Bois Caïman,
Metal sculpture of a slave holding a broken chain at Bois Caïman. Photo by Oldjy Francois for The Haitian Times

As part of The Haitian Times’ special coverage of Haitian Heritage Month, Haitians Across Borders, here are some of Haiti’s historical monuments located in the Northern Department.

Bois Caïman 

Bois Caïman is a site located near where Lenormand de Mézy’s house was, a former French settler in nothern Saint Domingue, Haiti today. 

On the night of August 14, 1791, slave and Vodou priest Dutty Boukman,  organized a Vodou ceremony there for a great number of slaves to command the  general uprising of the slaves.  A pig was sacrificed and Cecile Fatima, a Vodou priestess, distributed the blood to the assembly. They believed that the blood made them invincible. 

La Revolte des Esclaves Aout 14 1791, or The Revolt of the Slaves August 14, 1791, an artwork of slaves during the Vodou ceremony on that day. Photo by Oldjy Francois for The Haitian Times

A week later on Aug. 22, many houses were burned down, and several settlers were killed with their wives and kids. For more than a week the northern plain was ravaged. They counted about 1000 settlers killed, 161 sugar and 1200 burnt coffee plantations.  

Boukman was killed by authorities while moving with his troops to Cap-Français.  Bois Caïman ceremony is considered the  gathering of slaves where they made the pact to live free or to die. It also led to the first revolution of slaves. 

Metal sculpture of a slave holding a broken chain at Bois Caïman. Photo by Oldjy Francois for The Haitian Times

Fort du Picolet

Fort du Picolet, a fortress built in 1739 in Cap-Francais, which is now known as Cap-Haitien. Photo by Oldjy Francois for The Haitian Times

Citadelle La Ferriere

Citadelle La Ferrière, a fortress built in Milot in the 19th century by then-King Henri Christophe. It was selected as a UNESCO national heritage in 1982. Photo by Oldjy Francois for The Haitian Times

Breda

A public park in Breda, a locality in Cap-Haitien, where there is a statute of Toussaint Louverture and slave Normil. Photo by Oldjy Francois for The Haitian Times

Palais Sans-Souci

Sans-Souci Palace, home of King Henry Christophe during the 1900s. Photo by Oldjy Francois for The Haitian Times

Sans-Souci Palace is a castle, located in Milot, northern side of Haiti. The castle alongside its outbuilding was built in 1810 by Henry Christophe.  

Henry Christophe is one of the father figures of Haiti’s independence. He proclaimed himself king in 1811 and was referred to as Henry I. Cap-Haitien was called Cap-Francais during colonial times, then became Cap-Henry and was the capital of Haiti under Henry’s reign.

The work was completed in 1813.  Aside from the castle there was a chapel with a large dome and numerous annexes including barracks, hospital, ministries, printing press, banks, schools, art academy, farm, and more. It can be favorably compared to any English or French royal courts of the 14th and 15th century.  The king and his wife Marie Louise and their kids resided there with their councils and personnel.  At the start of the northerner revolution, Christophe became sick and unpopular and he killed  himself on October 8, 1820. He was 53.  

Fort Saint-Joseph

High shot of Fort Saint-Joseph in Cap-Haitien. Photo by Oldjy Francois for The Haitian Times

The Heroes of Vertieres

The Heroes of Vertieres, located in Cap-Haitien, is the metal sculpture of six heroes of The Battle of Vertieres — the last major battle of the Haitian Revolution on Nov. 18, 1803. Photo by Oldjy Francois for The Haitian Times

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1 Comment

  1. Beautiful article and photos 😊. I learned that Henri Christophe committed suicide at 53 years old, never knew that. Thanks for sharing

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