (Transl.) (108) Colonel Paul Aly, a former rebel, heads in the same direction, but gave oother details :
"A priestess plunged the knife into the entrails of a black pig, the victim leaped, the blood dripped, the conspirators drank with greed, and Boukman, on his knees, took the oath to direct the enterprise, an oath commanded by the priestess. " (Transl.) (109)
This disparity in the limited role of the Lemba woman in the Congo in relation to her unlimited role in Saint Domingue, and later in Haiti, is explained in one word : "Boukante", that is to say to "Exchange", to "Complete" each other. This sacred song lays out the new concept :

Boukante n ap boukante.
Boukante n ap boukante la.
Translation :
Exchanging, we are exchanging.
Exchanging, we are exchanging here.

Through generations, in Saint Domingue, an egalitarian exchange or trade took place within the Lemba rite as well as in all the rites inherited from the mother continent. This egalitarian exchange is one of the unique factors of the Haitian traditional religion, which has become inclusive enough to achieve a revolution. In other words, the Haitian revolution is not the work of the traditional religion as practiced in the land of "Africa". For if the traditional Haitian revolutionary religion draws its essence from ancestral "Africa", it has succeeded in transcending its predecessor. Whereas in "African" Lemba society the exchange was commercial and ancestral. "In Lemba symbolism, it is the basis of the idea of "trading with ancestors at the entrance from whence comes wealth", (110) in the Haitian society the exchange was totally different. Where in Africa there existed a hierarchical superiority of man over woman, of the free over the captive, of the straight over the homosexual, of the rich over the poor, etc., the traditional Haitian religion has created a completely egalitarian space - where everyone observes the master principles common to all. In this religion/way of life, participants, whatever their particularities, may potentially occupy the highest liturgical posts. On this aspect the Haitian ancestral religion is unique. This message of tolerance, mutual respect and integration is conveyed through sacred songs such as this one :

Tout moun se moun.
Onore rich k ap onore pòv.
Tout moun se moun.
Devan Bondye pa gen esplikasyon.
Tout moun se moun
Every person is a person.
Honor the rich who honors the poor.
Every person is a person.
Before God there is no explanation.
Every person is a person.

It should also be emphasized that, despite similarities, the traditional religion as practiced in "Africa" ​​can not be accredited of the Haitian revolution, which is the work of a whole new Creole religion. For, like islam, the traditional religion of "Africa" ​​never questioned slavery as a system of immoral exploitation. Moreover, only in Haiti had the fusion of ancestral rites taken place.++++ This merger of rites was hardly random. It gave rise to the re-establishment of the ultimate cosmic order long diluted by tribal dispersion. It brought to the cult of Haiti an energy and vitality lost for millennia on the mother continent. Without the creation of this new spiritual entity, the Saint Domingue rebels would never have had the union, strength and spiritual cohesion required to accomplish the Haitian revolution. It is no coincidence that Haiti remains the only place where such an exploit has occurred.

"Market scene in Lemba country, late nineteenth or early twentieth century, showing pigs and goats of the kind used in Lemba feasts. (Svenska Missionsforbundet Archives, Lidingö)"
Source : John M. Janzen. Lemba 1650-1930: A Drum of Affliction in Africa and the New World. New York, 1982.

a) Was the pig sacrifice a blood "pact"?

In the Lemba ritual (on Congo soil), the pig sacrifice was complete in itself. The animal blood didn't need to be shed for this sacrifice to be successful. This is why smothering was the only acceptable method :
"The mpaàngi za ngaànga [sacrificial priests title] have, among other things, the heavy burden of sacrificing pigs, which they must absolutely carry out without causing them to suffer atrociously, by suffocation." (Transl.) (111)
Thus, the blood "pact" is foreign to the Lemba tradition of Congo/Angola. This is also the case in the Haitian ritual, in which a large number of sacrifices, particularly of poultry, take place without the slightest bloodshed. And when there is an effusion, this does not change the content of the spiritual service in progress, nor does it evoke anything special to the participants. Why, then, was this pig sacrificed?
It should be noted that pig sacrifice in Lemba society served a dual function: 1) collective/family, 2) individual.
1) At the collective level, through the porcine sacrifice, the Lemba ritual pursues at least 5 objectives, namely :
  • Maintaining the bond with the ancestral Divinity : "Here, it is worth remembering that animal sacrifice is absolutely exceptional among the Koôngo. Especially during a ceremony intended to activate the great fetishes that intervene in sacrifices such as that of a hen, a goat or a pig." (Transl.) (112) And if existed an exceptional time for the Saint Domingue rebels, it was indeed August 21, 1791, the eve of the general insurrection's outbreak.
  • The restoration of cosmic order : "The cult of Koôngo dya Leemba as well as that of Kimpasi (...) is, as the kongologist Georges Balandier correctly points out, a society that intends to restore "[...] its own structures and the order of the world in which it belongs, opening itself to a new generation... The community tries to ensure its safeguard by reviving to its youth the beginnings of the collective enterprise which shaped its order, its civilization and its history — for the specific rites symbolically refer to the age of creation, in the time of the beginnings. Society regains its greenery by bringing to life, according to its norms, young people that initiation shapes". It was in this dynamic of protection and maintenance of order in general that Leemba tended to fight against sorcery maneuvers." (Transl.) (113) In the Saint Domingue context, the French revolution having dethroned royalty that sought to improve the lot of the captives, (and then captivity itself) represented cosmic disorder. The return of royal power (and then the abolition of slavery) meant divine order restoration.
  • Mutual aid and solidarity : "However, the pig sacrifice called ngulu in the Koôngo language must probably respond to the philosophy of the principles of mutual aid and solidarity when misfortunes fall on a person. Hence, by applying the ki-yindula technique, the expressed goal, through the pig immolation, is lungu or lungululu (from the verb lunga or lungulula which imply respectively any idea of ​​countenance, sufficiency and abundance) that is to say, mutual aid, in other words, it is an expression of solidarity at the community level to better counter the maneuvers of the disturbers of peace that are ndoki or sorcerers." (Transl.) (114)
  • The species conservation : "Hence, among other things, the meaning of the verb lungulula, which means to multiply, propagate the species, make it last or lunguluka which means to multiply, become numerous and the scope of the proverb according to which, mpuanaku ka lungu, lungu n'andi, that is to say that one must never leave his neighbor alone in misfortune." (Transl.) (115)
2) At the individual level, the pig sacrifice was used to attract magical protection on self for the future combat. a) By gathering the deified pig's hair for making amulet (Bingalù in kikongo). And b) via a form of pre-war communion called Lemba e ekesa :
"Lemba e ekesa, v., to place a soldier under such a spell that he need have no fear, for by it all possiblity of harm or danger is removed. The nganga e elemba takes palm wine in a wooden plate or bowl, dips his fingers into it and touches the lips of the soldier with the front, the back and then the front of his fingers, and tells him never to look behind or enter a house, but go straight away to the war." (116)
So, at Bois Caïman, we see a combination of two distinct Lemba rituals ; namely the regular pig immolation ritual and the pre-war communion Lemba e ekesa  ritual. This specific combination required the substitution of certain elements from these two rituals.
a) The pig smothering, mandatory in Lemba, was replaced by slaughter.
b) The collected pig blood replaced the palm wine generally used in Lemba e ekesa.
It is more than likely that from "exchanging" or "trading" rituals with other ethnicities or Nations, these modifications were made to the Lemba long before Bois Caïman. Élie Monnereau indicates, in his description of pig sacrifices a few decades prior, that these ceremonies were only held on Sundays and during public holidays, the only days when captives could get together. This restriction prevented the Lemba e ekesa portion of the Bois Caïman ritual from being undertaken on the very day of the attack, as required by the Lemba tradition, in order to make the most of the magical protection offered by that pre-combat communion.
So there was no pig blood "consumption", at Bois Caïman, as is claimed. This is clearly an exaggeration, for the sacrificial blood slightly touched the rebels' lips, in turn. Moreover, a single pig does not supply enough blood to feed hundreds of participants.

