How the Maroons of Jamaica Defeated British Forces with Horns

Stephen Nartey September 21, 2022
Maroons of Jamaica

They derived their name from the Spanish word Cimarron which is literally translated to mean runaway cattle. The Maroons of Jamaican have lived in the Moore region of the Caribbean throughout the history of the Americans.

They are believed to have captured from the Akan tribe of the West African nation of Ghana and brought to Jamaican to work the sugarcane plantations by the British. The British during the period transported over 700,000 Africans between 1655 and 1807.

The sugarcane plantations were characterized by riots and agitations from the enslaved who escaped the harsh conditions on the fields to remote mountains and forests in the Caribbean.

Two prominent Jamaican groups that fled the inhumane treatment on the sugarcane fields were the Leeward Maroons in the west, and the Windward Maroons in the east.

They fought the British forces with guerilla tactics they mastered like camouflaging themselves in trees, and using animal horns, called abeng, to blow coded messages, instead of engaging in direct combat, according to the national geographic.

When the British forces came to the realization that they could not conquer the Maroons after bloody wars between 1720 and 1796, they signed peace agreements with them to allow them to remain free men and govern themselves until slavery was outlawed in the British Commonwealth in 1834.

The Moore Town is considered the ancestral home of the Jamaica’s legendary Maroons. Oral tradition celebrates them as freed slaves who fought against being recaptured by British forces until they became permanently free.

A Georgia State University associate professor of history, Harcourt Fuller, said the Maroons led the fight for Jamaican independence with their unrelenting spirit for freedom.

He said the Maroons would rather die than live in bondage and many inhabitants are passionate about this proud history.

He explained that for the Maroons, they were not born to be bound, subdued and have a fighting spirit that seeks justice and improvement in their welfare.

Professor Harcourt said it is this history which has informed the Jamaican adage “we likkle, but we tallawah” which literally means they are small, but, a mighty people.

He said despite being a community with a population of three million, they have been known to go beyond how they have been perceived by many people and cultures.

According to him, the Maroons have shattered the ceiling in areas of music, language, athleticism, cuisine and intellectualism.

When the British drew the curtains on its rule in 1962, the government of Jamaican had honoured the century old treaties signed by the Maroons.

The Moore communities do not pay tax and their land cannot be sold or used as a collateral at the bank. The government has however honoured it social obligation to them by constructing roads, bridges, schools and clinics.

Maroon communities Charles Town, Moore Town, Accompong Town and Scotts hall are governed by a colonel chief despite the presence of judicial system in Jamaica.

The Maroons’ history has been cemented in the minds of generations as a day has been set aside to celebrate and commemorate their heroes by the government.

Last Edited by:Sedem Ofori Updated: September 21, 2022


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