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Where is the Iron Pig Statue?

Posted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 11:45 am
by Gelin_
In several articles about Haiti on the web, people keep mentioning an 'Iron Pig Statue" built in P-au-P supposedly in honor of Bookman, or the Bois-Caiman ceremony. A search on the web using these keywords will reveal what I am talking about. Can anybody help me locate that statue...? Has anybody seen it...?


Posted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 11:46 am
by Gelin_
Will anyone help me locate that mysterious iron pig statue?


Posted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 1:47 pm
by admin
Gelin, perhaps the reason you haven't gotten an answer is that the iron pig statue does not really exist. But before I jump to such a conclusion, would you tell us the sources of that information that you have come across?

That could be very useful.


Posted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 3:13 pm
by Gelin_
Just a couple of references:

[quote]...On the night of August 14, 1791, the slaves sealed that unity in a ceremony held in the woods at Bois Caiman, not too far from Cap-Haitien. A pig was slaughtered, and all of those present drank of the blood of that pig and together pledged 200 years of service to the spirits of the island in exchange for victory over the French. An iron statue of a pig sits in Port-au-Prince to commemorate that event...

[quote]...On 14 August 1791, a black slave and witch doctor named Boukman led the slaves in a voodoo ritual. They sacrificed a pig and drank its blood to form a pact with the devil, whereby they agreed to serve the spirits of the island for 200 years in exchange for freedom from the French. The slave rebellion commenced on 22 August 1791, and after 13 years of conflict, the slaves won t
heir independence. On 1 January 1804 they declared Haiti the world's first independent black republic. An iron statue of a pig stands in Port-au-Prince to commemorate the "Boukman Contract"</B>....

Source: Elizabeth Kendal, Conference Moderator <>,


Posted: Sat Dec 18, 2004 1:54 pm
by admin
This note contains a lot of very interesting historical references. Thank you, Michel.

But one thing caught my attention particularly, though it probably is the least significant of all the historical links that you have mentioned. It's about the etymology of the word "zenglendo".

[quote]The statue was not an ordinary pig, but a boar, a sanglier, a cochon marron, a razorback (razor = zinglin, back = dos = zinglindos).[/quote]
Can you confirm to me, Michel, that this is the origin of the term? Could anyone else corroborate the veracity of that information? I have always been fascinated by the etymology of Creole words and this would constitute a prized nugget, if it were true! How did it come about and when?

I can readily see why any number of Haitians would refer to a "zenglendo" as a "kochon mawon" (quite a familiar insult in Haiti..
. and for good reason). But I never thought about a linguistic equivalence between the two terms.

Posted: Sat Dec 18, 2004 2:08 pm
by admin
[quote]Boukman was from one of these British islands. Nobody knew his real name, because he was not from a particular plantation where one could identify himself by his master's name. However, his nickname was “book man” because he was intelligent, and knew how to read and write. He was a seaman, a pirate who escaped from a British ship, and he established himself in the high unreachable mountains of La Selle, and le Cibao. The frontier of St Domingue at that time and still is a no man land; where everything goes.

The Carib Indians specially the women were not completely exterminated by the Spanish. Just like in America, we still have the Apaches, the Cherokees, the Comanches, the Mohicans, the Seminoles. A lot of them survived and lived in the mountains.

There, they united with the “cimarrones” or escaped slaves from the French side of the island. For years, they lived, and had children together. Their
children are called "Black Caribs" and now, ‘Marabous”, beautiful men and women, or mixed black and Carib Indians. Biassou, Boisrond Tonnerre, to name a few were Black Caribs.

They have a lot of Marabous in Dominican Republic, and in Haiti as well. Note that a mixture of black and white is different, it's called “mulatto or grimo”.

One of the ancestors of the Carib Indians and the Marrons was a Marabou called Mackandal who organized the first slave revolt. Unfortunately, the revolt was not well organized, and was crushed almost instantly. Later came Bookman who realized that the marrons were from different tribes and spoke different dialects; and the best way to unify them, was through a common language, Creole, and a common spirit, Voudou.

Finally after years of battles of defeats (La Crete a Pierrot), and victories (Vertieres), around January 1804, the indigenous army declared themselves independent from France, and after more than 300 years, renamed the island its original Indian na
me, Hayiti, in honor and memory of their first true friends from the new world, ancestors and first true owners of this piece of real estate, the Carib Indians.

Finally there wasn't any such thing so-called “Boukman Contract” with the devil...[/quote]
Extremely interesting! Do not hesitate to furnish all the historical references to back up what you say here, except if it's all included in the same (excellent) sources that you recommended, that is:

L'Histoire D'Haiti, by Thomas Madiou.
The Caribbean, a traveler's story, by James Ferguson
The Black Jacobins, by C.L.R. James
From Columbus to Castro, by Sir Eric Williams

In addition, on Boukman, see also this other article that previously appeared on the forum:

Posted: Sat Dec 18, 2004 2:35 pm
by admin
[quote]Nevertheless, during my childhood, I used to see this statue located sur La Place de L'Italie au Bicentenaire, Port-au-Prince, across from the old Legislative palace. [/quote]
Isn't that something??? This statue was not pure fantasy, as I was beginning to believe! (See what happens when Haitians in the "know" chita sou dèryè yo and keep silent. I am glad that Michel did not, because that's one piece of information that I otherwise would not have known, even though I am sure there must be hundreds, thousands, of Haitians who know that kind of information but will not react. Ainsi se perd la mémoire nationale.

