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Slavery And The Jamaican Maroons Essay

1584 words - 6 pages

The introduction of black slaves in the western world was the beginning of a new culture, more economic wealth and prosperity for whites and for blacks a life of poverty, enslavement and oppression.
The life and times of the Jamaican Maroons is a story of an indomitable foe, a people whose survival depends on their wit and tenacity, form a part of this terrible saga in the history of blacks in the New World and where we are today.
The struggle of the Maroons of Jamaica against the British colonial authorities, their subsequent collaboration with and betrayal by them. A story that took a circular voyage from West Africa to Jamaica, then to Canada and in the end returned to Africa.
The Maroons of Jamaica originally came from West Africa. Some of them were IBO, a tribe from eastern Nigeria. The slave trade between 1590 and 1840 concerned three different cultures from three different continents involved in an elaborate system of barter in enslaved Africans. Europeans comb African countries looking for gold, ivory, spices and cheap labour for their plantations in the Americas; traveling routes first navigated in the 15th century.
The Henrietta Marie was typical of the small merchant ships and traders that ply the Atlantic on their way to the Americas and the West Indies at the turn of the 18th century. In 1699, the ship left the port of London on her second slaving voyage, carrying cargo of European manufactured goods for trade in West Africa. She journeyed to the African coast where her cargo is exchanged for enslaved Africans and ivory, from there the ship sailed to Jamaica, where the captives is exchanged for sugar and logwood. Laden with new world goods, the Henrietta Marie! Began her long and ardours voyage home to London, where she planned to sell her valuable cargo. It was on the 18th May, 1700 the slaver "Henrietta Marie" sank off the coast of Florida on its way back to England. The ship's voyage was typical of slavers that ply the Caribbean in those days, from England to Nigeria, then to Jamaica where over 200 surviving slaves were sold in the market place.
Before 1655 the Spaniards occupied Jamaica. The island having been "discovered" by Columbus in 1494. At the time of discovery the inhabitants were the Arawak Indians who were enslaved by the Spaniards. But, by the time the British took possession of the island, Spanish ill treatment; European disease; and the introduction of cattle which destabilized native agriculture cause all the Arawak Indians to be totally wiped out. So, the most reliable source of slave labour, even before the Indian population was decimated was from Africa inline with the inexorable pattern of the enslavement process of the New World.
The Spanish and Portuguese explorers that occupied the island brought with them a cultural heritage of slavery as practiced in Iberia and the model of the institutional complex of the slave - run sugar plantation of Madeira. Columbus lived in Madeira for nearly 10 years....

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