"Market entrance (fula dia zandu), scene of drinking and socila intercourse, often actual place of trading. In Lemba symbolism, it is the basis of the idea of "trading with ancestors at the entrance from whence comes wealth" (text 9, line 17; Chapter 7,) (Svenska Missionsforbundet Archives, Lidingö)"
Source : John M. Janzen. Lemba 1650-1930: A Drum of Affliction in Africa and the New World. New York, 1982.

b) What about the so-called "diabolical pact"?

Here is a traditional Haitian religion whose hounfò (temples or peristyles) are lined with icons of catholic saints, while no diabolical or satanic image is found there. This is the traditional religion whose services always begin with a catholic prayer of at least 20 minutes. Here is this ancestral religion or way of life calling its Divine Entities among others Jany (Angels) or Sen (Saints). This is the religion at the center of which Bondye (Good Lord), the Creator, is incontestable ; and the existence of the devil, as a supernatural being opposed to the Creator, is foreign. And even when this concept of the devil was brought from the ancestral Congo via the ancient Portuguese christianization, this incompatible concept was quickly diminished, trivialized and emptied of its substance. In spite of the evidence to the contrary, despite the fact that catholic priests (French and Spanish) were the most faithful allies of the Haitian revolutionaries, and that many of these priests remained in the rebel camps, yet, for several decades, the Haitian revolution is being accused of being the work of the devil or satan. How is it possible?
In 1984, historian Cheik Anta Diop made this remark which perfectly sums up the nature of the Western "diabolical pact" calumny that weighs on Bois Caïman, the revolution and the traditional Haitian religion :
"You must know that the enemy [the christian West] is killing you intellectually, killing you morally before killing you physically, but that's how whole groups have been eliminated. You are denied as a cultural being, you close your eyes, you do not see the evidences, you count on your complexion, on your alienation, on conditioning, the reflexes of subordination and on so many factors of this kind." (Transl.) (117)
In other words, the christian "diabolical pact" accusation is not religious, spiritual or moral. It is nothing other than the extension of the Western genocidal violence that has been in effect for centuries against black peoples and the complex civilization that animates them. For how can one take seriously an accusation of "satanism" or immorality coming from followers of a christian religion that consumes daily the body and blood of Christ, clearly symbolic cannibalism? A christian religion whose churches were financed by corpse remnants that were offered as a spectacle. Corpse remnants, called relics, still underneath each altar. How else can we interpret the disgust the Bois Caïman blood sacrifice seems to cause in people who, at the same time, regard as religious the annual shedding of millions of liters of sheep blood during muslim and jewish sacrificial festivals?
Obviously, this blatant accusation serves as a pretext for religious and civilizational violence. And such violence is maintained by American fundamentalists who deny any notion of morality to black peoples, especially their Afro-American fellow-citizens, who have been christians for generations.
Moreover, the Lemba e ekesa ritual, in which blood touches the lips in Bois Caïman, was so much non- "diabolical" that in Congo, it was carried out in the catholic churches during the baptisms of luck-providing children called "lombo" (118) :
"Lemba mwana, v., To christen a child ; this ceremony among the people before the return of Romish priests to San Salvador in 1881, had become no better than a fetish ceremony, and only used in the case of lombo children. (...) The nganga e elemba takes palm wine and touches the child thrice as above described under lemba e ekesa, only it is applied to the forehead as well as to the lips. A man or woman stands by, and is called ese dia nzila a ezulu (way-to-heaven-father), who is of course the relic fo the "god-father" ; he must always receive respect from the child." (119)
Thus,  this type of service that took place even in catholic churches, did not relay the idea of ​​a "pact" with the "devil" or with any other malevolent entity. On the contrary, it guaranteed the "path of heaven-father" (ese dia nzila a ezulu). For it must be remembered that the Lemba's aim is not to subject someone to an imaginary "devil", but rather to cure, to protect, to calm by removing pain, to civilize by extirpating raw and anti-social reflexes, etc. :
"Lemba, v., to deliver from or remove all power of influence of evil or spells of sorcery, hence to soothe, i.e. to remove all pain and annoyance, and so calm and quiet, to civilze by removing the savage instinct ; also prspectively to place under a protective influence or charm to avoid all evil from befalling the individual. This idea became naturally allied with the use of "holly water," [syncretic act] and even with the service of baptism of infants. The charm thus conferred is called elemba. (…) Lemba e sunga. v., to charm away all danger or possibilities of danger." (120)
In short, far from a diabolical and barbaric pact, the Bois Caïman Lemba ceremony was civilizing. The protection offered by the sacred pig's blood to the combatants made them brave, audacious, invincible, intractable and victorious against Western slave-owners.
Also, christians who so enjoy judging black people's ancestral tradition, are they as moral as they like to pretend? To find out, let's analyze the ways of the rulers of France at the time the Haitians' ancestors were setting foot in the Saint Domingue colony :
Louis XIV (1643-1715) : On August 26, 1670, Louis XIV, king of France, authorized the introduction of kidnapped blacks to serve as slaves in America and elsewhere. 9 years later, on March 25, 1679, Louis XIV made arrangements for a shipping company to bring black populations to Saint Domingue and other islands. The French rulers wanted, through captivity, to convert the "Africans" they considered immoral. But Louis XIV, that king of christian France, far from being moral, was largely perverted at that time. He even made sure that Françoise Marie de Bourbon, her daughter born of adultery, could marry her nephew, Philippe d'Orléans, so that she could become a princess of blood.
Philippe d'Orléans (1715-1723) : After Louis XIV's death, Philippe d'Orléans came to power with the title of "Regent" (that is to say, a transitional king) in 1715. But prior to that, a few years after the ancestors of the Haitians started arriving, Philippe d'Orléans, ordered satanic services. (121) And this is hardly surprising. For Philippe d'Orléans born in 1674, at the age of 13 or 14, took part in orgies organized by his tutor, a catholic priest named Dubois. And when Philippe d'Orléans took power, he had orgies every single night. And Dubois, the catholic priest, participated in these orgies. Also, during his debauchery parties, Philippe d'Orléans, who was married to his own first cousin, had the habit of making love to his own daughter, Marie-Louise-Elisabeth (Countess of Berry). And these acts of incest were performed in the presence of Dubois, who later became cardinal.
Louis XV (1723-1774) : Philippe d'Orléans yielded the throne to his nephew, Louis XV, who became king officially in 1723. And Louis XV was also an immoral who slept with 2 of his daughters : Anne-Henriette et Marie-Adélaïde. (122)
It is irrefutable, those christians who love to judge blacks, are the very ones who were immoral and venerated Satan. Blacks, for their part, have never entertained satanic relations. Moreover, their ancestral tradition is filled with morality.

