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Francois Mackandal (Macandal/Makandal) (?-1758)

Francois Mackandal (Macandal/Makandal) (?-1758)

Francois Mackandal (Macandal/Makandal) (?-1758)

Francois Mackandal was a charismatic and skilled leader of a slave revolt in Haiti in the 18th century. Mackandal was probably of West African or Congolese origin brought to St Domingue as a slave at the age of 12, it is believed he was sold to Lenormand plantation.

As an adult he escaped the plantation and leader a revolt against French slaver owners and plantations. He was supposed to have a lost his left hand and part of his left arm while a slave. How this happened is often disputed, some sources claim his arm was crushed in an accident with a Sugar press and then was cast out from the plantation, other historians he fled the plantation after being sentenced to 50 lashes (which would kill most people) but the plantation owners where loath to admit a slave had the skill and brains to escape his white captors. The anthropologist Mark Davis puts forward the theory based on carefully filtered oral history that Mackandal had been well educated before he was a slave and could both read and write Arabic Fluently, a possibility due to the contact of Arab slavers and traders in the Congo and West Africa, that Mackandal was intelligent and well versed in herbalism is without doubt.

Whatever his origin 12 years after fleeing the plantation Mackandal united a group of ‘Marows or Maroons in the remote mountain areas of Haiti to fight the French. The Maroons where a mixture of the surviving American Indians and escaped black slaves. The native population the Tainos had been nearly exterminated by first Spanish and then French colonization, introduced diseases and slavery. The Maroons combined both Native American wilderness skills with Africa agriculture and skills brought by the escaped slaves of many nations. Mackandal became a guerrilla leader uniting various isolated communities in the mountains to strike back against the colonists. He used slaves still working on the plantations as intelligence network while his Maroon forces would raid and burn plantations. Mackandal and his guerrillas used local plants to produce poison which was then given to slaves to poison their masters. This was an excellent terror weapon and the French authorities feared that many Land owners would leave Haiti because of the risk of poisoning, it is estimated that Mackandal’s forces killed over 6,000 during the 6 years of insurrection.

On 20th January 1758 Mackandal was sentenced to be burnt at the stake, a common punishment for slaves, following his betrayal by a female slave who was tortured after capture. Mackandal was renown for escaping capture and many stories surround his death, some say that he escaped as the robs binding him to the stake were loose due to the stump of his left hand, other stories are of a mythical nature claiming that his soul escaped the flames and his spirit still wanders Haiti. Many of these had root in the fact that Francois was a Voodo Houngan or priest and often prophesied that one day the slaves would win their freedom, he also claimed that his was immortal. Mackandal in many ways sowed the seeds for the later success of Toussaint Louverture who was to lead the first successful revolt of against European Colonialist powers.


ExecutedToday.com

January 20th, 2009 Headsman

(Thanks to Mark Davis of macandal.org for the guest post on a remarkable historical parallel to today’s inauguration of Barack Obama. -ed.)

The world was astounded when Barack Obama was elected to the Presidency in 2008 knowing the cultural barriers minorities have faced for hundreds of years. The date of inauguration, January 20, also happens to be the anniversary of the burning at the stake of a virtually unknown man, Francois Macandal,* whose epic war against cultural barriers has been buried for centuries.

Read some of his story and judge if the historic election of Barack Obama could have occurred without the man they called “Macandal.”

The parallels with Barack Obama’s journey are numerous, but the life of Macandal was perhaps even more remarkable, reaching great heights and falling into the darkest chasms of despair, yet succeeding in spite of staggering odds. Macandal’s travails may be about finding one’s purpose and dreaming of victory even when condemned by a majority, as he was relentlessly pursued by soldiers and hounded by countless naysayers.

251 years ago on January 20, 1758, Macandal was chained to a post on a platform before thousands of slaves brought together to witness his brutal torture and execution. Because of his importance, the French gathered slaves from hundreds of plantations throughout the colony of St. Domingue (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic). They believed such a horrific spectacle would quash Macandal’s Revolution, which he began to end French rule and abolish slavery, 12 years before.

Around 1746 Macandal escaped his plantation, united thousands of escaped slaves along with many still enslaved, and proclaimed that he would lead them all to independence and freedom. This declaration, from someone who had only six years before been taken from his home in the Congo, was unprecedented, since no slave colony had ever defeated a European nation. Then Macandal mobilized tens of thousands and may have inspired millions to end slavery and defeat colonial hegemony in the Haitian Revolution consummated decades after his death.

