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by Farida Dawkins, at 11:53 am, June 12, 2018, History

Cudjoe: The celebrated Maroon leader who overcame the British in the 1730s

Artist rendition of Cudjoe left, sketch of Cudjoe on right.

Cudjoe, the descendant of a West African slave transported to Jamaica was known as the greatest Maroon leader after he fought the then Madagascan leader of the Leeward Maroons – and won by killing him. In 1720, Cudjoe was instated as the front-runner of the Leeward Maroons.

Cudjoe, who was named either Kojo or Kwadwo was born in Accompong Town, Jamaica in 1690.  He was described as having a lump of skin on his back that was often covered by a frayed coat. His temperament was labelled as being wild.  He was short and round.

Cudjoe’s father, Naquan was the frontrunner of a group of rebel slaves from Sutton’s Estate. An uprising at Sutton’s Estate led to the formulation of the Leeward Maroons.

Another group of prominence among Jamaican slaves of African Descent was the Windward Maroons.

The battle of the Maroons against British forces in 1730 was a result of the constant defeats faced by the British while attempting to conquer the slaves.

In 1739, Cudjoe was able to secure an agreement that established the Leeward Maroons as an independent state.  They were also given land as part of the deal. Cudjoe was also required to return runaway slaves and discourage future slave uprisings.

Cudjoe died in 1744 at Nanny Town in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica.

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