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A turning point in the Haitian saga of resistance to both physical enslavement and cultural oppression was the 1791 Bwa Kayiman Vodou ritual and political congress held near Cap Français by runaway slaves (maroons). The gathering led to a general slave uprising, which became a war of national liberation that culminated in the proclamation of Haiti's independence on January 1, 1804. For the African captives who revolted, success was due in large measure to the cohesive force of Vodou.

Popular labeling of Vodou as "witchcraft" and "magic" has been a historical tradition among European colonialists, and Hollywood films and supermarket tabloids ...

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