But ironically even the famous, black Marxist writer C.L.R. James, attributed one of the greatest revolutions in history to something akin to ‘spontaneous rioting’ by 500,000 black slaves in 1791. Since 1791 almost every historian has reduced the “Haitian Revolution,” the only successful overthrow of a colonial power by black slaves, to a ‘collective rage,’ inspired by the whites of the “French Revolution.” Yet it may have been Macandal’s Revolution, not the starving peasants of France, that inspired their uprising in 1789.

The true story of Macandal represents obscure but recorded testimonies about his life and explains why the slave revolt of 1791 was in fact, “Macandal’s Revolution,” almost 50 years in the making. Macandal foretold the end of slavery, then planned it, plotted it and began it. His story shatters a myth that has gone unchallenged for over 200 years: that the Haitian Revolution of 1791 was a spontaneous slave uprising inspired by the French peasants who had charged the Bastille Prison in Paris two years earlier.

The Haitian Revolution ultimately ousted the French, defeating Napoleon and numerous French generals. It also succeeded against the vaunted British army and established a new government run by former slaves. It was the first domino in a series of colonial defeats and changes in law that led to the end of institutional slavery and Macandal started it all.


Macandal: The Educated Revolutionary Who Brought Unity


On January 20, 1758, he either burned to death at the stake or made an amazing escape. Macandal was one of the greatest revolutionaries in history yet his story was hidden. He is the first known black to proclaim he would end slavery . Taken from the Congo region at the age of 12 to the Caribbean, he was fluent in Arabic and was sought far and wide by slaves and aristocrats for his use of plants in the treatment of disease . He was a gifted musician, painter and sculptor. Education was forbidden for slaves but he learned to speak fluent French. After escaping his plantation he began the overthrow of the French and the defeat of slavery.
Macandal ultimately united thousands to revolution and may be more responsible for ending slavery than any other.
Even the black Marxist writer C.L.R. James attributed the “Haitian Revolution” to spontaneous rioting by 500,000 black slaves. Historians have reduced the Haitian Revolution, the only successful overthrow of a colonial power by black slaves, to a ‘collective rage,’ inspired by the “French Revolution.” Macandal’s story shatters this myth. The Haitian Revolution was the result of the “Macandal Revolution” which started over 40 years before 1791.
Many have used Macandal’s Muslim roots to advance Islamic ideology. However there is no evidence that as an adult, Macandal was either Christian or Muslim. Mysteriously, he came from the Christianized Congo but had Muslim roots. There is also no evidence Macandal was a Voodoo Priest, as some Haitians claim. To the contrary, Macandal seemed to view religion as an impediment.
His sole aim was to unite all people regardless of religion, tribe or race and join them together for one great cause ending slavery. His oratory exposed an erudite grasp of religious rhetoric. Religion had elevated racists, who used its power to rationalize division and atrocity. Boukman Dutty, a Voodoo Priest and harsh slave overseer during Macandal’s time, was no doubt a mortal enemy of Macandal, though later he became an ardent follower and a revolutionary himself.
He claimed that he was a prophet that was sent by God to free black from slavery. His prophecy before his death was that he was gonna come back in a form of mosquitos. During the last revolution a lot of french died from yellow fever which was caused by mosquito bite.

For more reading about Macandal also check these links:

Image from Haitian 20 Gourdes coin, honoring François Mackandal. (1968)


Talk:François Mackandal

I propose that the article distinguish between Makandal's powerful reputation in Haitian national history and the far more limited knowledge historians have of the man and the movement associated with him. --Altaar (talk) 16:54, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

This article was automatically assessed because at least one article was rated and this bot brought all the other ratings up to at least that level. BetacommandBot 11:37, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

There are a lot of myths about Mackandal, and in the past few years there have been more and more English-language websites with a sincere interest in the history.

However, I believe that the story of Mackandal having only one arm falls into the class of folktakes or fables about the man.

While the man's story has tremendous historical importance, it is also peppered with myths and elements of the supernatural.

Those are worth including mention of in an Encyclopedia article, but they should be marked as folklore.