11- The real impact of religion on the Haitian Revolution

A handful of historians have recently expressed reservations on the real impact of traditional religion on the Haitian revolutionary victory. We shall summarize and then dismiss their arguments that are based on Eurocentric assumptions rather than on historical, military or religious analysis. But before rejecting their remarks, we need to highlight a relevant but neglected fact that is not religion, magic, or even military strategies. It is the rebels' mental superiority that offered them a phenomenal advantage over their European opponents :
"If they are attacked, they will defy hunger, thirst, and even death rather than surrender. If they do so, we will have to give up farming, the workshops will be bereft.
The blacks have proved to us that, in order to make war, they do not need clothes, shoes, hats, wagons, or stores." (Transl.) (123)
And when victory was within reach, the population knew how to harass the enemy psychologically via gestures of great efficiency. In 1803, the French soldiers, in great difficulty at the end of the war, ended up eating rats. One of them described the attitude of the Blacks to their misfortunes :
"Let us imagine the position of so many unfortunates [French soldiers] who were soon to be desolated by famine, and obliged to defend themselves against ferocious enemies, and these news will not fail to embolden them, and unable to escape from the danger of falling, either to the power of the English, or to that of the same men... (...)  The Negroes, who knew what was going on among us, then lit all the mountain crests : it was the manner in which they expressed their joy on occasions when they had to congratulate themselves on some successes." (Transl.) (124)
So much for the mental aspect, one of several elements that positively influenced the Haitian revolutionary movement. But I doubt very much that such a flattering aspect for blacks could be of interest to those who seek an alternative to the traditional religion as a primary factor in the victory of 1804.

a) Military modernity versus barbaric tradition

In 1987, French historian Pierre Pluchon, (125) argued, roughly, that the religious and magical practices which made the rebels intrepid in battle, so evident at the beginning of the revolution, were in the long run pushed aside by modern military tactics. And it was, according to him, the adoption of this modernity, complimented by the rejection of ancestral magic, which guaranteed the independence of Haiti.
Pluchon's assertion insinuates : a) that the traditional religion and the rebels' magic practices were incompatible with reason-based military tactics and strategies ; b) that the adoption of such military methods by the rebels would automatically imply their abandonment of war related ancestral practices.

Our reply :
We argue that the rebels' religious adhesion as well as their magical practices remained unchanged throughout the Haitian revolution, while their military knowledge evolved. Proof that they found no incompatibility between their religious practices/magic and the use of military strategies of their time, because :
In 1791, the rebels acquired the enemy's tactics on the battlefield. Such quick acquisition, caused accusations of complicity to be brought upon Cambefort, colonel of Le Cap regiment, who defended himself in these terms :
"But, they say, they  [the rebels] know the tactics, they can only have learned it from you? Sure. We have given them strong lessons, and we dare to glorify ourselves for that. We attacked, pursued, beaten, and destroyed them. (...) But let anyone cite a single circumstance in which the rebels took tactics lessons from us, given by benevolence ; they made us prisoners, and among these rebels there are leaders who have come from Europe with the intention of upsetting the Colony." (Transl.) (126)
The rebels were  fairly exposed to Western war tactics, due to their meticulous observation of the enemy, and from the participation, from the very first days, of several blacks and free mulattos who served in the maréchaussée (the colonial police). But such an acquisition did not lead them to reject their civilization's war method. On the contrary, they merged the two approaches to their advantage :
"The blacks, who formerly did not fight with a firm foot, have now become hardened ; now they are fighting very well in line, and join to our tactics their ancient method of waging war, which consists in constantly harassing their enemy, to take advantage of the night, the rains, the storms, to make their attacks, which they renew every hour, to be always in the rear of the army, not to attach importance to maintaining a position. They always know that of their enemies : in this they are well served by their fathers, their brothers, their sisters, their friends, their mistresses, who are near the whites, whose indiscretion and boast are always used by those, and often cause great misfortunes." (Transl.) (127)
2- Then, subsequent to the abolition of slavery by Sonthonax and Polverel in 1793 (officially in 1794), the rebels, having integrated the French army to fight the separatist colonists, the Spanish and English invaders, have gathered French military tactics. However, the black soldiers having gained this new Western military know-how did not cause the French loss. For never the insurgents would have won, by using Western aligned fighting, an archaic method whose limits they have demonstrated. The Haitian revolutionaries' victory stems more from what Dessalines called Chicaner, Chikannen, in modern Creole, that is to say, "To harass" the enemy. Chikannen, this "African" warlike method, corresponds to the "hit and run" practiced by the so-called Bantu peoples of Central and Southern "Africa". In the South of the continent, "hit and run" was in operation until 1810-1816, when Chaka Zulu introduced the method of hand to hand combat. (128)

Warlike similarities between Black of Saint Domingue and South Africa
Chikannen - Saint Domingue
"Hit & run" Zulu - South Africa
(Close combats)
"Without any notion or war experience, the slaves did it first in the manner of the savages." (Transl.) (AM)
"They fought in a mob, called an impi, and there was little or no internal organization. (...) Tactics were nonexistent." (DRM)
"Old men, women and children, all went pell-mell in combat." (Transl.) (AM)
"They advanced at first with a frightful noise, and preceded by a great number of women and children, singing and howling in chorus." (Transl.) (MD)
"The women and children assembled on a nearby hillock to shout encouragement and watch the fun." (DRM)
"Often they advanced at reach, in the confidence that the blows of the enemy could not reach them, and to convince the blacks of the power of their charms." (Transl.) (MD)
"Individual warriors ran forward to giya-howling [giyon in Haitian Creole] self-praises and dealing death to imaginary foes." (DRM)
"In the midst of an imposing silence, only magicians could be heard singing and dancing with demonic contortions." (Transl.) (MD)
"A long preliminary period was devoted to shouted boasts and taunts." (DRM)
"Never did they stand tightly or on the open... if one went straight to them with an air of assurance, then, even if they had been twenty to one, nothing was able to hold them back to fight, they fled…" (Transl.) (MD)           
"But crippling damage was rare and extermination unheard of." (DRM)
"There is no example where the blacks attacked the whites who were waiting for them with a firm footing." (Transl.) (MD)
"There might be an attempt to surround an enemy, but if a sufficient numerical advantage was at hand for such maneuver, a battle was hardly necessary."  (DRM)
"They make use of several kinds of magic which they mingle with the practices of the christian religion." (Transl.) (AM)
"They [wizards] operated enchantments (ouanga) to ensure the attack's success." (Transl.) (MD)
"Zulu izinyanga [traditional priests] also used their skills to ensure supernatural ascendancy over their enemies in other regards too, and particularly powerful individuals were thought to be able to cause confusion by conjuring up mist or to render the enemy blind to troop movements." (IK)
Amazwi okuwunga = charm, amulet, in Zulu. (OL)
"The Attica transmitted its worship and its uses
To the unhappy children of these distant shores…
But a bull appears, and this black color,
This funeral apparatus and these flowery ties
Are for a sacrifice offered by innocence
To this deity adored by Hope.
Among the attendants a speaker stands up ;
He has the august employment of a sacrifice official.
Armed with a sacred iron, his arm to the victim
Carries the fatal blow, in the ardor which animates it." (Transl.) (HD)
"The troops were marched to KwaNodwegu, where men from the youngest ibutho were required to kill a specially selected black bull with their bare hands. (...) The ritual was intented both to pass something of the strenght and courage of the bull on to the men, and to further bind them together by the application of the protective medicines (...) Once the men had undertaken these ceremonies, they were considered to have entered a very different state of spiritual being from that of their everyday lives. They were bound together in spiritual unity, and were prepared for the evil effects -- known simply as umnyama, blackness -- which would be unleashed by the shedding of blood in combat." (IK)
"As for the induction which is drawn from the military Decorations that the rebels wear, alas, it was not by our actions that they also decorated themselves with ours. It is off the corpses of our brave companions of arms they have taken these honorable marks ! They use them as trophies as well as ornaments which flatter the eyes of every barbarous people." (Transl.) (CAM)
"The next act of cleansing was for the victor to wear some item of clothing taken from the man he had killed. This was worn until the full rituals were completed, and was an outward sign of both the man's state of spiritual contamination and his prowess as a warrior. The practice was called zila. (…) For the most part upper garments were taken from European bodies." (IK)
"They also sometimes attacked by nocturnal surprises, which often succeeded by the terror they cast among their enemies." (Transl.) (MD)
"Traveling fast, it [a clan] would engage in predawn raids. (DRM)
Koupe tèt boule kay : "Only the doctors and the surgeons were spared in this horrible confusion : whites, suddenly surprised by the flames that followed these exterminators, avoided death only by usurping for a moment solely these titles of grace." (Transl.) (MAZ)
"Burning kraals, driving off cattle, and slaughtering its victims as they scrambled, one by one, out of their burning huts." (DRM)

