]” This is a description of the island of Jamaica as seen by an anonymous account. Why would a source at this time fail to describe an enemy that had already invaded the island prior to the English occupation of the island? These occupants were known as Maroons, and by the time of the writing of the document no doubt existed in the remote areas of the island of Jamaica. Was the author ashamed by their existence? Did he simply overlook them as a threat? Or did he believe that they would easily be conquered and did not wish to concern Britain with their existence?
When asked to think of runaway slaves, many Americans would think of nineteenth century America and the Underground Railroad or the Emancipation Proclamation. However, these stories of runaways have a much deeper and older origin. Throughout the years of New World slavery, slaves have often looked to escape from their work conditions and their masters. These runaways would sometimes form communities on the outer edges of their imperial overlords power. Some of the more widely known examples of these include the Quilombolas of Brazil, runaway slaves in the Great Dismal Swamp of the United States, as well as the Maroons of Jamaica.
While many Caribbean islands were the strongholds of imperial trading in the New World, some Af...
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...d. This opportunity was made available due to the British demand for goods as well the Maroon’s availability to sell goods in British markets as free blacks.[ Mavis Christine. Campbell. The Maroons of Jamaica, 1655-1796 : A History of Resistance, Collaboration & Betrayal / Granby, Mass: Bergin & Garvey, 1988.] As a result, Maroons were available to establish a nearly fully substantiating economy as well as the ability to trade with British merchants for luxury goods.
Also helping the Maroons maintain independence on Jamaica was the constant immigration of new slaves onto the island. These new immigrants can be seen in a number of ways of benefiting the already established Maroons. First, this constant availability of new slaves helped eliminate the British efforts of reincorporating the Maroons back into slavery as they had already had an established economic system.
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