I honestly cannot recall reading any historical claim that Mackandal had only one arm, and I've seen many portraits (viz., semi-historical depictions) of the man, as both revolutionary and martyr, and I can't recall any of them showing him with one arm.

Of course, there's the possibility that I'm wrong, and this is either an historical fact or a very well-known fable (that none of the authors I read dealt with. ) --but this is why citations are needed.

Hey, guess what: the portrait of him on that coin, shows his left arm (viz., the one the text of the article now suggests had been cut off). —Preceding unsigned comment added by 89.243.38.46 (talk) 09:20, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Echoing some of the previous concerns about separating fact from legend, the only evidence that exists to suggest that Macandal ever poisoned anyone is that white slave owners killed him because they believed he did. He never confessed to poisoning, even under torture, although he did confess to other crimes. If he did distribute poisons, there is a good chance that they were meant to be protective or curative charms, not meant to kill. And there are alternatives to explaining most poisoning deaths (even those alleged today). For instance: E. Coli was not discovered until 1885. Or: manioc leaf contains cyanide which can poison a person if not cooked correctly. Etc, etc. Accusations of poisoning come up in many slave societies, almost always slave owners accusing slaves. Almost always there is no more evidence than the accusation. In this case of white planters accusing an African maroon, there is no real evidence that poisoning ever happened. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 128.220.159.20 (talk) 15:12, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

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Related stories

The enslaved people would, however, soon start rising against their French enslavers and this would begin the biggest and bloodiest slave revolt in history, otherwise known as the Haitian Revolution.

Most accounts state that Haiti’s fight towards independence was largely made possible by the role of Maroons fugitive slaves who often fled into the mountains and lived in small bands or independent settlements.

One of these powerful maroon leaders was François Mackandal who became a pain in the butt of the French during the early– to mid-eighteenth century.

“Actually, Mackandal was the first to declare slaves would overthrow the French and end slavery,” writes The Louverture Project.

Mackandal, also Makandal or Macandal, conspired to poison all the white plantation owners in the North of Saint Domingue and to later spread this to all corners of the colony.

Some slaves even began poisoning their masters’ households across the North, including other slaves who couldn’t be trusted. But a female slave would later be Mackandal’s downfall, leading to his execution.

Believed to have been born in West Africa, Mackandal was brought to the North of Saint-Domingue to work on a sugar plantation at the age of twelve. He was sold to Lenormand plantation near Cap Français.

According to anthropologist Mark Davis, Mackandal had been educated by an ‘important’ family in the Congo as he was very clever and could speak, read and write Arabic fluently.

He also knew sculpture, painting, and music, and had in-depth knowledge of herbs and medicinal plants. These attributes would become useful in his later fight against the French.

While working on the plantation, Mackandal lost his arm in a sugar mill and was, therefore, made to care for livestock. He later fled the plantation and joined a maroon community where he became a leader.

Claiming to have supernatural abilities and having prophesied that slaves ultimately would have their freedom and independence, Mackandal was able to successfully organise the different maroon groups in Saint Domingue’s wild hills into a strong fighting force.

Having knowledge of herbs and plants, he was able to make powerful poisons as well.

“Using the network of maroons and sympathetic plantation slaves, Mackandal and his followers successfully poisoned plantation owners, animals, and even other enslaved people,” an account by Slavery and Remembrance said.

For years, the whites searched for the cause of the illnesses and deaths without any result. Meanwhile, Mackandal had also begun planning for a rebellion.

After 12 years, towards the end of 1757, the natural and charismatic leader was ready to carry out a mass poisoning of whites that would have heralded the revolt. However, he was betrayed by the female slave and was captured and sentenced to death at Cap-Français in January 1758.

Sources say he was to be burned at the stake, but he broke free at the first flames.

“The most common written accounts (most of which are re-tellings based on the same sources) state that Mackandal escaped his first burning by wriggling free from bonds that had been inadequately secured over the stump of his arm. Most of those go on to say that he was re-captured, retied and consumed in a second burning,” according to The Louverture Project.

Essentially, Mackandal was burned at the stake in the middle of the square in Le Cap. Plantation owners brought their slaves and forced them to watch.

It is documented that even after his death, many slaves insisted in his immortality and he, thus, became a major inspirational figure for the slaves during the Haitian revolution.

At the moment, many believe that his soul escaped the flames in which he was burned at the stake and that it still roams through Haiti.