It is not surprising that we've discovered great similarities between the war behavior of the Saint Domingue/Haitian revolutionaries and that of the Bantu peoples ; mainly that of the pre-Shaka South African Zulu. For the Zulu ethnic group, one of the sacred nations (Nanchon) composing the Haitian ancestral religion, is culturally akin to many other ethnic groups generically called Congo in Saint Domingue.
3-  This Bantu (or Congo) war art was applied in February 1802 by Henry Christophe, who, facing the landing of the Leclerc expedition, headed for the hills after setting fire to the town of Le Cap, starting by his own house. General Christophe's courageous action compelled the French troops to lodge in the insalubrity of a tropical city in ruins. In these unhealthy conditions, the spread of infectious diseases, including murderous yellow fever, was inevitable.
Moreover, in his letter of February 8, 1802, Governor General Toussaint Louverture ordered Dessalines to apply the harshest guerrilla+++++ warfare in Port-au-Prince :
"There is no reason for despair, Citizen-General, if you can succeed in removing from the troops that have landed the resources offered to them by Port Republican [Port-au-Prince]. Endeavour, by all the means of force and address, to set that place on fire; it is constructed entirely of wood. (...) Watch the moment when the garrison shall be weak in consequence of expeditions into the plains, and then try to surprise and carry that city, falling on it in the rear.
Do not forget, while waiting for the rainy season which will rid us of our foes, that we have no other resource than destruction and flames. Bear in mind that the soil bathed with our sweat must not furnish our enemies with the smallest aliment. Tear up the roads with shot; throw corpses and horses into all the fountains; burn and annihilate everything, in order that those who have come to reduce us to slavery may have before their eyes the image of that hell which they deserve."
And what plans would Dessalines adopt, upon becoming commander in chief a few months later? As a true Bantu strategist, he delayed the fight as much as possible, waiting for the French to "die like flies", before attacking them, or "chikannen" them, or harass them :
"Sometimes in his moments of hope, what was Dessalines' calculation, and what discourse he held to his officers : « (i) Vouz' autr' tiembé coeur... tiembé coeur, moi dis vous : blancs france layo pas capab' tenir contr' bonhomme Saint-Domingue ; yo va aller, aller, aller, puis va rester; yo va malades, yo va mouri comme mouches. Coûtez bèn : si Dessalines va  rendre cent fois, li va trahi cent fois. Ainsi moi di vou z'autr' tiembé coeur, et pis vous va voir quand yo va p'tit, p'tit, nous va chicaner yo, nous va batt' yo, nous va brûlé toute récolles layo; puis nous va caché dans mornes à nous. Eh, que yo capab' tenir; yo va aller.... Après, Dessalines va rend' vou z'autr' libres. Blancs caba parmi nous ; blancs caba onti nous.... Nou z'autr' assez pour gagner pirogues, et aller prend' toutt' bâtiments layo qui après filer dans mer ».
(i) "Take courage.... take courage, I tell you, the French will not be able to resist for a long time in St. Domingue; first they will walk around finely but they will soon be sick,  and will die like flies. Listen well : if Dessalines surrenders to them a hundred times, he will betray them a hundred times. So I repeat to you, take courage, and you will see that when the French become few, we will trouble them, we will fight them, we will burn the crops, then we will flee to our unapproachable hills. They will not be able to keep the country, and will be forced to leave it. Then I will make you independent. We need no more white people among us; we are enough to make canoes, and to board all the vessels of commerce which we shall find in our seaways"." (130)
It is this Chikannen or "hit and run" logic, this Bantu art of war mixed with religion, that the victorious General Dessalines expressed in his April 28, 1804 proclamation :
"Let this nation come, if it is foolish enough or rash enough to attack me. Already, at his approach, the irritated genie of Hayti, rising from the depths of the Ocean, rises threateningly ; it raises the waves, excites the storms, and with its powerful hand scatters and destroys the fleets. The laws of nature obey his formidable voice ; sickness, plague, famine, fire, poison are always at his orders. But why rely on the relief of climate and the elements? Have I forgotten that I command a people whose courage pushes back obstacles and increases by the dangers! Let them come, these homicidal cohorts! I will freely abandon to them the shore and the places where the cities have existed, but woe to those who approach too near the mountains ; it would have been better for them to be engulfed in the abysses of the sea than to be torn by the furious hands of the children of Hayti." (Transl.) (131)

b) The political conspiracy versus blind magic approach

A few years following Pluchon, in 1999, David Geggus took over by hammering the creole proverb "konplo pi fò pase wanga". That is to say, a conspiracy or the Saint Domingue insurgents' August 14, 1791, conspiratorial planning at Morne Rouge was more effective than the magic carried out by these rebels during the ceremonies. (132) Although Geggus has since acknowledged the impact of traditional religion on the Haitian revolution, his initial argument, which he has not denied as such, and which is being taken up by a growing number of revisionists, deserves nevertheless to be confronted.

