Profile: Dutty Boukman

Dutty Boukman (Also known as “Boukman Dutty“)  was an early leader of the Haitian Revolution. Born in Senegambia (present-day Senegal and Gambia), he was captured, enslaved, and transported to Jamaica. He eventually ended up in Haiti, where he became a leader of the Maroons and a Vodou hougan (priest).

According to some contemporary accounts, Boukman, alongside Cécile Fatiman, a Vodou mambo, presided over the religious ceremony at Bois Caïman, in August 1791, which served as the catalyst to the 1791 slave revolt which is usually considered the beginning of the Haitian Revolution.

Boukman was a key leader of the slave revolt in the Le Cap‑Français region in the north of the colony. He was killed by the French planters and colonial troops on 7 November 1791, just a few months after the beginning of the uprising. The French then publicly displayed Boukman’s head in an attempt to dispel the aura of invincibility that Boukman had cultivated. The fact that French authorities had to do this illustrates the impact Boukman made on the views of Haitian people during this time.

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