[quote]If not there, apparently, the status was stolen during the fall of Baby Doc Duvalier, 18 years ago.[/quote]
Epi ou wè mèt kochon mawon yo pa menm rele anmwe! Yo vole yon gwo kochon mawon,
epi sa pa fè bri.

[quote]And the iron statue of the pig was not to commemorate the ceremony held in the woods at Bois Caiman. The statue was if I am not mistaken, a gift from the Italian Embassy to the Haitian people. [/quote]

Great information, which leads me to wonder about the significance of that gift: when was it given, what did it mean, in which circumstances, etc.

Hopefully, we will get more details on this post.

Fòk nou fouyapòt mezanmi. Se zafè patrimwàn nasyonal nou nap pale. Nan yon ka konsa, se pa estati kochon an ki gen enpòtans non, men gade kouman misyon evanjelik anti-Vodou yo defòme koze a. Si nou pa aprann tout ti detay verite istorik lakay nou, si nou meprize ou neglije "la vérité historique", nou san lè vale glòt-glòt tout kalite manti (vyann poul mouri santi) etranje a vin lage nan gòjèt nou.

Antouka, mèsi Michel pou tout enfòmasyon sa yo. Mèsi tou, Gelin, pou ensistans ou sou koze a.
Plizyè fwa deja, mwen konn mande enfòmasyon sou divès bagay sou fowòm lan, epi apre de ou twa mwa moun pa okipe mwen, yon degoutans pran mwen epi mwen jis retire kesyon an. Degoutans lan, se paske mwen remake ke byen souvan Ayisyen plis enterese nan fè vye enfòmasyon san tèt ni pye mache, pou yo kab domaje yon lòt, olye yo fè laverite mache. Si sa ou mande a pa frape yon lòt moun dirèkteman, yo jis ba ou vag, yo pa okipe ou. Se atitid sa yo mwen twouve ki dekourajan lakay nou. Moun lan ki gen bon enfòmasyon an, li jis kenbe l pou tèt pa l, epi li kite manti ap vale teren.

Posted: Mon Dec 20, 2004 7:17 am
by Jonas

It was estimated that about 20 to 30% of the slaves were muslims.

It couln't be otherwise, most of the regions of the Senegambia, of the Niger Valley of the Kingdom of Ghana, were Islamics, since the 8th or 9th century of our era.

I hope you have heard about the city-states of Timbuktu, Gao, Jenna with their Islamic universities.

When the slave master went to Africa, he kidnapped whomever he could.

There is absolutely no contradiction in the idea that Boukman was born in Africa, was a slave in Jamaica, and escaped to the island of Haiti, and also that he was a well educated man.

Posted: Mon Dec 20, 2004 10:47 am
by Gelin_
Thanks to all of you....

I also used to see that statue looong time ago near the post office building, but I don't recall any "inscription" pointing to Bookman or Bois-Caiman. It would be very good to know if really it was a gift from the Italian Embassy or from any other source. The fact is there is no such thing in the country right now. But that doesn't matter much to some...

Thanks Michel...


Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 5:00 pm
by Gelin_
Tell me what you think: would it be a good idea to contact the people who wrote the articles about the pig statue - given that it's not true at all?


Posted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 12:04 pm
by Gelin_

I would also like to learn more from Michel about the story of that famous iron pig statue. Who really gave it to the haitian people? On what occasion? Now, where is it? I also think I'll have to contact the people who spread (by their articles) that lie about Haiti through the web...


Posted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 5:59 pm
by Jonas

It would help if you read about African history before the European penetration. You don't have to go as far back to the "Egyptian period" either.

Do you know that about half the vocabulary of "Swahili", the main language of East Africa, is Arabic?

And you don't have to consult "black authors" either, to know about the history of the ALMOHAVIDS, the Muslim movement which took birth in the Niger Valley and went to occupy SPAIN and PORTUGAL, for about two centuries.

The Muslims north of the Sahara were called ALMOHADS, and those south of the Sahara were called ALMOHAVIDS.


Posted: Mon Dec 27, 2004 4:48 pm
by Gelin_
Now, back to the pig statue...

I contacted a couple of authors among those who spread that story. The one who would be the original source of this legend told me that his article was in fact outdated - meaning that he left the information there while knowing that there was no such a thing as an "iron pig statue" in Haiti. The guy has since removed his statement, but people continue to quote him without even taking the time to double-check their source....

Nap siiiv....


Thanks to all of you

Posted: Thu Dec 30, 2004 1:49 am
by Pauline Charles
From the iron pig, to Boukman, to Muslims in Portugal and Spain, I have learned a lot from this forum. I laughed at times and got puzzled at other times.

To all of you Michel, Jaf, Jonas, Gelin, I think, your disagreements, clarifications, all added to my enlightenment.

We all learned something at the end.

One thing I noticed, there is no woman at all in this "iron pig statue" discussion.


Posted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 12:13 pm
by Gelin_
M'te kontakte kèk nan moun yo ki te kouri bri zafè estati kochon an. Sanble ke youn nan yo ta retire pawòl sa a nan atik li te ekri a. Nou ka al verifye sa pou kont nou tou nan youn nan referans m'te bay mwa desanm ki sòt pase la a.

sa pa pi mal ke sa...genlè gen espwa