Our reply :
1- For the Eurocentric historians, and alienated Haitians, guided by racist prejudices, the Black's religious practice is summed up as blind, unreflected and unreasoned faith. This is why they take away  from the Dominguois revolutionaries the right to autonomous learning which is an inevitable process during 12 years of fighting against 3 of the greatest powers of the time (France, England and Spain).
It is a fact, during the fighting, the insurgents made use of wanga or charms which made them reckless :
"During these arrangements, in the midst of an imposing silence, only magicians could be heard singing and dancing with demonic contortions; they operated enchantments (ouanga) to ensure the attack's success, and often they avanced at reach, in the confidence that the blows of the enemy could not reach them, and to convince the blacks of the power of their charms. The attack began with cries and howls capable of frightening the weak men only." (Transl.) (133)
But, unlike so-called revealed religions, belief is not part of the blacks' religion that knows no dogma. Their religiosity is based more on knowledge, observation, experimentation, verifiable results, and on any other element linking intelligence, senses, and intuition to the reality of the world as it is. They reject reality as it is believed, as one would like it to be, or as one may have read it in any sacred book.
Their wanga magic does not escape reality either. The word wanga (Kikongo bwanga ; waanga, in the Kasai region) (134) refers to a charm, an offensive or defensive magic, with limited action in space and time. The Creole proverb said it rightly : "Konplo pi fò pase wanga", because a good plot has a duration and an efficiency superior to the best of charms. This is why the Lemba e ekesa ritual was made as close as possible to the battle (during the second ceremony of August 21st) so that the maximum of its magical content could be taken advantage of.
That said, we must not confuse wanga with the entire traditional religion, of which it (wanga) is only one element. In addition to the wanga or magical charms, the conception of life after death (which is not magical but spiritual), guided the rebels in combat. The Ibos (of present-day Nigeria) and the Amines (of present-day Benin and Togo) knew that if they died, they would reunite with their ancestors in the land of "Africa". And in the same way, death would allow them to live again in another body :
"The Amina and Ibo negroes believe in metempsychosis,"Why, "said one of them," wouldn't we seek to lighten the weight of our chains by the hope of a happier fate? The lost of our liberty, must necessarily entail that of our feeble existence, and you must no longer blame suicide as much in us as it puts an end to our torments. "Indeed, the Aminas and the Ibos, on arriving at Saint Domingue, or in any other island, where their destiny is to be slaves, and to water the soil with their sweat, think they escape the evil treatment of the masters, too often unjust and cruel, by committing death." (Transl.) (135)
No one can deny that a soldier who is unfearful of death is a considerable asset. However, not wanga, but their favorable conception of death nourished their suicidal efforts in the early part of the insurrection :
"Let us not say that these are tales and reveries : there exists in Europe an infinity of negroes and men of color who can certify all these truths. I have met them even in Italy ; besides, in 1791 I myself witnessed the eruption of so many scourges and monstrosities. (...) When the slaves managed to ascend to us from this abyss of misfortunes, would not have confirmed the horror of it; when those who, in these first attacks, came, alas, to fall en masse on our bayonets and cannon, drunk with rum and magic, would not have confirmed it, we can no more doubt its reality nor its causes." (Transl.) (136)
Reaching the epic Battle of Vertières (November 18, 1803), General Capois Lamort sealed the French defeat by an act of great bravery similar to those of the first moments.
2- There were indeed some among the rebels who had a blind belief in their wanga. Here is the example of such an individual who invited another to shoot him, as if his purchased "ouanga" was going to stop the bullet :
"Louis, a hunter, from the Grande-Rivière district, fired wonderfully one shot with a rifle ; A negro of the coast, full of faith in a purchased spell, said to him one day before this sailor : "You are very clever, you never miss your shot; but I have a ouanga, and I defy you to reach me at twenty paces". Louis accepts the challenge : the unfortunate man surrounds himself with rabbit skin, and waits without fear the blow which extends him stiff dead before the very door of the dwelling where this scene took place." (Transl.) (137)
However, such arrogance arising from the misunderstanding of magic, was far from shared by all the rebels, let alone by the leaders who always combined traditional practices with great lucidity :
"Jean François took the title of Grand Admiral of France and General-in-Chief ; and Biassou, his lieutenant, that of Vice King of the conquered countries. They dominated these bands composed of Congos, Mandingoes, Ibos, and Senegalese, etc., both by the superiority of their intelligence and by superstition. They established a severe discipline among them, and were as proud and cruel to theirs as their masters had been towards them." (Transl.) (138)
Moreover, this magic accompanied by lucidity, as practiced in the first moments by Jean-François Papillon and Georges Biassou, was maintained until the final victory of November 1803. For Dessalines, the general-in-chief during that conclusive period, although a strategist genius, never got separated from his magic snuff-box. (139) We must also ask ourselves : if the rebels believed their magic was 100% fail-proof, why would they use Chikannen, a defensive form of combat favoring strategic withdrawal? Moreover, the Haitian tradition is perfectly aware of the limit in intensity of any wanga in time and space. The Creole phrase "Yo bò w pwen, yo pa voyo w dòmi nan kafou", that is to say "you are granted a magical protection, but you are not sent to take unnecessary risks", illustrates this traditional lucidity.
Finally, although they made use of it, the elites of the Saint Domingue insurgents did not see magic as a rallying point. They preferred rationality to it. Because of their intermediary role in the plantations, these workshop commanders, coachmen and servants, amply cultivated their rationality to navigate between whites and blacks, two species that they considered highly unreasonable. Their password, non-islamic, explained this point of view :

Translation :
"Head of king, heart of white, belly of negro. (...) It seems that these slogans were the invention of Biassou, which undoubtedly attached to it a meaning that I never could understand, (Author's note.)" (140) 
In the view of Boukman's companions, reason sat within the divine "African" royalty, of which they are the representatives in America. This reason is also to be found in the divine royalty of Europe, represented by the royalists. That is why they proudly identified themselves as "Gens du roi", or the "People of king", for they were guided by "Tête à roi" or "Head of King", hence by the royal intellect, which is supreme and divine.
This password, an invention of Biassou, who was yet a Houngan (traditional priest) and "the most supersititious", (Transl.) (141) very oddly recalls Plato's tripartition of the soul. (The Republic, Book IV) Namely, the perfect city would be divided into 3 social classes corresponding to the three parts of the soul :
  • a) The Golden Class, composed of the Philosopher Kings, the governors who represent Reason (noûs ou noos) - "Tête à roi" or "Head of king", according to Biassou. 
  • b)The Silver class, composed of the Soldiers protecting the city and who are motivated by the Heart, that is to say by Will and Anger (thumos) - "Coeur à blanc" or "Heart of White", for Biassou.
  • c) The Bronze class, composed of workers, farmers and traders who produce wealth and who are motivated by the Belly (epithumia), low desires, pleasure and pecuniary desire - Biassou's "Ventre à nègre" or "Belly of negro".
This comparison becomes even more accurate when one considers that Plato illustrated his theory in a dialogue entitled Phaedrus, in which he described a Coachman (Head) guiding a carriage with 2 horses: 1 white (Heart) and 1 black (Belly). Such a story would certainly have resonated with this generally creole class of commanders, coachmen and servants (Head of king), daily mediating between two antagonistic and unreflective classes : the class of white European colonists who are generally angry and being led by the torso (Heart of white), and the generally "African" black captives led by the belly (Belly of negro). However, the notion of race is absent from the logic of Plato, who considered blue-eyed horses as bad, and those with black eyes as good. (142)

"Nègre et Négresse de St. Domingue"
Source : Jacques Grasset de Saint-Sauveur, Illustrations de Encyclopédie des voyages, contenant l’abrégé historique des moeurs, usages, habitudes domestiques, religions, fêtes… (1796).

In short, if the password in question is authentic (it may well be, since the author was present during the general insurrection), he demonstrates that the early Saint Domingue revolutionaries were guided by reason. They were aware of the empirical limitations of their ancestral magic. And they made up for its flaws, as did the Zulu warriors who regularly warmed up their regular magic (143) to maintain its efficiency while perfecting their armaments and strategies.

(Close combat fighting introduced to the Zulus by Chaka from 1810 to 1816)
Source : Angus McBride. The Zulu War. London, 1976. p.12.

