Dutty Boukman (Boukman Dutty) (died ca. 1791) was an Haitian slave who was one of the most visible early leaders of the Haitian Revolution. According to some contemporary accounts, Boukman may have conducted a religious ceremony in which a freedom covenant was affirmed; this ceremony would have been a catalyst to the slave uprising that marked the beginning of the Haïtian Revolution.
Dutty Boukman may have been a self-educated slave born on the island of Jamaica. Some sources indicate that he was later sold by his British master to a French plantation owner after he attempted to teach other Jamaican slaves to read, who put him to work as a commandeur (slave driver) and, later, a coach driver. His French name came from his English nickname, "Book Man," which some scholars, despite accounts suggesting that he was a Vodou houngan, have interpreted as meaning that he may have been Muslim, since in many Muslim regions the term "man of the book" is a synonym for an adherent of the Islamic faith. One scholar suggests that it is likely that Boukman "was a Jamaican Muslim who had a Quran, and that he got his nickname from this." Other scholars suggest that Boukman may have practiced a syncretic blend of traditional African religion and a form of Christianity.
According to some contemporary accounts, in August 1791 Boukman presided over a ceremony at the Bois Caïman in the role of houngan (priest) together with priestess Cécile Fatiman. Boukman prophesied that the slaves Jean François, Biassou, and Jeannot would be leaders of a resistance movement and revolt that would free the slaves of Saint-Domingue. An animal was sacrificed, an oath was taken, and Boukman and the priestess exhorted the listeners to take revenge against their French oppressors and "[c]ast aside the image of the God of the oppressors."  According to the Encyclopedia of African Religion, "Blood from the animal, and some say from humans as well, was given in a drink to the attendees to seal their fates in loyalty to the cause of liberation of Sainte-Domingue." A week later, 1800 plantations had been destroyed and 1000 slaveholders killed. Boukman was not the first to attempt a slave uprising in Saint-Domingue, as he was preceded by others, such as Padrejean in 1676, and François Mackandal in 1757. However, his large size, warrior-like appearance, and fearsome temper made him an effective leader and helped spark the Haitian Revolution.
According to Gothenburg University researcher Markel Thylefors, "The event of the Bwa Kayiman ceremony forms an important part of Haitian national identity as it relates to the very genesis of Haiti." This ceremony came to be characterized by various Christian sources as a "pact with the devil" that began the Haitian revolution.
In the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, veteran Christian radio and television personality Pat Robertson claimed that Haiti had been "cursed by one thing after another" since the late 18th century and, in an apparent reference to the Bois Caïman ceremony, revived the allegation that Haitians had sworn a "pact to the devil." This view was criticized by urban legend expert Rich Buehler, who claimed that Robertson's statement was incorrect on a variety of historical points, and propagated a common claim that vodou is Satanic in nature.
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