The Jamaican Maroons were runaway slaves who fought the British during the 18th century, and the term is now used for their descendants. Some of the Jamaican Maroons were taken to Nova Scotia and from there some were taken to Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Their plantation raids resulted in the First Maroon War. The two main Maroon groups in the 18th century were the Leeward and the Windward tribes, the former led by Cudjoe in Trelawny Town and the latter led by his sister Queen Nanny (and later by Quao). Queen Nanny, also known as Granny Nanny (died 1733) is the only female listed among Jamaica's National Heroes, and has been immortalised in songs and legends. She was known for her exceptional leadership skills, especially in guerrilla warfare, which were particularly important in the First Maroon War in the early 1700s. Her remains are reputedly buried at "Nanny Bump" in Moore Town, the main town of the Windward Maroons who are concentrated in and around the Rio Grande valley in the northeastern parish of Portland.
In 1739-40 the British governor in Jamaica signed a treaty with the Maroons promising the Maroons 2500 acres (10 km²) in two locations. They were to remain in their five main towns Accompong, Trelawny Town, Mountain Top, Scots Hall, Nanny Town, living under their own chief with a British supervisor. In exchange, they agreed not to harbour new runaway slaves, but rather to help catch them. They were paid a bounty of two dollars for each returned slave. This last clause in the treaty naturally caused tension between the Maroons and the enslaved black population, although from time to time runaways from the plantations still found their way into Maroon settlements. Originally, Jamaican Maroons fought against slavery and maintained their independence from the British. However, in the treaty of 1738, they were also paid to return captured slaves and fight for the British in the case of an attack from the French or Spanish.
However, tensions between planters and Maroons remained and a Second Maroon War broke out in 1795. The Accompong Maroons remained neutral and the British left them alone. By the end of the war, the other Maroon settlements in Jamaica had been destroyed, and Accompong alone remained.
On 26 June 1796, the Dover, Mary, and Anne sailed from Port Royal Harbour, Jamaica to Halifax. One arrived in Halifax on 21 July, the other two followed two days later bringing in total 543 men, women and children. The Duke of Kent and Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in North America, impressed with the proud bearing and other characteristics of the Maroons, employed the group to work on the new fortifications at the Citadel Hill in Halifax. The Lieutenant-Governor Sir John Wentworth believed that the Maroons would be good settlers. He then received orders from the Duke of Portland to settle them in Nova Scotia. Following this the two commissioners responsible with credit of 25,000 Jamaican pounds from the government of Jamaica, expended £3,000 on of land and built the community of Preston. Governor Wentworth also was granted an allowance of £240 annually from England to provide religious instruction and schooling for the community. After the first winter, the Maroons, raised in an independent culture and not impressed with the apparently servile virtues of cultivating the soil, became less tolerant of the conditions in which they were living.
The British government decided it would be better to send them to Sierra Leone than to try to persuade them to farm in a cold climate and the survivors were deported to West Africa in 1800. Not surprisingly, exile to Africa was not an easy transition for the Trelawney Maroons. "By 1841, 90 per cent (sic) of the remaining Maroons (in Sierra Leone)--some 591--returned to Jamaica" to work for "Jamaican planters" who "desperately needed workers" (Fortin 23).
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