Photo from Jamaica Tourits Board “Seville Heritage Park

The Maroons are a key part of the history of Jamaica and our connections, and the Tainos. African Enslavement was introduced by the Spaniards to Jamaica and indeed throughout the entire Americas by European settlers in the early 16th century. To the European chagrin – and indeed to the Spaniards who had set up plantations in Jamaica to feed the motherland, Spain – little did they know that some of the enslaved had resolved that they had not signed up to be subhuman to anyone. These fierce and proud West Africans rebelled. These West Africans retreated to the hilly interiors of Jamaica where they intermarried the Tainos. Thus the Maroons are West African and Tainos. The Maroons were exceedingly skilled at guerrilla war tactics and soon won their freedom from their Spanish enslavers.

“The Tainos are the indigenous Indians who had inhabited Jamaica prior to the landing of Christopher Columbus. There are some debates about whether or not the Europeans introduced Africans to the Americas or Africans who already co-existing with the American Indians hundreds – if not thousands of years prior. These debates stem from artefacts which have been uncovered and the similarities of the pyramids to those of Africa which are found throughout the Americas”.

Freedom for the Maroons meant prosperity for the Spaniards. The Spaniards knew they were not equipped tactically, strategically or administratively to match the wit of the Maroons. Life was relatively harmonious on the island of Jamaica until the British in their quest to expand the king’s empire set about overthrowing the Spaniards. This led to a bloody confrontation starting in 1655. The Spaniards themselves proved to be no match to the British invaders. They needed help. They called on the intelligent Maroons who had established settlements in the hilly hinterlands for help. They also promised to make the enslaved who stood in battle with them freed people.

They war waged on for over five (5) years. The brutal British force eventually defeated the Spaniards. Just before their final defeat, the Spaniards held true to their promise and set the enslaved who had stood in battle with them free. These newly freed people joined their other comrades in battle in their hinterland enclaves. The idea was that they would stay away from the British and the British would keep away from them.

The British however, could not accept this as the new normal as so set about sending their troops to pillage the Maroons’ villages and try to re-enslave them. Needless to say, the Maroons, many of whom were of noble blood lineage, would not capitulate. Thus began the first Maroon War. The Maroons, though exceedingly few in numbers, proved to be formidable opponents to the well trained British soldiers and militias. The British suffered considerable losses. They paid an extremely high toll in blood and to property. Their plantations were raided repeatedly. Their fields and warehouses were set ablaze constantly. All the while they could not see the Maroons. They only knew the Maroons were there after the attacks and the Maroons had long returned to their safe retreats.

Begrudgingly, the first Maroon treaty was signed between the British and Captain Cudjoe, the leader of the feared Leeward (Western Jamaica) Maroons on March 1, 1739, granted Cudjoe’s people 1,500 acres of land named Trelawny Town. Fighting waged on for another 9 months In eastern Jamaica, culminating in the British surrendering to the Windward (Eastern Jamaica – home to the world’s best Blue Mountain Coffee). In a similar manner, the British signed a peace treaty with Captain Quao the leader of the Windward Maroons, December 23, 1739.

A year later, peace reigned after signing a treaty with arguably the most fearsome and strategic of all the Maroon leaders, Nanny the leader of the Moore Town (formerly Nanny Town) Maroons with the British. The key elements of all these treaties were the granting of a vast piece of land which formed each of the Maroon Village dotting the undulating topography of the hinterlands of Jamaica, and that these Maroons were freed and autonomous. Nanny is the only female among Jamaica’s seven national heroes. Her image is pictured on the $500.00 Jamaican bank note. Interestingly, the five key historical figures Accompong, Quao, Cuffy, Cudjoe, and Nanny who fearlessly took the war to the British were all siblings.

The 1,000 acres Accompong Maroon Village nestled in the Cockpit Country of St. Elizabeth Jamaica just south south east of the 1,500 acres Trelawny Town, which derived its name from its leader Accompong is almost 300 years old. Other notable Maroon settlements that have survived are Moore and Charles Town in Portland, and Scotts Hall in St. Mary. To date, Maroons are exempt from paying taxes in Jamaica and many of their traditions have carried forward to present day Jamaica. They have left an indelible mark on the culture and heritage of Jamaica – most notable are Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Pork and Sausage, Bammy and Cornmeal Porridge, the leading Jamaican breakfast staple.

In 2005, UNESCO declared the music of the Moore Town Maroons a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”






 渋々ながらも、1739年3月1日、イギリス人から恐れられていたマルーンのリーダーであるキャプテン・クジョー(Captain Cudjoe)との間でリーワード(ジャマイカ西部)において最初のマルーン条約が調印され、クジョーの人々に1,500エーカーの土地をトレラーニー・タウン(Trelawny Town)という名前で与えられました。ジャマイカ東部での戦闘はさらに9ヶ月間続き、イギリスはウィンドワード(ジャマイカ東部-世界最高のブルーマウンテンコーヒーの故郷)に降伏することになりました。同様の方法で、イギリスは1739年12月23日、風上マルーンのリーダーであるキャプテン・クアオと平和条約に署名しました。


 ジャマイカのセント・エリザベスのコックピット・カントリー(Cockpit Country of St. Elizabeth Jamaica)にある1,500エーカーのトレラーニー・タウン(Trelawny Town)のすぐ南東に位置する1,000エーカーのアコンポン・マルーン・ビレッジ(Accompong Maroon Village)は、マルーンリーダーであったアコンポン(Accompong)に由来する名前で、約300年の歴史を持っています。生き残っている他の注目すべきマルーンの入植地は、ポートランドのムーアとチャールズ・タウン、セント・メアリーのスコッツ・ホールです。今日まで、マルーン人はジャマイカでの納税を免除されており、彼らの伝統の多くは現在のジャマイカにまで受け継がれています。彼らはジャマイカの文化と遺産に忘れがたい足跡を残してきました-最も注目すべきはジャマイカのジャークチキン、ポークとソーセージ、バミー、そしてジャマイカの朝食の主食であるコーンミール・ポリッジです。

 2005年、ユネスコはムーア・タウンのマルーンの音楽を “人類の口承と無形遺産の傑作 “と宣言しました。 

Insutitute of Jamaica の所長Mr. Vivian Crawfordは2019年10月に来日し、Marroon文化についてご講話を頂きました。