1750-1784

1750s Free blacks and mulattoes begin to amass wealth and power. Many acquire plantations, especially coffee plantations in the West and the South.

“These men are beginning to fill the colony and it is of the greatest perversion to see them, their numbers continually increasing amongst the whites, with fortunes often greater than those of the whites . . . Their strict frugality prompting them to place their profits in the bank every year, they accumulate huge capital sums and become arrogant because they are rich, and their arrogance increases in proportion to their wealth. They bid on properties that are for sale in every district and cause their prices to reach such astronomical heights that the whites who have not so much wealth are unable to buy, or else ruin themselves if they do persist. In this manner, in many districts the best land is owned by the half-castes. . . These coloreds imitate the style of the whites and try to wipe out all memory of their original state”
&mdash Colonial administrators writing to the Ministry of the Marine 1757 The Makandal Conspiracy. François Makandal (alternately spelled "Mackandal" or "Macandal"), a maroon leader, conspires to poison all the whites in the North in a plot intended to spread to “all corners of the colony.” Across the North, Makandal’s vast network of collaborators – mostly trusted domestics – begin poisoning their masters' households, including other slaves who can’t be trusted.The whites search frantically for the cause of the illnesses and deaths. After an interrogated female slave betrays the rebel leader, the planters launch a massive manhunt.
A Note on Maroons Maroons were fugitive slaves who often fled into the mountains and lived in small bands while eluding capture. This phenomenon, called “marronage,” was crucial to the fight for Haiti’s independence. Maroons were some of the revolution’s most powerful figures, responsible for organizing attacks and uniting disparate groups even when their leaders deserted their cause and joined the colonists.

“Marronage, or the desertion of the black slaves in our colonies since they were founded, has always been regarded as one of the possible causes of [the colonies’] destruction . . . The minister should be informed that there are inaccessible or reputedly inaccessible areas in different sections of our colony which serve as retreat and shelter for maroons it is in the mountains and in the forests that these tribes of slaves establish themselves and multiply, invading the plains from time to time, spreading alarm and always causing great damage to the inhabitants.”
&mdash From a 1775 memoir, on the state of maroons in Saint Domingue

“The slave . . . inconstant by nature and capable of comparing his present state with that to which he aspires, is incessantly inclined toward marronage. It is his ability to think, and not the instinct of domestic animals who flee a cruel master in hope of bettering their condition, that compels him to flee. That which appears to offer him a happier state, that which facilitates his inconstance, is the path which he will embrace.”
&mdash From the register of the Upper Council of Le cap, 1767 March 1758 Makandal is executed. Colonists burn Makandal at the stake in the middle of the square in Le Cap. Owners bring their slaves and force them to watch. Despite witnessing his death, many slaves insist in Makandal’s immortality and he becomes a major inspirational figure for the slaves during the revolution. 1763&ndash1768 Whites seek to control the affranchis as their population grows along with their wealth and power. Affranchis, primarily composed of free mulattoes, threaten the colony's power structure as they become influential landowners in the colony.

Legislation designed to frustrate their ambitions and prevent assimilation with whites forbids the affranchis to hold public office, practice privileged trades (such as law or medicine), assemble in public after 9pm, sit with or dress like whites, gamble, travel, or enter France. These offenses are ruled punishable with fines, imprisonment, chain gang duty, loss of freedom, and amputation.

Despite these restrictions, affranchis are still obliged to compulsory military duty between the ages of 15 and 45. Furthermore, they are still allowed to lend money, a service which the colonists are becoming increasingly reliant on. During the 18th century the credit provided by the affranchis is critical to Saint Domingue’s growing size and wealth. 1763 The Seven Year War in Europe ends, and the Treaty of Paris is signed by Britain, France, Spain and Native Americans in Europe and the North American colony.

