Nanny of the Maroons: Difference between revisions

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(Nanny's death and the downfall of Nanny Town)
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Nanny was very adept at organizing plans to free slaves. Over the span of 50 years, Nanny has been credited with freeing over 800 slaves <ref name="youth-culture"/>. Nanny also helped these slaves remain free and healthy due to her vast knowledge of herbs and her role as a spiritual leader.
 
Nanny was very adept at organizing plans to free slaves. Over the span of 50 years, Nanny has been credited with freeing over 800 slaves <ref name="youth-culture"/>. Nanny also helped these slaves remain free and healthy due to her vast knowledge of herbs and her role as a spiritual leader.
   
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==Nanny's death and the downfall of Nanny Town==
 
 
In the ''Journal of the Assembly of Jamaica'', 29–30 March 1733, we find a citation for "resolution, bravery and fidelity" awarded to "loyal slaves . . . under the command of Captain Sambo," namely William Cuffee, who was rewarded for having fought the Maroons in the First Maroon War and who is called "a very good party Negro, having killed Nanny, the rebels (sic) old obeah woman" (quoted in Campbell 177). These hired soldiers were known as "Black Shots" (Campbell 37). Some scholars raise the possibility that more than one leader named Nanny existed, along with the possibility that Cuffee was lying to get a reward, this gives us an approximate death date for Nanny of the Maroons. Considering the use of the word "old," we can only assume that Nanny was born in the seventeenth century.
 
 
Between 1728 and 1734, [[Nanny Town]] was attacked by the British time and time again. After Nanny's death (circa 1733), the remaining Maroons of Nanny Town travelled across the island to unite with the Leeward Maroons. In 1734, a Captain Stoddart attacked the remnants of Nanny Town, “situated on one of the highest mountains in the island,” via “the only path” available: “He found it steep, rocky, and difficult, and not wide enough to admit the passage of two persons abreast” (Edwards vol. 1, page 525).
 
 
In addition to the use of the ravine, resembling what Jamaicans call a "cockpit," Maroons were skilled at 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-disguised Maroons run out into view of the British and then run in the direction of the fellow Maroons who were disguised. After falling into these ambushes several times, the British had to resort to their own trickery: Captain Stoddart "found the huts in which the negroes were asleep," and "fired upon them so briskly, that many were slain in their habitations" (Edwards vol. 1, page 525).
 
 
   
 
==Nanny today==
 
==Nanny today==

Revision as of 16:31, 27 April 2009

Nanny of the Maroons, also known as Queen Nanny and Granny Nanny, a National Hero of Jamaica[1], was a well-known leader of the Jamaican Maroons in the eighteenth century. Contemporary documents refer to her as the "rebels (sic) old obeah woman," and they legally grant "Nanny and the people now residing with her and their heirs . . . a certain parcel of Land containing five hundred acres in the parish of Portland . . ." (quoted in Campbell 177, 175). Nanny Town was founded on this land. Most of what we know about Nanny comes from the oral tradition, and many claims about her cannot be verified with traditional historical evidence of the textual or empirical sort.

Maroons

Jamaican Maroons originally included former slaves who ran away from the Spanish and intermarried with the native islanders in the rugged, mountainous region of the Jamaican interior. Under British rule, some more slaves were able to escape from plantations to join the two main bands of Maroons in Jamaica: Leeward and Windward Maroons, headed respectively by Nanny of the Maroons and Captain Cudjoe.

Family

Due to the cruel treatment of female slaves by plantation owners, Nanny made her decision to escape along with her five brothers. The most famous of her brothers, Cudjoe, went on to lead many more slave rebellions in Jamaica with the aid of her other brothers Accompong, Johnny, Cudjoe, and Quao.[2]

The family then made the decision to split up in order to be able to organize more Maroons than was possible if they stuck together. Therefore, Cudjoe went to St. James and organized a village, which was later named Cudjoe Town. Accompong went to St. Elizabeth, while Nanny and Quao made their way to Portland.

Nanny Town

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 settle, where they could domesticate 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. There is no record that Nanny ever returned runaway slaves to the plantations, though some Maroons did so as a condition of their treaty with the British colonists.

Nanny Town was an excellent location for a stronghold, because it overlooked Stony River via a 900 foot (270 m) ridge making a surprise attack by the British virtually impossible[2]. The Maroons at Nanny town also 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.

Nanny was very adept at organizing plans to free slaves. Over the span of 50 years, Nanny has been credited with freeing over 800 slaves [2]. Nanny also helped these slaves remain free and healthy due to her vast knowledge of herbs and her role as a spiritual leader.

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Nanny today

The government of Jamaica declared Queen Nanny a National Heroine in 1975. Her portrait is on the $500 Jamaican dollar bill, which is colloquially referred to as a "Nanny".

References

Bibliography

Among the early historians to mention the Jamaican Maroons 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.

External links