3- The religious and civilizational aspects of the rebels, their conception of life and death, are not considered by critics. The latter are incapable of conceiving any traditionalist other than a simple-minded person blinded by magic. However, multiple religious (non-magical) factors also influenced the rebels' belligerent behavior :  
  • Jou m pa rive or Predestination : some rebels knew the exact time of their death or under what circumstances it would come. So they had no fear in combat. Here is the example of a captive that swam in the midst of caimans, knowing that his final hour did not strike, and therefore no harm would be done to him : "All negroes, both Guineans and Creoles, believe in predestination. We had for fisherman an excellent diver who pursued the turtles among the caimans who are very fond of them, and thus exposed himself to swimming, taunting them, sometimes even fighting them to remove their prey, convinced that he would not perish, if it was not his time. During the war of the South, what inspired the negroes, even the most pusillanimous, with bravery and audacity? Predestination." (Transl.) (144)
  • Nan Ginen or Transmigration of Souls : rebels of all ethnicities or Nations knew that if they died, they would return to Nan Ginen, to their ancestral "African" land. That is why : "Officers killed and picked up on the battlefield were buried with their weapons." (Transl.) (145) As early as 1791, Biassou evoked the post-mortem return to Nan Ginen in order to motivate his troops : "When the exaltation had reached its height, Biassou followed by his sorcerers, approached the crowd, and exclaimed that the spirit of God inspired him, and announced to the Africans that if they succumbed in battle they would revive in their ancient tribes in Africa." (Transl.) (146) And Dessalines, in 1803, on the eve of the independence, maintained the same type of discourse in which he promised his soldiers that if they died : "killed by the French, was a happiness for them, since they were immediately transported to Guinea, where they would see papa Toussaint, who was waiting there to complete his army, which he intended to reconquer St.-Domingue." (Transl.) (147)
  • Reviv yon lòt vi or Metempsychosis : the rebels of the Amine and Ibo ethnic groups, as we have seen, knew that "by killing themselves", (148) they will alleviate their suffering and reincarnate in another body. This explains their eagerness to take death in battle.
  • Gen chans or Fate : some rebels believed in fate. That is to say that one can enjoy a good omen or bad luck. They have punctual signs that let them know if luck will accompany them on the battlefield or not. And they adjust their degrees of bravery or vigilance accordingly.
  • Gen bon tèt or Visions and Dreams : some rebels received messages (from the Lwa/Jany or Ancestors) during their sleep, indicating their course to follow for hours, days, weeks or even years to come.
  • Fèt ak kwaf or Be Gifted : some rebels were simply endowed, from childhood, with abilities of the physical, mystical, or protective nature, among others. These abilities enable them to achieve the most dangerous prowess without suffering the slightest damage.
  • Kou pou kou Bondye ri or Divine Vengeance : unlike the other colonies' captives who were softened by their christian belief in submission, all the Saint Domingue traditionalist rebels had no difficulty rendering their slavers "war for war, crime for crime, outrage for outrage". They even knew that they were restoring cosmic equilibrium by rendering this just vengeance.
  • Sa w fè se li w wè or Karma : all the rebels knew that sooner or later, the law of equilibrium will push things their way. He who abuses others (the colonists) will always pay, on earth, for his excesses. Thus, they knew that when the decisive hour struck, luck would be on their side.
  • Si gen pou yonn, gen pou de / Kwiy kouvri kwiy, Panyen kouvri panyen, or Sharing : the rebels, like any traditionalist, shared the smallest commodities at their disposal. This "African" mutual support allowed the revolutionary army to stand firm in difficult times. This sharing also involved armaments, logistics, and tactical information that were brought to the rebels by the blacks who remained with the whites : "In the Saint-Domingue war, we often found newly-made French cartridges on negro rebel prisoners ; the astonished whites would then put the blame on the government and its agents ; but I received from Hyacinthe, one of the leaders of the revolt, whom I've let enter the plantations along with several other Negroes, that these cartridges were sent to them by Negresses who frequented the camps and lived in the cities. These women received them in exchange for cabbages, carrots, that they sold to the white soldiers, and often they obtained them by doing favours of other sorts. Black servants, who served their masters in the camps, went out at night in spite of the sentinels' vigilance, and carried them to blacks, who would sent to the rebel camps, the cartridges which had been given to them by the Negresses, or which they had stolen from their masters." (Transl.) (149)
  • Yon sèl dwèt pa manje gonbo/kalalou or Mutual Help and Support. This skill made the enemy believe that the climate favored the rebels, while the latter only helped each other endure the extreme war conditions.
  • Bondye vle, Mistè a deside or Divine Will : all the rebels knew that above all, the will of the Creator, or that of the Lwa/Jany/Mistè, etc. often surpassed the understanding of living beings. And since they did not control everything around them. Will come whatever will, good or bad.
  • etc.
The sum of all these factors has caused the rebels to embrace death with the same enthousiasm in the revolution's final days as they did in the first instants. French general Leclerc testifies to that by stating :"The men die with incredible fanaticsm, they laugh at death. The same applies to the women", (Transl.) (150) as late as on August 9, 1802. 

c) The reality : the traditional effectiveness

But, it is asked, apart from the insurgents' bravery, which was fed by the credit they placed in their charms, can we attribute the success of the Haitian revolution directly to the religious sessions performed at Bois Caiman?
This apparently reasonable question is anything but. For these same people who ask it, do not require tangible proofs of divine intervention in the religious campaigns of other civilizations. They never question the post of chaplain in other countries' armies, nor their pre-fighting prayers, nor the credit granted to the Divine following their victorious campaigns. And never do these skeptics demand that other civilizations' soldiers involved in "holy wars" sit on their behinds and wait for their divine prayers to bring down the enemy.
Very selective in their criticisms, these historians attribute the concept of religious war to everyone, except when it relates to black peoples. Then, suddenly, they raise the scientific bar to an unattainable level, to a spiteful level. To their great displeasure, we will demonstrate, in 4 points, the primordial role the traditional religion played in the Haitian revolutionary success.
1) People mix everything : independence, emancipation, Bois Caïman, religion, magic, etc. But let's be precise. Neither independence nor general liberty have ever been part of the Bois Caiman conspirators' demands. Their requests to the Lwa of their Ancestors were only 3 days off per week and the abandonment of the whip as corporal punishment. Jean-François Papillon, the revolutionary army's first leader, made it clear in the first months of the conflict :
"Here are his own expressions : "It wasn't I who instituted myself general of the negroes. Those who had the power gave me this title [Toussaint Louverture and the Counter-Revolutionary Committee of Le Cap] : by taking up arms, I never pretended to fight for general liberty, which I know to be a fantasy, both by the need which France has of her colonies, and by the danger which there would be in procuring to uncivilized hordes a right which would become infinitely dangerous to them, and which would undoubtedly entail the annihilation of the colony; that if the owners remained on their estates, the revolution might not have taken place." Then he went very much against the procureurs and Économes [plantation managers and accountants], and he wanted to insert, as a fundamental article, into the conventions, that they would no longer exist in Saint Domingue." (Transl.) (151)
Jean-François' words reflect perfectly the revolutionary motivation of the Bois Caïman rebels. The latter, having long been abused with impunity by the Managers-Accountants, knew that the King was seeking to alleviate their burden, but that the colonial administrators no longer obeyed royal dictates. They therefore judged that only armed resistance could then enforce this new (fictitious) royal decree that was favorable to them. Now, on August 29, 1793, hardly two years after Bois Caiman, the  Bois Caiman conspirators obtained general liberty never to lose it. This clearly goes beyond their very limited religious demands of August 14 and 21, 1791. Based only on this aspect, we can say that Lafrik Ginen's Lwa have proved their worth. The island's independence was thus a second supplement. So, it must be said that the Haitian revolution was minimally the work of captives (August 22, 1791 - August 29, 1793 = 2 years), and mostly the realization of freedmen (August 29, 1793 - November 18, 1803 = 10 years).
2) François Dechaussée's testimony revealed that during the first meeting of August 14, 1791, the participants fixed "the day of the insurrection which had long been meditated", (152) then cosmically sealed their decision by the offering of a bull. And the date chosen to start the hostilities was that of August 25, 1791. David Geggus sees in this choice the fact that the assembly of Le Cap would meet on this day, and that the captives wished to take advantage of this opportunity to "eliminate in one go Saint Domingue's political elite." (153) Admittedly, the opening of the colonial assembly was to take place on 25 August. (154) However, the Morne Rouge conspirators, named "Gens du roi" or "People of the king" chose August 25 because it was a holiday and corresponded to the royal feast of Saint Louis-Roi-de-France :
"It was then, we say, two days ahead of la Saint-Louis [the Saint-Louis feast] that M. Hottet, manager of M. Gilbert, wrote to M. Drevet that lhe negroes who were slaves of the Limbé area had revolted, they slaughtered all the whites whom they met and set fire to the plantations." (155)
The attack date, August 25, the St. Louis celebration, was part of the rebels' holistic approach. These traditionalists believed that everything in the world was connected : religion, politics, life, death, magic, courage, and so on. This is why they syncretized Saint-Louis-Roi-de-France on August 25, into the Congo rite, and with the Jany/Lwa Danwezo. (156) This sacred song from the Northern ritual tells it :

Danwezo, Danwezo, Senlwiwa e...
Senlwiwa. Senlwiwa, Danwezo.
Translation :
Danwezo, Danwezo, Saint-Louis-Roi eh...
Saint-Louis-Roi. Saint-Louis-Roi, Danwezo.