The colonists increasingly resent France’s hold on their production, which prevents them from profitable trading with other countries. Colonists begin seeking greater administrative control of local affairs and the planters’ autonomy movement begin to gain momentum. May 1771 Louis XV issues Instructions to Administrators, which outlines new restrictions against blacks and mulattoes. The Instructions elaborate on the Code Noir of 1685 and mulattoes find that they are stripped of many of their freedoms and privileges in the colony. 1773 Over 800,000 African slaves are brought to Saint-Domingue from 1680 to 1776. Over a third of them die within their first few years in the colony. Slaves imported during this time are primarily from the kingdoms of the Congo and Angola. However, by this point the scope of the Atlantic slave trade has expanded so considerably that some slaves are brought from as far away as Mozambique, on the southeastern coast of Africa. 1776 The United States declares its independence from England. Many of the values espoused in the new republic’s Declaration of Independence influence the thinking of slaves in Saint-Domingue, including the Declaration’s famous preamble,which reads:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That same year Adam Smith writes that Saint-Domingue is “the most important of the sugar colonies of the West Indies." 1777 France and Spain sign the Treaty of Aranjuez which officially recognizes French Saint-Domingue on the western third of Hispaniola.


1784 France re-imposes the Code Noir from 1685 due to planter abuses, this time issuing reforms that address slaves’ work hours, food rations, and quality of life. The Code restricts punishments and establishes minimal controls over the whites. The Code also legally obliges owners to provide slaves with small plots of land to grow food exclusively for their personal use. This issue of land rights is to become a central focus of the slaves’ demands during the revolutions

From 1784 to 1785, new royal ordinances from France make it possible for slaves to legally denounce abuses of a master, overseer, or plantation manager. Few slaves take advantage of these new rules, however, and the ones who do find that in reality the same system is still in place. 1788 The Monsieur Le Jeune Case
The 1788 Le Jeune case clearly demonstrated that the colony’s legal system clearly still favored whites over blacks regardless of evidence. Le Jeune, a planter in the North, killed a number of his slaves after suspecting a poison conspiracy and tortured two other women with fire while interrogating them. Though Le Jeune threatened to kill his slaves if they tried to denounce him in court, fourteen of them registered an official complaint in Le Cap. Their allegations were confirmed by two magistrates of state, who went to the plantation to investigate. The two men found the interrogated women still in chains, their legs so badly burned they were already decomposing. One died soon after. Despite this, white planters lined up to support Le Jeune. The governor and intendent wrote at the time that “It seems, in a word, that the security of the colony depends on the acquittal of Le Jeune.” The court was clearly complicit when it subsequently delivered a negative verdict, rendering the case null and void.

This timeline is the result of a final project by Kona Shen at Brown University. The site is sponsored by Brown's Department of Africana Studies. Feedback is welcome please send any corrections, comments, or questions to Kona Shen. Last updated October 27, 2015


Sommaire

Afrique Modifier

François Mackandal était originaire de l'Empire kongo selon les anthropologues américains Mark Davis [ 2 ] et Wyatt Mac Gaffey [ 3 ] . D'autres historiens soutiennent la même thèse selon laquelle Mackandal était kongo, tels que les professeurs spécialistes en études afro-américaines de l'université de Boston, Linda Heywood et John Thornton et David Patrick Geggus de l'université de Floride. [réf. nécessaire] Si l'on en croit certaines sources, il était musulman [ 4 ] , ce qui a conduit certains historiens à émettre l'hypothèse qu'il pouvait être né au Sénégal, au Mali ou en Guinée [ 5 ] , bien que le manque d'informations biographiques dont on dispose pour cette période ne puisse permettre de rien affirmer de façon certaine à ce sujet. Il est probablement capturé lors d'une razzia et, embarqué vers les Amériques, il arrive dans la colonie française de Saint-Domingue.Le chercheur Congolais Arsène Francoeur Nganga, à partir de la linguistique a démontrer que Macandal vient de "makandala".Il y a eu francisation du phonème /K/ en /C/ et la perte du segment final /A/, dans son ouvrage sur les origines Kôngo d'Haïti, préfacez par le professeur Pierre Buteau le président de la société d'histoire d'Haïti.Arsène Francoeur Nganga soutient que Macandal était d'origine Kongo sur la base de l'ethnographie et la linguistique.Macandal ne pouvait pas être musulman car l'ethnographie de ses pratiques renvoi au rite petro-lemba du vodou haïtien qui est d'origine kongo, de plus son acolyte se nommait Mayombe(la forêt du mayombe de la région du congo).Pierre Pluchon qui a décrit les pratiques de Macandal, fait observer l'utilisation de l'eau bénite et des ingrédients digne des pratiques kongo.Macandal a vécu dans le nord d’Haïti a majorité kongo.Dans les archives d’Haïti il est écrit que Macandal est née en guinée.hors la guinée dans les archives d’Haïti c'est l'Afrique.

