When a singular group of brave, pioneering Haitian men and women took part in a fight for their freedom in Haiti August 14 and 15 of 1791, they sparked a movement that would ignite in other Caribbean countries a fervor to do what they did, liberate their people from the shackles of bondage and slavery.
At that time in history, the enslaved African, kidnapped and deposited on foreign land, set to work in tobacco, cotton and sugar plantations, was an accepted staple of life. Since the original reaping initiated by the Portuguese in the 1400's, monarchs, the aristocracy and plantation owners dealt in the business of owning, trading and bequeathing slaves. The practice was so ingrained, and apparently sanctioned by The Bible, in Leviticus 25, that the flagrant kidnapping, disenfranchisement and genocide was allowed by states and backed by state finances, and also written and talked about in well-regarded literary tomes and in religious forums heard by millions around the world.
Tire Machèt is a Créole martial arts hybrid. It synthesizes elements of fencing, stick, and machèt art forms. Its genesis occurred prior to the Haitian Slave Revolt, as a solution to rebels not having standard weapons to fight the enemy. Machèt fighting then became a valued skill, and part of the Haitian Army's basic training. Down through the history of military training, Tire Machèt has acquired a sacred symbolism owing to the Haitian Slave Revolt.
Haitian Machete Fighting ~ January 2012
Stick fighting, as well as Tire Machèt, is grounded in African practices that were imported along with Congolese slaves to Haiti in colonial times. Stick fighting and Tire Machèt have gained strength as martial arts disciplines, due to Haiti's isolation from the world. Although Haiti endured unimaginable poverty by being cut off from the rest of the world, it enabled important primitive traditions to flourish, among them Tire Machèt.
In 1750s, free mulattoes and blacks starts to amass power and wealth. Many secure plantations, particularly coffee plantations in the South and the West. In 1759, there is Makandal Conspiracy. Francois Macandal, a maroon leader, conspires a plot that is to spread to all corners of the colony of poisoning the whites in the North. It all begins in the North, with the vast network of Makandal collaborators, particularly trusted domestic workers, starting to poison the households of their masters, including those slaves who cannot be trusted. There is a frantic search by the whites on the nature and cause of the illnesses and death. A female slave is interrogated, and she betrays the rebel leader. A massive manhunt is launched by the planters.
The French Revolution begins in June 1788 with the Third Estate assembling in the tennis court at Versailles to draft a new constitution and declare itself as "the nation, the true representative of the people," being sworn as "a body, never to disperse." In fall 1788, Saint Domingue's Provincial Assembly receives a petition requesting "political rights for free persons of color." a similar petition is submitted in November by a white colonist.
In 1789, Martinique slaves revolt partly because of the influence of the French Revolution. The instability of Saint Domingue also increases. On 17th June 1789, the Third Estate declares itself the National Assembly in France. On 14th July 1789, the fall of the Bastille triggers commencement of the French Revolution. The social and political structures of France descent into chaos as violence break out. On 26th August 1789, the National Assembly adopts the declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens.
In 1770, Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince was struck by an earthquake. The political and social institutions of those times were completely shocked and blundered by the earthquake. Taking advantage of the destruction, majority of the slaves managed to escape, leading to further chaos. The stability of the country was lost and it went on to prove that Haiti then depended on its slaves for its stability. Even more disturbing was the fact that immediately after the earthquake, a mysterious plague claimed the lives of 15,000 people in Haiti.
The escaped slaves were responsible for harvesting and cooking and in their absence, the country was starving. Hiding in the countryside, the slaves even managed to cut off the supply of wild food, worsening the situation even more for the city-dwellers. As a result people purchased meat from Spanish merchants. These merchants failed to sell these meat in Spain. Soon there was an outbreak and people started falling sick with blackened lesions that were painful and eventually led to death. Back then, people could not figure out what caused this. Some thought it to be smallpox while epidemiologist Noah Webster called it Black Death.
Great news for stage film buffs! Danny Glover is all set to play the character of the revolutionary Toussaint L'ouverture. For those who do not know about Toussaint L'ouverture, he was a shrewd and a military genius and was the mastermind behind the Haitian Revolution. His act of bravery and intelligence during the revolution is what is believed to have established the independent black state of Haiti and completely abolished slavery.
Danny Glover will star as Toussaint L'ouverture in "Roots of Liberty: The Haitian Revolution and American Civil War". Danny has been working on this film for quite some time and is very excited to have finally nailed down the script and get it off the blocks. This has got a lot of people excited in the stage pageant arena. Director Megan Sandberg-Zakian mentioned that the film would be highly exciting and humbling experience and that it would be great to be in the presence of such a revolutionary figure.
FOR YOUR FREEDOM AND OURS' was the banner under which the Polish fought for the independence of their country and others used to the rule of oppressive empires. The shared story of Poland and Haiti began even before the poles set sail for the country to fight against the rebels under Napoleon. After aiding the United States in their independence, Poland created Europe's first democratic constitution in 1791. This action led to an attack a year later by Russia, Austria and Prussia, who sought to dismantle Poland's nascent democracy.
Come 1796, Napoleon, seeking men for his army, offered freedom back to Poland. Millions joined with him and became the Polish Legions. But it was not a promise Napoleon kept as, upon attaining victory, he set up Grand Dutch of Warsaw, a mere fifth of the true Polish Republic.
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