Cap-Haitian Cathedral Symbol Of Catholicism In Haiti
Visitors to Cap-Haitian Cathedral in the town of the same name will discover the history of Haiti, before it became the first black-led republic in the world. Located on the main plaza, the church, now known as the Cathedral of Our Lady, is a well-maintained edifice that seems displaced in the garbage-strewn and dirty rest of town.
A piece of Haiti's slave history is remembered with the statue of revolutionary slave leader, Mackandal, situated on the cathedral site. He led a contingent of black slaves that had fled plantations, where they had labored cutting down sugar cane. The slaves fighting under Mackandal were called Maroons, a reference to the blood they shed while hewing sugar cane. Mackandal was killed on the plaza in 1758, 46 years before Haiti won its freedom from the French.
Many decades passed after 1804's victory, before Haiti was able to re-constitute the Catholic Church. Between 1850-1900 church officials planned to erect a modern cathedral, and completion of the structure occurred at the turn of the 20th century. It was re-named the Cathedral of Notre Dame.
Viewed as the most attractive cathedral on the island, it offers perhaps the one beautiful area in Cap-Haitian. The Catholic faith predominates on the island, in contrast to a smattering of Voodoo believers. Haiti's tourism industry capitalizes on Voodoo to entice tourists with its exotic allure, but Catholicism remains the major religion. The Cathedral of Our Lady is a testament to that.
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