THE KINGDOM OF THIS WORLD
Macandal (page 7 and thereafter)
Francois Mackandal was born around 1728 in the Lorango Kingdom of West Africa. Mackandal was an African who is sometimes described as Haitian vodou priest or hougan. Mackandal was brought to St Domingue as a slave at the age of 12 and was sold to Lenormand de Mezy to work on a sugar plantation. Mackandal lost his left arm from a sugar plant accident, possibly through punishment for disobedience.
Mackandal escaped the sugar plantation in 1751 and went to the mountains of St. Domingue where other renegade Maroon (runaway slave) societies had been established. Makandal appears to have been the first to unite the various Maroon communities and organize raids into plantations to free other captive slaves.
Mackandal used voodoo practices to encourage and strengthen his brothers to fight against the whites. Mackandal is most famous for leading the first of the Haitian insurrections against slavery that ultimately led to the establishment of the first Republic led by Africans and their descendants. Also, by selecting poisonous plants, herbs and fungi and distributing them to slaves across the colony, who then added them to the meals and refreshments they served their French plantation owners, he became known as the 'Lord of Poison'.
Mackandal died on January 20th 1758, sentenced to be burnt at the stake, a common punishment for slaves, following his poisoning campaign. He was betrayed by a female slave who was tortured after her capture.
Macandal was well known throughout the colony and attacked French troops recklessly and fearlessly with little regard for personal safety. He believed he was sent by God to free blacks from white rule and called himself "The Black Messiah." He prophecied that St. Domingue would soon be ruled by blacks themselves without the French. This was an outlandish claim that brought him much hatred and ridicule, but it separates Macandal from every other known slave during the entire 400-year history of the mid-Atlantic slave trade, as no other known slave ever thought a colonial power could be defeated and none was ever known to have made such a declaration.
The Haitian Revolution of 1791 remains the only successful revolt by black slaves in history. However, Macandal’s poisoning campaign was and is unique in all of history. By virtue of his pronouncements and dedication to the abolition of slavery, he became the chief architect and progenitor of that final revolution.
For a full and detailed account of Macandal's significance, by anthropologist Mark Davis, go to:
For additional information, go to: