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Bwa Kayiman is the site of the Vodou ceremony during which the slave insurrection that caused the Haitian Revolution was planned. On the night of August 14, 1791/morning of August 15, 1791, representative slaves from nearby plantations gathered to participate in a secret ceremony conducted in the woods near Le Cap in the French colony of Saint-Domingue. Presided over by Dutty Boukman, a prominent slave leader and Vodou priest, the ceremony served as both a religious ritual and strategic meeting as conspirators met and planned a revolt against the ruling white planters of the colony's wealthy Northern Plain.
The following prayer said by Dutty Boukman has been attributed to that night, translated as: "Good Lord who hath made the sun that shines upon us, that riseth from the sea, who maketh the storm to roar; and governeth the thunders, The Lord is hidden in the heavens, and there He watcheth over us. The Lord seeth what the blancs have done. Their god commandeth crimes, ours giveth blessings upon us. The Good Lord hath ordained vengeance. He will give strength to our arms and courage to our hearts. He shall sustain us. Cast down the image of the god of the blancs, because he maketh the tears to flow from our eyes. Hearken unto Liberty that speaketh now in all your hearts. "
In the following days, the whole Northern Plain was in flames, as the revolutionaries conducted acts of violence towards those who had formerly enslaved them. Clouded in mystery, many accounts of the catalytic ceremony and its particular details have varied since it was first written down in Antoine Dalmas's "History of the Saint-Domingue Revolution" in 1814. The ceremony is considered the symbolic beginning of the Haitian Revolution.