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Word Count: 857
Voodoo has been around for hundreds of years It has captivated the imagination of Hollywood producers and directors who have made countless movies about zombies and the black magic behind the voodoo religion Today voodoo is accepted in Haiti and practiced in the Dominican Republic New York Miami and other haitian communities in exile Although the essential wisdom of voodoo originated in different parts of Africa long before the Europeans started the slave trade the structure of Voodoo as we know it today was born in Haiti during the European colonization of Hispaniola Ironically it was the enforced immigration of African slaves from different tribes that provided the circumstances for the development of Voodoo European colonists thought that by desolating the tribes these could not come together as a community However in the misery of slavery the transplanted Africans found in their faith a common thread They began to invoke not only their own gods but to practice rites other than their own In this process they comingled and modified rituals of various tribes The result of such fusion was that the different religious groups integrated their beliefs thereby creating a new religion Voodoo an Afro-Caribbean religion that mixed practices from the Fon the Nago the Ibos Dahomeans Congos Senegalese Haussars Caplaous Mondungues Mandinge Angolese Libyans Ethiopians and the Malgaches The strength that the Africans in Haiti gained from their religion was so strong and powerful that they were able to survive the cruel persecution of the French rulers against Voodoo When the French realized that the religion of the Africans was a threat to the colonial system they prohibited all African religion practices and severely punished the practitioners of Voodoo with imprisoments lashings and hangings This religious struggle continued for three centuries but none of the punishments could extinguished the faith of the Africans who kept their religion in secret It was in the midst of this struggle that the
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