Saint-Louis-Roi-de-France is also associated with the 3 Wise Men of the bible (that were 2 Whites and 1 Black).
(The 3 Wise Men)
Source : "La adoración de los Reyes Magos", Diego Velázquez, 1619.

The Congo warlord Pierrot Macaya's 1793 reply to commissioner Polverel sums up the situation well:
"I am the subject of three kings, the king of Congo, master of all the blacks, the king of France, representing my father, and the king of Spain, who represents my mother. These three kings are the descendants of those who, led by a star, went to worship the God-Man [Jesus], and if I went to the Republic's service, I might be led to make war against my brothers, the subjects of those three kings to whom I promised fidelity." (Transl.) (157)
From the troubles caused in Saint Domingue in the name of those "3 Kings", probably derived the Creole expression "Pran nan 3 Wa" (being caught in the 3 Kings). That expression denotes when someone finds him or herself in a perilous and tough situation.
3) However, the insurrection was triggered on the night of August 22, not on the projected August 25. This means that a change of date occurred post the August 14 meeting. And without this change, the revolution would have failed from the onset, since the authorities, through interrogations, were informed of the set August 25 date. They would have awaited the rebels with firm feet. And by depriving the rebels of the surprise factor, the authorities would have crushed them easily. Therefore, the date modification was only possible thanks to the holding of the second ceremony on Sunday August 21. The only date when the captives were free to meet between August 14 and 25. And short of this second ceremony, it would have been a total failure, given that the rebels, scattered over various plantations, could not have modified their plan and coordinated their actions otherwise.
4) During this second ceremony, the political debates having been closed the week prior, more time was allotted to calling upon Divine Entities. And since the traditional ceremonies do not include sermons, the victorious decision to attack the next day (22) instead of the settled August 25 must have come  from the mouth of one of these cosmic Powers (perhaps the one that momentarily inhabited the body of the Manbo Cécile Attiman Coidavid, erroneously called Cécile Fatiman).++++++ As proof of this, it was only after this second meeting that Ignace, an old captive of the La Gossette plantation, said that the captives of his house were informed of August 22, as the date to spark the uprising :
"We've learned that an old negro, called Ignace, and what is worthy of noting, distinguished from others by the exemption from every kind of labor, by the special care of which he was the object, had for a long time the secret of the plot. During a long conference he had had, on the very eve of the revolt, with a free negro from Grande-Rivière (one of the contumacies in the Ogé affair), he had held such language : "The moment of vengeance approaches ; tomorrow during the night all the whites must be exterminated, we count on your promises and on your influence."" (158)
Even this fresh information (delivered by an Ogé fanatic, thus a political equality seeker and a non-muslim) was badly managed by the La Gossette captives who attacked on the night of the 21st. But the next day arrest of a handful of the most vulnerable among them did not helped the authorities prevent the misfortune to come that night. It was too late. That's the intervention of Lwa, Jany, Mystery, etc. Ayibobo!

+  Toussaint Louverture's August 25, 1793, proclamation to the Saint Domingue inhabitants : "It is up to me to work towards it [general emancipation] since I was the first one that was devoted to a cause that I have always supported : I cannot give way, having started it, I shall finish it. Come join me and you will enjoy your rights. The advice in planning were never given to me either by the whites nor by the color (people of colour) [mulattos] ; I must give thanks to the Supreme Being for the inspiration in which I found myself plunged for this cause. Whites and colored men, more educated than I, have only deceived me, and unfortunately more than you can perceive. We have started it, have found ways to support ourselves, and having started it, I shall finish it." (Transl.) (159) Also, in an April 25, 1796,  proclamation addressed to black farmers of Saint-Louis-du-Nord, Toussaint again recalled that he was the one that initiated the revolution : "O you Africans, my brothers, you who cost me so much fatigue, sweat, labor, misery ! (...) Have you forgotten that I was the first to raise the flag of insurrection against tyranny, against the despotism that kept us chained?" (Transl.) (160) Thus, the emphasis placed upon Boukman as the instigator of the Haitian Revolution belongs rather to Toussaint, who to bore the surname "Louverture", (meaning "The Opening"), prior to 1789, to indicate his role as a precursor. Moreover, Toussaint Louverture, by proclaiming : "I was the first to raise the flag of insurrection", borrowed from Abbé Raynal's prophetic text that announced the advent of a courageous leader among the blacks who would overthrow the edifice of slavery. And "he will raise the sacred flag of freedom". (Trad.) (161) This popular anti-slavery text circulating as early as 1781, Toussaint might have consulted it long before 1789 (the French Revolution). And officially identified as the prophetized hero, (by his close friend Governor Laveaux' letters of April 1st and 5, 1796), Toussaint seems to have adopted the surname Louverture in the 1782-1789 interval.
++ Another contemporary of Toussaint Louverture, French General Kerverseau, in his September 7, 1801 report to the ministère de la marine et des colonies, declared, similarly to Colonel Paul Aly, that Toussaint "presided over the assembly where he chose Jean François, Biassou and some others as the insurrection's leaders." (Transl.) (162)
+++ See Antoine Métral. Histoire de l’insurrection des esclaves dans le Nord de Saint-Domingue. Paris, 1819. pp.16-20. 
++++ The traditional ritual of the Dominican Republic also contains a fusion of rites, as its name Las 21 Divisiones indicates, that is to say the symbolic fusion of 21 Divisions or Ethnic Nations. However, this Dominican lithurgical fusion resulted from the importation of the Northern Haitian ritual at various periods. For, prior to contact with Haitians, the establishment by Catholic priests of ethnic or semi-ethnic confrarias (brotherhoods) led to the "division" of the captives and prevented the ethnic mixing required for revolutionary cohesion. The prohibition in the French colonies of such segregationist "confrarias" or "brotherhoods", though widespread in the American colonies, favored the unity that was the Haitian revolutionary. 
+++++ French historian François Blancpain wrote about the February 1802 hostilities : "The Blacks' fire and guerrilla warfare opposed the French charges and shot". (Transl.) (163) Indeed, the form of combat made up of ambushes and harassment, called guerilla warfare, is nothing but Dessalines' "Chikannen" or the so-called Bantu peoples' "hit and run". It was recognized during the Spanish War of Independence (1808-1814), after the Haitian revolution of 1791-1804. As early as 1791, Spanish troops were exposed to this new war method in contact with the Dominguois troops of generals Jean-François Papillon and Georges Biassou, who ended their lives in Spain and Florida and in other Spanish territories, of that times.
++++++ Several people speculate on the identity of the Jany, Mistè or Lwa who temporarily took possession of the Manbo Cécile Attiman Coidavid (Cécile Fatiman) during the August 21, 1791 pig immolation. Some say it was Èzili Dantò, others say that it was Madan Lenba, while others are convinced that it was Marinèt Pye Chèch. All these opinions are equal. For no one can know with certainty. For our part, we think Èzili Boran seems to correspond best to modern Northern ritual. However, I doubt very much that the choice of female Entities was as restricted in 1791 as at present. But who said it was a female entity? Manbo Cécile may well have been guided by a male Lwa or Jany, as is often the case in traditional rituals. In short, whoever persists on the identity of the Mistè that operated the sacrifice at Bois Caiman speaks only through his excessive pride. The best thing to do is to accept that one does not know. And maybe one day a valid historical clue will show up. Otherwise it does not matter.

