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by Mildred Europa Taylor, at 05:30 pm, August 07, 2018, History

With a strong desire to make Grenada a republic, this black warrior led a giant revolt against the British in 1795

Julien Fedon

At the latter part of the 18th century, Julien Fedon, a wealthy, free mulatto, had begun expressing his disapproval at the harsh treatment being meted out to black people in Grenada by the British.

With his intention to end British rule in Grenada, Fedon, on the night of March 2, 1795, launched a revolution against the British to also ultimately end slavery and restore French rule.

The uprising continued until June 19, 1796 and became known as the Fedon Rebellion.

Fedon, born on the island of Martinique, was the son of a free African woman and Pierre Fedon, a French jeweler who traveled from Bordeaux, France, in 1749 to the island of Martinique.

Historical accounts state that when the family moved to Grenada in the 1750s, the island was still under French rule.

Fedon would later own a farm in Belvedere Estate, the headquarters for his revolt, as well as, 80 slaves.

He also became a commanding general of the French republican forces in Guadeloupe.

An illustration of a slave revolt — nuorivoima.fi

It is documented that Fedon wanted to make Grenada a “Black Republic just like Haiti”, and drawing inspiration from the French Revolution in France, the French Revolutionary leaders of Guadeloupe, and the Haitian Revolution, he started his year-long uprising.

With the help of several troops formed around 100 freed Blacks, Fedon, on the night of March 2, 1795, began attacks against the cities of Grenville, Gouyave, and St John, looting and burning houses and executing British settlers on the streets.

In the course of time, between 14,000 and 28,000 slaves supported Fedon’s intentions, as he also got support from French people who wanted the British off the island.

The British had a tough time dealing with Fedon and his group and the revolt dragged on for more than a year.

Towards the end of the rebellion, Fedon’s brother was killed by the British and he retaliated by having 48 British hostages executed, including the governor of Grenada, Ninian Home.

By 1796, Fedon and his rebels were controlling the whole island, except the St. George Parish and its surroundings, which the British still had control over.

He and his rebel forces were often based in the mountains of Grenada where Fedon had fortifications established to protect them against British attacks.

Fedon and his group were in the long run defeated in June 1796 but history says tensions remained until slavery was abolished in 1834.

Fedon’s rebellion, which came closest to replicating the successful Haitian revolution, killed around 7,000 slaves by the time it came to an end.

Over 50 captured rebels who faced trial were found guilty of high treason, with more than 30 others being executed.

Fedon was, however, never captured, with the shared belief being that he died at sea on a canoe.

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