Second Maroon War
|The Second Maroon War|
| British Military
|Commanders and leaders|
|Major General George Walpole|
The Second Maroon War of 1795-1796 was an eight-month conflict between the Maroons of Trelawny Parish, Jamaica, and the British. The other Jamaican Maroon communities did not take part in this rebellion and their treaty with the British still remains in force. An article in the Independent Newspaper dated 21 November 2012 entitled "Duke Vin the Soundman who brought Sound Systems to Britain" is indicative of the treaty remaining in force. It stated that in the late sixties Duke Vin was sent to prison and on his release launched a successful legal process against the Inland Revenue for the return of his taxes as under the terms of the treaty he was tax exempt. Jamaica gained its independence in the early 1960s, therefore the Order in Council (Jamaica Constitution) 1962 did not annul the treaty; moreover, the Maroons of today will tell you that the treaty was a "blood oath" and therefore cannot be annulled.
The Outbreak of the War
Maroons felt that they were being mistreated under the terms of Cudjoe's Treaty of 1739, which ended the First Maroon War. The spark of the war was when two Maroons were flogged by a black slave for stealing two pigs. When six Maroon leaders came to the British to present their grievances, the British took them as prisoners. Fighting began in mid-August.
The war lasted for five months as a bloody stalemate. The British 5,000 troops and militia outnumbered the Maroons ten to one, but the mountainous and forested topography of Jamaica proved ideal for guerrilla warfare. The Maroons surrendered the war in December 1795. The British also had some one hundred bloodhounds and their handlers imported from Cuba.
The treaty signed in December between Major General George Walpole and the Maroon leaders established that the Maroons would beg on their knees for the King's forgiveness, return all runaway slaves, and be relocated elsewhere in Jamaica. The governor of Jamaica ratified the treaty, but gave the Maroons only three days to present themselves to beg forgiveness on 1 January 1796. Suspicious of British intentions, most of the Maroons did not surrender until mid-March. The British used the contrived breach of treaty as a pretext to deport the entire Trelawny town Maroons to Nova Scotia. After a few years the Maroons were again deported to the new British settlement of Sierra Leone in West Africa.
- Campbell, Mavis C. The Maroons of Jamaica, 1655-1796. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press. 1990.
- Craton, Michael. Testing the Chains: Resistance to Slavery in the British West Indies. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1982.
- Winks, Robin. The Blacks in Canada. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press: 1971.
Among the early historians to mention the Jamaican Maroons and the Second Maroon War were the following:
- R. C. Dallas, The History of the Maroons, From Their Origin to the Establishment of their Chief Tribe at Sierra Leone. 1803
- Bryan Edwards, History, Civil and Commercial, of the British Colonies in the West Indies. 1793. (Later editions of Edwards' History, which eventually ran to several volumes, included information about the Second Maroon War.)