Saint-Domingue Modifier

Selon Moreau de Saint-Méry, qui écrit trente ans après les faits, Mackandal devient esclave sur une propriété de Le Normant de Mézy [ 6 ] au Limbé. Après avoir perdu l'une de ses mains, prise dans un moulin à cannes, Mackandal aurait été chargé de garder les animaux [ 7 ] . Selon un récit de la même époque, mais un peu trop lyrique et dont l'authenticité de ce qu'il relate est, du fait, sujette à caution, Mackandal se serait ensuite enfui après avoir suscité la jalousie de son maître en séduisant une jeune esclave noire dont le Blanc était également épris son rival aurait alors trouvé un prétexte pour le maltraiter. Face à cette injustice, il s'offre la liberté et commence à marronner [ 8 ] . Il serait alors resté insaisissable dix-huit ans durant [ 9 ] .

Durant cette période, Mackandal organise la révolte de ses semblables contre les maîtres blancs français. Si, selon certaines sources, Mackandal était à l'origine musulman, il est probable qu'il fut plutôt en relation avec le vaudou, étant donné la prédominance de cette religion sur l'île. Considéré comme un houngan, il se dit immortel et impressionne ses semblables haïtiens. Il prépare du poison à partir de plantes et le distribue aux esclaves afin que ces derniers le mélangent aux boissons ou aux aliments des Français. Il devient un chef charismatique et unit les bandes d'esclaves marrons. Il crée un réseau d'organisations secrètes dans les plantations. Contre celles-ci, il dirige plusieurs actions nocturnes d'esclaves, à la lueur des flambeaux, et ils tuent leurs propriétaires.

Condamnation et mort Modifier

Trahi par l'un des siens, il est capturé. Jugé par le Conseil supérieur du Cap-Français – aujourd'hui Cap-Haïtien –, il est déclaré, le 20 janvier 1758 , « düement atteint & convaincu de s'être rendu redoutable parmi les nègres et les avoir corrompus et séduits par des prestiges et fait se livrer à des impiétés et des prophanations auxquelles il se serait luy même livré en mélant des choses saintes dans la composition à l'usage de paquets prétendus magiques, et tendant à maléfices, qu'il faisait et vendait aux nègres, d'avoir en outre composé, vendu et distribué de ce poison de toutes espèces » [ 1 ] . Il est condamné à faire amende honorable [ 10 ] , [ 1 ] , [ 11 ] et, après avoir été soumis à la question ordinaire et extraordinaire (la torture) afin qu'il nomme des complices – ce qu'il fera [ 9 ] –, à être brûlé vif sur la place publique du Cap-Français [ 1 ] .

Alors qu'il se démène dans le brasier, le poteau auquel il est attaché cède, et Mackandal saute hors du bûcher et disparait d'un coup . Les esclaves s'écrient : « Macandal sauvé ! ».

Selon Moreau de Méry, Mackandal aurait inspiré chez les esclaves noirs eux-mêmes plus de terreur que d'admiration ainsi écrit-il que les Noirs – les « nègres » dans le texte – se mirent par la suite à appeler « macandals » les poisons et les empoisonneurs, et que ce nom était devenu « l'une des plus cruelles injures qu'ils puissent s'adresser entre eux » [ 12 ] .

L'exécution de Mackandal précède de trente-trois ans la Révolution haïtienne de 1791, première révolte d'esclaves noirs réussie, prélude à l'établissement, en 1804, d'Haïti en tant que première république noire libre du monde.


HAITI 1758: The Tragic Story Of An African Slave Who Was Burnt Alive Yet His Soul Roams The City, Watch Video

In the 18th Century when slavery was rife, France had several colonies in the Caribbean. However, the most important was Saint Domingue (now Haiti) as it was then a sugar island, and the French largely depended on it for economic growth.

Accounts state that around 1789, France had about 500,000 slaves in Saint Domingue who worked as sources of labour for cotton, sugar and coffee plantations.

The enslaved people would, however, soon start rising against their French enslavers and this would begin the biggest and bloodiest slave revolt in history, otherwise known as the Haitian Revolution.

Most accounts state that Haiti’s fight towards independence was largely made possible by the role of Maroons fugitive slaves who often fled into the mountains and lived in small bands or independent settlements.

