Some Brief Notes on Voodoo's Historical Development
In James Leyburn's landmark work THE HAITIAN PEOPLE, he sketches the historical development of Voodoo. I have taken his categories and briefly elaborated them where it seemed helpful.
1730-1790. The emergence of Voodoo. Gradual ascendancy of Dahomean
1790-1800. Revolutionary period. Voodoo, too, experienced growth and
1800-1815. Voodoo was suppressed by three of Haiti's most famous rulers,
Toussaint Louverture, Jean-Jacques Dessalines and Henry Christophe.
1815-1850. Quiet diffusion. Under Emperor Soulouque Voodoo became
acceptable to the regime and emerged publicly.
1860-1945. Various periods of Roman Catholic suppression, culminating in an
all out war against Voodoo in the 1940s. After the failure of this war the Roman Catholics have decreased their overt suppression of Voodoo.
1945 to present. Co-optation of Voodoo by the Duvalier movement and growth
of America Fundamentalist Protestant challenge to Voodoo.
1975 to present. Re-emergence of Voodoo, especially in connection with the
lwa, Ogoun, as a force in the peasant movement toward progressive reform in Haiti.
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