Drum from Haiti
In the French and Spanish islands of the Caribbean, including Haiti (or St Domingue as it was previously known) the religious beliefs of enslaved Africans were adapted to the orthodoxies of the Catholic Church. Drums like this were used in voodoo ceremonies. In some islands, such as St Kitts, the beating of drums was forbidden by law except at Christmas. There was a fear that drum beats could be used to signal the start of a rebellion (as indeed they were in St Domingue, which led to the successful revolution and independent Haiti).
Until recently, many commentators on Africa claimed that African societies had no tradition of writing. Read more...