The story of the Jamaican Maroons, Africans who refused to live in slavery, is little known outside that Caribbean country. Their unwillingness to accept the yoke of the colonial slave masters made them unique among the Africans brought in bondage to the Americas. In the mountains and jungles of Jamaica, they earned for themselves an autonomy never before seen by Africans in the New World. It is night in the Blue Mountains. The year is 1734. There is no noise save the occasional hoot of an owl or the shriek of a bat enjoying its evening feast. A visitor might think the place uninhabited, but this is a warrior’s camp – Maroon soldiers and look outs are posted along every ridge, high up in the trees, behind every shadow. They are cloaked in darkness and covered in branches, hiding among the lush foliage. A few hours before morning approaches, we hear the tramp-tramp-tramp of black British boots on Maroon soil – the British soldiers, in their bright red uniforms and big black boots, with their loud laughter and disregard for their environment, are a stark contrast to the Maroon soldiers.

Queen Nanny or Nanny, a Jamaica National Hero, was an 18th-century leader of the Jamaican Maroons. Much of what is known about her comes from oral history, as little textual evidence exists. She was born into the Asante people in what is today Ghana, and escaped from slavery after being transported to Jamaica.

In 1739–40, the British government in Jamaica recognized that it could not defeat the Maroons, so they came to an agreement with them instead. At first, the treaties only recognised Cudjoe’s Town (Trelawny Town) and Crawford’s Town. But after the destruction of Crawford’s Town in the 1750s, the Maroons were located in five main towns: Accompong, Trelawny Town, Moore Town (formerly known as New Nanny Town), Scott’s Hall and Charles Town, living under their own rulers and a British supervisor known as a superintendent.

In exchange, they were asked to agree not to harbour new runaway slaves, but rather to help catch them. This last clause in the treaty caused a split between the Maroons and the rest of the black population. Another provision of the agreement was that the Maroons would serve to protect the island from invaders.

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Comment (24)

  1. I dont usually comment, I've been watching your videos, you do very good works, and you truly are one of us as an Israelite, HOWEVER, a study into the maroons – hmm, you should look up the treaty between the british and the maroons, one of the laws in that treaty was to capture run away slaves and return them to the british, effectively acting as a 'police on the behalf of the british', correct me if I am wrong, but we as Israelites have it written in our law in the bible, that If a slave should escape cature, that slave should be defended and treated well, the maroons did not follow this law and it is not known to them, and history would show that the Ashanti were partners to the british in africa acting as procurers for the british, even unto this day, the Ghanains and us are a very different ppl, we are not one and the same, and as our father YAH tells us, beware of the strangers within our ppl, blessed brother and shallom

  2. We should never let them tell our story they get it wrong every time. There were hundreds and thousands of more room women courageous and brave fighting for the freedom of their people. alongside our men.

  3. Provoking thoughts- today's Jamaican population will spend money and say "give me a Nanny $500.ja dollars- Historical significance of Nanny is valuable- sharing this video is a must for me- thank you!!!!

  4. Dictionary
    of a brownish-red colour.

    late 17th century (in the sense ‘chestnut’): from French marron ‘chestnut’, via Italian from medieval Greek maraon . The sense relating to colour dates from the late 18th century.

    She said runaway farm animal, cattle. KMT. Sorry TCA she's off-key

  5. I hear that her real name is Nanya, not Nanny. She is from the Hebrew tribe of Judah.

    Why isn’t her story being narrated by someone of her own nationality???

  6. Back in the days we were taught in school that he Maroons were the runaway slaves . These people were tough, fierce and stood up for their rights . They were determined not to be no slave for their masters so since they used to the rough terrains in Africa ,those hills in Jamaica wouldn't be a problem to them .There are some towns that were named after some of these heroic warriors like Nanny Town , Accompong Town , and Cudjoe Town . These people self governed themselves , the women didn't mate with their slave owners , they were the original blacks with nice black hair strong white teeth and strong will power.

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