During the Year of Our Lord 1791, things were not copacetic on the Caribbean island paradise of Hispanola, particularly in the extremely profitable French colony of Saint-Domingue.
Gentleman by the name of Dutty Boukman had hisself a nasty case of the red-arse over some of the local facts of life -- not the least of which was that Dutty Boukman and upwards of half-a-million of his friends and neighbors were the private property of about 40,000 French colonials.
While this would tend to irritate anybody, Mr. Boukman had an ace in the hole: he was the local houngan, or priest in the Carribean religion of Vodou.
And I'm here to tell you, whatever you do, don't piss off the priests.
On the evening of August 14th of that year, Dutty Boukman conducted a religious ceremony in the north of Hispanola, at Bois Caiman -- Bwa Kayiman in the Creole tongue -- which seems to have gotten a wee bit exuberant.
At least one pig got himself sacrificed, blood-oaths were sworn, blood -- some of which may have been human -- was imbibed to seal those oaths, people were getting possessed left, right and centre, speaking in tongues and dancing themselves into a frenzy.
During the height of the festivities, Dutty Boukman allegedly exhorted his followers to extract vengeance from the white slave-holders, and he may have followed up by calling for the image of the "God of the whites" to be "cast aside", before turning his congregation loose.
And voila! The Haitian Revolution.
Now, Caribbean Vodou in general -- and Haitian Vodou in particular -- is an interesting amalgamation of West African animistic traditions with Roman Catholic Christianity.
The Haitians believed -- and still do believe -- that there is one Supreme God, named Bondye (a Creole adaptation of "Bon Dieu", French for "Good God") who is the Creator of All.
How-some-ever, the Haitians figure that Bondye is busy -- having a universe to run and all -- and doesn't really have time for people. Not wanting to leave His people hanging in the breeze, Bondye relies on a series of lesser types called lwas (or loas) roughly analogous to Catholic saints and angels to run interference on His behalf with the human race.
One of the lwa is Ezili Dantor -- the lwa concerned with motherhood, children, and the protection of same -- and it was she to whom the black pig was sacrificed, and she whom was said to have possessed several of those at Bois Caiman on that August night in 1791.
The Haitians are proud of Dutty Boukman and the revolution he kicked off which led to the first Republic run by people of African descent in the New World.
Pat Robertson could have looked in any book on Haitian history or Haitian mythology and gotten his facts straight, but -- as we like to say here at The LawDog Files:
You're supposed to read books, not eat them ...
and Master Patty doesn't seem to have gotten the memo.