One of these powerful maroon leaders was François Mackandal who became a pain in the butt of the French during the early– to mid-eighteenth century.

Ugly history: The 1937 Haitian Massacre – Edward Paulino

“Actually, Mackandal was the first to declare slaves would overthrow the French and end slavery,” writes The Louverture Project.

Mackandal, also Makandal or Macandal, conspired to poison all the white plantation owners in the North of Saint Domingue and to later spread this to all corners of the colony.

Some slaves even began poisoning their masters’ households across the North, including other slaves who couldn’t be trusted. But a female slave would later be Mackandal’s downfall, leading to his execution.

Believed to have been born in West Africa, Mackandal was brought to the North of Saint-Domingue to work on a sugar plantation at the age of twelve. He was sold to Lenormand plantation near Cap Français.

According to anthropologist Mark Davis, Mackandal had been educated by an ‘important’ family in the Congo as he was very clever and could speak, read and write Arabic fluently.

He also knew sculpture, painting, and music, and had in-depth knowledge of herbs and medicinal plants. These attributes would become useful in his later fight against the French.

While working on the plantation, Mackandal lost his arm in a sugar mill and was, therefore, made to care for livestock. He later fled the plantation and joined a maroon community where he became a leader.

Claiming to have supernatural abilities and having prophesied that slaves ultimately would have their freedom and independence, Mackandal was able to successfully organise the different maroon groups in Saint Domingue’s wild hills into a strong fighting force.

Having knowledge of herbs and plants, he was able to make powerful poisons as well.

“Using the network of maroons and sympathetic plantation slaves, Mackandal and his followers successfully poisoned plantation owners, animals, and even other enslaved people,” an account by Slavery and Remembrance said.

For years, the whites searched for the cause of the illnesses and deaths without any result. Meanwhile, Mackandal had also begun planning for a rebellion.

After 12 years, towards the end of 1757, the natural and charismatic leader was ready to carry out a mass poisoning of whites that would have heralded the revolt.

However, he was betrayed by the female slave and was captured and sentenced to death at Cap-Français in January 1758.

Sources say he was to be burned at the stake, but he broke free at the first flames.

“The most common written accounts (most of which are re-tellings based on the same sources) state that Mackandal escaped his first burning by wriggling free from bonds that had been inadequately secured over the stump of his arm.

Most of those go on to say that he was re-captured, retied and consumed in a second burning,” according to The Louverture Project.

Essentially, Mackandal was burned at the stake in the middle of the square in Le Cap. Plantation owners brought their slaves and forced them to watch.

It is documented that even after his death, many slaves insisted in his immortality and he, thus, became a major inspirational figure for the slaves during the Haitian revolution.

At the moment, many believe that his soul escaped the flames in which he was burned at the stake and that it still roams through Haiti.

Why Did Europeans Enslave Africans?

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What is a Makandal?

A Makandal [person] is an nganga nkisi or “a creator of objects” for spirits (Mobley 221). A Makanda is a “packet of animal, vegetable, mineral matter wrapped in a leaf,” and the name “refers to the large, flat leaf that is like the palm of a hand (kanda)” (Mobley 218). These are containers recognized in Mayombe and Saint Domingue as macandals. Macandals are associated with Rada rites and lwas (gods) of African Vodun/Vodou/ Vaudou (African/Haitian variations and spellings). David Patrick Geggus’s spelling and explanation for Makandal says it is a derivation of “makunda/makwanda” of Kongo origin meaning amulet or charm. He explains that the “protective paquets in late colonial Saint Domingue and independent Haiti were called macandals not just in the memory of the famous poisoner. More correctly, he himself was named for them” (Geggus 75).

St. Domingue advertisements of the 1760s seem to support this versatile use of the word in general use. They show Makandal listed, unexplained, as a nickname for an escaped slave, as well a general term for poisoner . A recent sociological study of African ritual and resistance confirms that the name could have been given to him as a nickname by two accomplices, Mayombo and Teysello, whose names are also indicative of their African origins and roles in ritual worship (Eddins 2017). Despite its general use, an historical individual of African origin also called François, to whom the name Makandal belongs, persists in literature.