(1) Gaspard Théodore Mollien. Moeurs d'Haiti. Paris, 2006. p.95.

(2) Pierre-François-Xavier de Charlevoix, Humblot. Histoire de l'île espagnole de St Domingue. Paris, 1731. p.501.

(3) Bontinck François. "Compte-rendu - Hilton (Anne). The Kingdom of Kongo". In :  Revue belge de philologie et d'histoire, Volume 65, Numéro 4, 1987. pp.865-868.

(4) Voir l'excellent ouvrage de Jean-Louis Donnadieu. Un grand seigneur et ses esclaves : le comte de Noé entre Antilles et Gascogne 1728-1816. Toulouse, 2009.
(5) « Extrait des notes de M. Leclerc, procureur-syndic du Limbé, commissaire du gouvernement près du tribunal criminel du Cap français, sur la brochure de M. Gros », AN, Col. CC9a 5.  In Yves Benot : "
The insurgents of 1791, Their leaders and the Concept of Independence" In : The World of the Haitian Revolution. Indiana, 2009. pp.99-110.
(6-7) Beaubrun Ardouin. Études sur l'histoire d'Haïti. Tome 1. Paris,1853. pp.226-227, 228.

(8) Panacea - Numéros 1 à 11. Miami, 1996.

(9) Pompée-Valentin Baron de Vastey.. Essai sur les causes de la Révolution et des guerres civiles d'Hayti... Sans Souci, 1819. p.16.

(10) "Jean-Baptiste Salnave ou "Coco Séraphin" In :  Revue de la Société Haïtienne d'Histoire et de Géographie, Vol.52, n°195. 1998. pp.43-44.
(11) Yves Benot. "The insurgents of 1791, Their leaders and the Concept of Independence" In : The World of the Haitian Revolution. Indiana, 2009. pp.99-110.

(12) Beaubrun Ardouin. Op. Cit. p.228.

(13) France Convention nationale. Débats entre les accusateurs et les accusés, dans l'affaire des Colonies, imprimés en exécution de la loi du 4 pluviose. Tome 1. Paris, 1795. p. 367.
(14) Beaubrun Ardouin. Op. Cit. pp.228-229.
(15-23) François-Alexandre Beau. La Révolution de Saint-Domingue, contenant tout ce qui s’est passé dans la colonie française depuis le commencement de la Révolution jusqu’au départ de l’auteur pour la France, le 8 septembre 1792. Unpublised. In : Notes de Moreau de St-Méry. Col. F3/141, Archives nationales d’outre mer (ANOM).)
Quoted by Jacques Thibau. Le temps de Saint-Domingue : l'esclavage et la révolution française. pp. 273-320. ; Complementary version gathered and generously shared by prof. Jeremy D. Popkin. 

(24) Jean-Louis Donnadieu. Op. Cit. p.148.

(25-29) François-Alexandre Beau. Op. Cit.
(30) Pompée-Valentin Baron de Vastey. Op. Cit. pp.8-9.

(31) Correspondance de M. de Cambefort avec M. de Blanchelande. Journal des Débats de l'Assemblée coloniale, le 7 novembre 1791. In :  Jean Fouchard. Les marrons du syllabaire. Port-au-Prince, 1953. pp.413-414.

(32) Verneuil Gros. Isle de St.-Domingue, province du nord...: Précis historique. Paris, 1793. p.14.

(33) Thomas Madiou. Histoire d’Haiti, Tome 1 Port-au-Prince, 1847. p.73.

(34) Note de Pierre Pluchon In : Pamphile de Lacroix. La Révolution de Haïti. Paris. 1995 ; (texte  original 1819). p.157.

(35) François-Alexandre Beau. Op. Cit.
(36) Jean-Baptiste Picquenard. Adonis ou le bon nègre : anecdote coloniale. Paris, 1798. pp.162-164.

(37) M. E. Descourtilz. Voyages d'un naturaliste et ses observations. Tome 3. Paris, 1809. pp.275-276.

(38)Verneuil Gros. Op. Cit. p.14.
(39) David Patrick Geggus. Haitian Revolutionary Studies. Bloomington, 2002. p.89.

(40) Courier du Bas-Rhin, No 6. Du Samedi 21 janvier 1972. pp.44-45.

(41) David Geggus. Op. Cit. p.253.

(42) Le Mercure Universel, vol 1. Mardi 1er mars 1791. p.15. 

(43)  Beaubrun Ardouin. Op. Cit. p.229.

(44) J.Ph. Garran-Coulon. Rapport sur les troubles de Saint-Domingue, fait au nom de la Commission des colonies, des Comités de salut public, de législation et de marine, réunis. Tome 2. Paris, 1797. pp.211-212. 

(45) France, Convention nationale. Op. Cit.

(46) Hérard-Dumesle. Voyage dans le Nord d'Hayti ou révélations des lieux et des monumens historiques. Cayes, 1824. p.300.

(47) Yves Benot. "The insurgents of 1791..." Op. Cit.
(48) Assemblée nationale législative. Séance merc 30 novembre 1791. In : Les Archives parlementaires. Tome 35 : Du 11 novembre au 10 décembre 1791 "Séance du mercredi 30 novembre 1791". p.460.

(49) François-Alexandre Beau. Op. Cit.

(50) Jean Philippe Garran de Coulon. Op. Cit. pp.211-212. 

(51) Hérard-Dumesle. Op. Cit. p.85.

(52) Our Voices. « Haiti: Bois Chez L'Imam = "Bwa Kay Imam" En Créole »: Posté le 9 juin 2009. URL :  ; Consulté le 6 avril 2015. 

(53) Nicole Grandin, « Note sur le sacrifice chez les Arabes musulmans », Systèmes de pensée en Afrique noire [online], 3 | 1978. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/span. 371. p. 99.
(54) Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid. "How do the first ten days of the Month of Dhul Hijjah differ from other days of the year?" March 29, 1998. [online] URL : ; retrieved on August 31, 2017.
"The days of Tashreeq" October 15, 2013. [online] URL :  ; retrieved on August 31, 2017.
(56) David  Patrick Geggus. Op. Cit. p.87.

(57) Kate Ramsey. The Spirits and the Law : Vodou and Power in Haiti. Chicago, 2011. p.43.

(58) M. H. Castonnet Des Fosses. L'Ile de Saint-Domingue au XVIIIe siècle, conférence faite le 28 janvier 1884. Nantes, 1884. p.21. 

(59) David  Patrick Geggus. Op. Cit. p.85. 

(60) Hérard-Dumesle. Op. Cit. pp.87-89. 

Victor Schoelcher. Colonies étrangères et Haïti. Tome 2. Paris, 1843. p.99.
(62) M. E. Descourtilz. Op. Cit. Tome 3. pp.195-196.
(63) Hérard-Dumesle. Op. Cit. p.88.

(64) Barrière de Vaublanc. Mémoires de M. le comte de Vaublanc. Paris, 1857. p.110.

(65) Saint-Rémy. "Mémoires du général Toussaint-Louverture." Paris, 1853. p.101.

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