Nanny Town

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Nanny Town
Abandoned Maroon Village
Nanny Town is located in Jamaica
Nanny Town
Nanny Town
Coordinates: 18°04′06″N 76°31′27″W / 18.0683°N 76.5242°W / 18.0683; -76.5242Coordinates: 18°04′06″N 76°31′27″W / 18.0683°N 76.5242°W / 18.0683; -76.5242[1]
Country Jamaica
Parish Saint Thomas
Founded c1700
Destroyed 1734
Founded by Nanny

Old Nanny Town was a village in the Blue Mountains of Portland Parish, north-eastern Jamaica, used as a stronghold for Maroons (escaped slaves) led by Granny Nanny; the town held out against repeated British attacks before being destroyed in 1734.[2]

Nanny was born in what is now Ghana, West Africa, as a member of the Ashanti nation, part of the Akan people. She was enslaved and brought to Jamaica. Experiencing the cruel treatment of slaves on the Jamaican plantations, she and her five brothers, Cudjoe, Accompong, Johnny, Cuffy and Quao decided to join the autonomous African community of Maroons. This community originated from people formerly enslaved by the Spanish, who had refused to submit to British control. This community developed as many more slaves escaped the plantations and joined the Maroons. By the time of the First Maroon War, the newly runaway slaves were also known as Maroons.

Nanny's family then made the decision to split up in order to be able to organize better resistance to the plantation economy across Jamaica than was possible if they stuck together.citation needed Cudjoe went to Clarendon where he was soon joined by about a hundred Maroons from Cottawood, while Accompong went to St. Elizabeth, while Nanny and Quao made their way to Portland.

By 1720, Nanny and Quao had organized and gained control of this town of Maroons located in the Blue Mountains. It was around this time that the town was given the title of Nanny Town. Nanny Town encompassed more than 600 acres (2.4 km²) of land for the runaway slaves to live as well as raise animals and grow crops. Due to the town being led by Nanny and Quao, it was organized very similar to a typical Ashanti tribe in Africa.

The Maroons were able to survive on the mountains by sending traders to the cities to exchange food for weapons and cloth. The Maroons were also known for raiding plantations for weapons and food, burning the plantation, and leading the slaves back to Nanny Town.

Nanny Town was an excellent location for a stronghold due to it overlooking Stony River via a 900-foot ridge, making a surprise attack by the British virtually impossible. The Maroons organized look-outs for such an attack as well as designated warriors who could be summoned by the sound of a horn called an abeng.

Granny Nanny was very adept at organizing plans to free slaves. She has been credited with freeing more than 800 slaves over the span of 50 years. She also helped these slaves remain free and healthy due to her vast knowledge of herbs and her role as a spiritual leader. However, freeing slaves upset the British. Between 1728 and 1734, they attacked Nanny Town time and time again, but not once was it harmed. This was accomplished due to the Maroons being much more skilled in fighting in an area of high rainfall as well as disguising themselves as bushes and trees. The Maroons also utilized decoys to trick the British into a surprise attack. This was done by having non-camouflaged Maroons run out into view of the British and then run in the direction of the fellow Maroons who were disguised, thus crushing the British time and time again.


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  2. ^ Pariser, Harry S. Jamaica: A Visitor's Guide, 1995, pp. 235-36.