In short, the name brings to mind a host of concepts that are linguistic, practical, spiritual, and botanical. Historically, his writers have associated it with magic, sorcery, poison, medicine, garde-corps, and fetish-making, but the word also literally refers to biotic materials such as leaves and roots, and is related to the fear of poisoning and the possibility of mass disorder in pre-revolutionary slave society. Our exhibit foregrounds the relationship between Makandal and African knowledge about plants, medicine, and religion.


Índice

Origen Editar

Se desconoce su origen. Algunos han dicho que procedía del reino del Congo. [ 2 ] ​ [ 3 ] ​ Otros historiadores proponen que su etnicidad era la de un negro bakongo. Otras fuentes indican procedencia musulmana y que hablaba y escribía árabe, [ 4 ] ​ lo cual permite especular que provenía de Senegal, Mali o Guinea, aunque esta afirmación es tenue y altamente cuestionada, debido a la falta de información biográfica cierta y dado el predominio del vudú entre la población negra de la isla y la asociación de su figura con esta creencia. [ 5 ] ​. Lo único seguro es que llegó a la colonia francesa de Saint-Domingue en calidad de esclavo.

Saint-Domingue Editar

Según Moreau de Saint-Méry, que escribe treinta años después de los hechos, Mackandal era esclavo en una propiedad de Normant de Mézy en Limbé. [ 6 ] ​ Después de haber perdido una de sus manos, en una prensa del molino de caña de azúcar, a Mackandal se le encargó el cuidado de los animales. [ 7 ] ​ Según un relato popular, demasiado lírico y de autenticidad dudosa, Mackandal se fugó luego de haber suscitado los celos de su amo por seducir a una joven esclava negra de la cual su amo se había enamorado. En esto encontró el amo un pretexto para maltratarlo. Frente a esta injusticia, huye y se convierte en un cimarrón. [ 8 ] ​ En ese estado permaneció por 18 años, creando una red de organizaciones secretas conectadas con los esclavos de la plantaciones. Según CLR James, Mackandal tenía la misma elocuencia que un orador europeo. Dirigía a los cimarrones a asaltar plantaciones en la noche, incendiando las propiedades y matando a los propietarios.

A lo largo de seis años de planificación y organización, Mackandal organizó una revuelta contra los amos blancos franceses. Es probable que Mackandal haya tenido una estrecha relación con el vudú. Considerado un houngan, se rumoreaba que era inmortal y era temido por sus congéneres. Preparaba venenos a partir de plantas y los distribuía entre los esclavos con el fin de que estos lo mezclaran en las bebidas o en los alimentos de los amos franceses. Para tal fin, creó una cobertura secreta en las plantaciones.

Condena y muerte Editar

Traicionado por uno de los suyos, que fue atrapado y torturado para que confesara, es capturado. Juzgado por el Consejo superior de Cap-Français,- hoy Cap-Haïtien –, es declarado culpable el 20 de enero de 1758.

« . debidamente nos hemos convencido de que él fue prestigioso entre los negros y que los ha corrompido y seducido por su prestigio y estuvo participando en actos de impiedad y profanación, de los que le sería entregado una mezcla de cosas santas para la composición y para el uso de los llamados paquetes mágicos, usando la adivinación, y que a los negros les era vendido y distribuido veneno de todo tipo ». [ 9 ] ​

Fue condenado a hacer una amende honorable, [ 10 ] ​ y, después de haber sido sujeto a una "cuestión ordinaria y extraordinaria" (tortura) con el fin de que delatara a sus cómplices, cosa que hizo, fue quemado vivo en la plaza pública de Cap-Français. [ 11 ] ​ [ 12 ] ​

Los negros afirmaron que mientras ardía Mackandal logró saltar fuera de la hoguera convertido en una bestia alada y volar a la seguridad, por lo cual los esclavos exclamaban: « Macandal sauvé !» (Mackandal salvado).

Según Moreau de Saint-Méry, Mackandal inspiró en los esclavos negros más terror que admiración, de tal manera que los negros solían llamar « macandals» a los venenos y a los envenenadores, resultando este nombre «en una de las más crueles injurias que puedan dirigirse entre ellos». [ 13 ] ​

La ejecución de Mackandal precede treinta y tres años de la Revolución haitiana de 1791, año en el que se inició la primera revuelta de esclavos negros que culminaría con el establecimiento, en 1804, de Haití como primera república negra libre del mundo. [ 1 ] ​


Watch the video: Misterios de la Historia - Capítulo 34: Makandal (January 2022).