Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) [in Social Science]


Social Science




Maroons, Jamaica -- History



Physical Description

1 online resource (4, 81 leaves, fold. map)


The purpose of this essay is to present a history of the Maroons from their earliest rebellions to their present role in contemporary Jamaican society. Also of importance will be the conditions under which the Maroons received freedom the British and to what extent these conditions continue to persist in an independent Jamaica. A secondary purpose is to provide material and information which may contribute significantly to the dearth of printed expertise in this area. When the British captured Jamaica from the Spaniards in 1655, they failed to subdue numerous Negro slaves who were no longer content to be slaves. These slaves escaped from their plantations to become mountain dwelling fugitives. The name 'Maroon' was given to these fugitives, and for many years they harassed the British Colonial Government of Jamaica. Having tasted of freedom, these Maroons were determined, at any cost, to preserve it. Their major tactic may be described as the forerunner of modern guerrilla warfare. This type of warfare lent itself beautifully to the rugged terrain of Jamaica, much to the irritation of the British. The conflict between the British and the Maroons dragged on for many years. Not only was it becoming very expensive for the British but also their soldiers were growing weary. Finally in 1739 the British Government offered favourable terms of peace to the Maroons. The treaty of 1739 was broken once in 1795 and fighting broke out for approximately one week. Reconciliation was immediate and Maroon offenders of the treaty were exi1ed to Nova Scotia, Canada. Life in Nova Scotia was unbearable to these Maroons and in 1800 they were sent to Sierra Leone, Africa. The Maroons who remained in Jamaica coexisted peacefully with the British. However, they continue to live in their mountain villages enjoying the terms of the treaty of 1739. One of the primary problems involved in the writing of this essay was the difficulty in procuring information. For one reason or another scholars have never been highly motivated to take the time and effort necessary for such a study. Also, because of Jamaica's former colonial status, most important documents were kept in the British Museum or the Colonial Office in England. These documents which are not for publication must be observed and studied in their place of deposit. Another factor contributing to this difficulty is that access to the Maroon settlements is not easy, nor is the establishment of a relationship. In preparing the essay I contacted primary, secondary and tertiary sources for pertinent data. I spent the summer of 1968 collecting data in Jamaica and the U.S.A. After the collection of the data, they were assembled in a logical order to form the content of the text. Although the data were used to support my primary and secondary purposes, no conscious effort was made to interpret them. The conclusion contains recommendations which are very subjective. The findings of this essay pointed to the colourful role played by the Maroons in the history of Jamaica. The data seem to indicate that the great political victory, which had far reaching implications for the entire island, did not disseminate to the other areas of Maroon society, namely the social, political and economic. Consequently, the Maroons continue to enjoy their political freedom in a sub-culture which is very marginal.


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Portland State University. Division of Social Science

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