Jamaican Maroons

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Jamaican Maroons are a people who lived in Jamaica were the descendants of slaves brought to Jamaica during Spanish and British rule the 1500s to the 1800s, when slavery was abolished with the passage of the Slavery Abolition Act 1833. Often times Maroon communities were established in the interior of Jamaica up in the mountains where they were harder to capture. There were two major wars with the Maroons: The first Maroon war was between 1728 and 1739. The second Maroon war lasted for less than a year in 1795–1796.


In the late 1600s, there were several slave uprisings, many of which were led by a leader known as Cudjoe. Cudjoe was himself a former escaped slave.[1]

After several years of battling against the British, who then controlled the island, both the Maroon and British sides grew war-weary of the seeming stalemate of the situation.[2] After Cudjoe successfully ambushed British Soldiers at Peace Cave in 1738,[3] the British sought an end to hostilities. Under the leadership of British governor Edward Trelawny, a treaty was signed in 1739 which granted land to the Maroons in exchange for military support should an invasion take place. Additionally, the treaty contained a clause requiring then Maroon citizens to return escaped slaves for an agreed-upon bounty.[4]

After the treaty was signed, Cudjoe held up his end of the treaty as expected, and he was known for pursuing and capturing, and in some instances even killing slaves attempting to leave the slave plantations of the coasts for the inland communities up in the mountains where the Maroons lived.[5]

Another clause of the treaty left two white superintendents to keep an eye on what the Maroons were up to.[6] As historian Michael Craton noted: "Not only were the established maroons concerned lest new groups challenge their hard-won lands and privileges, but they were never more secure or well rewarded than when there was conflict between the planters and their slaves."[7]


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