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AfriGeneas Caribbean Research Forum

In Response To: Re: [JAMAICA] GRAY Family ()

My understanding of the term maroon is pretty much as yours. The enslaved Africans who escaped the Spanish colonisers and their subsequent British conquerors were termed maroons in Jamaica as elswhere (apparently from the Spanish "cimarron" for untamed). In the eastern part of Jamaica many of these hid in the valleys between the John Crow and Blue Mountain ranges in Portland parish from which Jamaica's own Rio Grande emanates.

The area was inhospitable and difficult to access proving an ideal place to hide and fight off search and capture parties. The main Windward (or eastern) maroon settlement became Moore Town and several other communities such as Comfort Castle followed. All have the river in common and, since they were originally settled by maroons and have little to offer in terms of modern living, it is reasonable to assume that few outsiders would choose to move in. Therefore, most who live there or have their roots there are still referred to, in Jamaica, as maroon even if it cannot be proved that their forebears were indeed runaways. They live on land signed over to them as part of an 1830s treaty with the British and presided over by a local 'Colonel' and still today enjoy a degree of autonomy.

Another major maroon community, the Leeward maroons, live in the center of the island around Accompong and "cockpit country".

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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