The story of the Haitian Slave Makandal also known as the Black Messiah is an intriguing one with some suggesting that the Haitian Revolution was made possible by the inspirational story of the rebellious Slave Makandal.
Makandal’s Origins & Arrival On Haiti
Makandal reportedly arrived aged 12 as a Slave on the Island of St-Domingue in the middle of the 18th Century from the Ancient Congolese Village of Makanda which was part of the Ancient Loango Kingdom.
According to reports, Makandal’s Father was Chief of the Makanda Tribe.
Makandal was Artistically talented and he could speak, read and write in Arabic while his Artistic talents lay in painting, music and sculpture.
Makandal also possessed the gift of healing which he used to treat both Slaves and Plantation Masters using his extensive knowledge of plants and herbs.
On arrival, Makandal worked on one of the Island’s largest Sugar Plantations but after 12 years he escaped as he received 50 lashes for falling in love with a house Slave whom his Plantation Master had taken in as a Mistress.
During his time on the Plantation Makandal had also learnt to speak French, and on fleeing he took refuge amongst the Secret Maroon Societies living in the hills of St. Domigue.
In the period immediately after his own freedom, Makandal who would later come to be known as The Black Messiah dedicated himself to the freeing of Slaves and harassment of Plantations on the Island of St. Domingue.
Makandal The Black Messiah & The Haitian Revolution
Makandal’s reputation as the Black Messiah also comes from the fact that he is credited as being the first Haitian freed Slave to conceive a vision of the Island of St Domingue as a land of freed Black Slaves in which White rule was completely eliminated.
It was this vision that would form the basis for the creation of Haiti as the world’s first Independent Black Republic.
In time, Makandal built a resistance network with a presence on every Plantation on the Island.
By 1751, he had built an Army made up of about 3,000 Maroons living secretly in the hills.
The Black Messiah organised raids and attacks on French troops and plantations, always managing to escape even though he was captured on several occasions by the French.
In 1757 Makandal decided to implement what he called the “death-blow” strategy to rid the island of St. Domingue of the French.
A plan for a massive attack on the French using Plant poisons was initiated by Makandal but before the attack could be launched he was betrayed and captured.
Makandal’s execution by being burnt alive at the stake was then scheduled for January 20, 1758.
On the day of the execution, Makandal broke his bonds once again but collapsed into the flames after breaking free.
In the period following his death, the legend of Makandal The Black Messiah spread throughout the Island of St. Domingue as some Slaves claimed Makandal had escaped the flames at the stake by turning into a mosquito as he had promised he would.
According to the legend, Makandal had told his followers that he was Immortal and would be reincarnated as a deadly mosquito that would return and do more damage to the French than he had done during his lifetime.
This aspect of the legend of Makandal The Black Messiah is intriguing because History has recorded a massive plague caused by swarms of Mosquitos carrying yellow fever that reached the Island of St. Domingue during the Haitian Revolution around 1794 leading to the death of more than 30,000 French and British Troops fighting against the Haitian Revolution.
The Yellow Fever Plague was one of the decisive factors that turned the tide in favour of the revolting Haitian Slaves, leading to the success of the Haitian Revolution and the establishment of Haiti as the world’s first Independent Black Republic.