The original Maroons were the
freed or runaway Spanish Negro slaves (more details) and have been recognised
as an indigenous people by the United Nations. The name Maroon
probably derived from the Spanish cimarron meaning "wild",
"untamed" but the word seems to have been in general use during the 18th century: After the
arrival of the British in Jamaica (1655) the escaping Spanish freed
their slaves who were "organised by Ysasi into an effective
fighting force before he too escaped to Cuba". (C.V. Black The
Story of Jamaica) These "Spanish Negroes" were later joined by
slaves escaping from the British. Beverley Carey The Maroon
Story(1997) suggests that these warlike "Maroons" eventually
settled in the Blue Mountains (where they were eventually known as
the Eastern or Leeward Maroons). The group that later formed in
Clarendon under Cudjoe (Kojo) maintained a low profile as evidenced
by there being hostilities against the Eastern Maroons only. By
1736 Cudjoe's Maroons were living in the Ulster Spring/Albert Town area near the Mouth
and Hectors Rivers and, probably because of pressure from British
troops after their successful destruction of Nanny Town in the Blue
Mountains, decided to move on to the Tangle River area of St James
where Cudjoe Town and, further south, Accompong Town were founded.
Accompong was Cudjoe's brother and the origin of their names is of interest. The long period of sporadic
warfare between the British and the Maroons, culminating in the
First Maroon War during the 1730's, was terminated by a series of
treaties of which the was signed by Guthrie and Saddler with Cudjoe in 1738 (see reproduction) . As the treaty shows,
it was signed at a camp near Trelawny Town, which was the British
name for Cudjoe Town and which corresponds to the present Flagstaff area.
As confirmed by a circa 1800 map in the Institute of Jamaica, the treaty gives the Trelawny Town Maroons ownership of 1500 acres of land bearing northwest from Trelawny Town. A separate agreement seems to have been reached with the Accompong Maroons and several maps show their territory as 1000 or 1200 acres. The attached map seems to clear up this matter.
An annual celebration is held every year on Jan 6th at Accompong. There were other permanent Maroon settlements elsewhere in Jamaica including Quao Hill in St Thomas, Scott's Hall, Charles Town, Moore Town and Nanny Town.
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