The first characters I decided to mention are Nanny and Cudjoe, both former slaves who set up small villages for runaway slaves, after escaping the chains of slavery and plantation work themselves. Below is their remarkable stories, both are still celebrated today in other countries, particularly Jamaica, where they are well recognised.
Nanny: A Great Female Icon
Nanny was born in Ghana (1686), and experienced the slave trade as a captured slave, she was taken to Jamaica where she was enslaved, and sole to a plantation in Saint Thomas Parish. Nanny was not captured alone, it is said that many of her family members and village were captured due to being involved in an intertribal conflict.
She was captured with her brothers: Accompong, Cudjoe (mentioned below), Johnny and Quao, who ran away from the plantation and hid in the clue mountain area. Whilst hiding they split up and organised maroon communities across Jamaica, Nanny later on married a Maroon named Adou.
In Nanny Town
Nanny and Quao had settled and controlled an area in the Blue mountains, which was named Nanny Town and was 500 acres of land for runaway slaves. The town also had look-out as they were of high risk of attack, they also had warriors. Nanny was a very smart woman, with a great skill in organising, she had organised the guerrilla warfare, which was organised by maroons to keep away the British troops who attempted to overpower them, and also create plans to free slaves, and for over 30 years she freed more than 800 slaves.
Nanny was also an elder, is it any surprise that she was visualised as a wise woman, she built strong communities by implementing culture, via customes, music and songs which they carried from Africa, which promoted confidence and pride within her and her ‘people’.
Cudjoe: A Great Fighter
Cudjoe was one of the brothers of Nanny, he also was in charge of a community. Cudjoe was more of a fighter as well as a tactical planner, he always successfully defended he’s communities and defeated the British on every attempt of them trying to recapture runaway slaves. He also, like Nanny, freed many captives by raiding British plantations. Sometimes he’s raid were non-confrontationsla, however sometimes they were vicious and bloody encounters. However, before attacking a plantation he would send spies amongst he’s community to gather information on the plantations, who then send the data to Cudjoe, who would determine a place and time for attacks (pretty strategic).
As said, some of he’s attacks were vicious and bloody, he had burned down mansions, destroyed fields and killed many whites along with slaves who were faithful to their masters and refused to help. He defiantly showed that he was a powerful man, and this led to a feeling of peer-pressure amongst slaves, to abide by Cudjoe’s advances. This tactic made the British troops distrust almost every captive on the island.
Cudjoe’s hard work did pay off, the Governer Sir Edward Trelawney eventually decided to not attack Cudjoe, instead the governor decided to host a meeting with Cudjoe, despite the hesitation, Cudjoe met with the governor and both men worked out a suitable treaty; agreeing that the British must recognise the Maroons as an independent nation. The Maroons received a large sum of untaxed land.
What is a Maroon?
- Maroons where a group of rebellious slaves who fled from their plantations and formed communities in the hilly interior of the island.
- These towns survived by sending traders to nearby markets to exchange food for weapons and cloth. They raised animals, hunted and grew crops, and had very similar references to an Ashanti tribe.
- Maroons carried many African traditions, and possibly recreated new ones.
- Maroons were known for raiding plantations for weapons and food, burning the plantations and leading slaved back to their communities
- Maroons still exist today.