ST. KITTS - 1639
On the island St. Kitts, in November 1639, more than sixty enslaved Africans from the Capisterre region, angered by the brutal treatment meted out to them by their owners, left their plantations and found refuge on the slopes of Mount Misery. They took with them their women and children. The runaways built a formidable camp upon the mountainside. It was protected by a precipice on one side and could only be approached by a narrow pass. From this position they carried out raids on the plantations.
To put an end to their activities, Governor De Poincy raised a company of five hundred armed men. The stronghold was stormed by the soldiers and the uprising was crushed without much difficulty as the runaways were poorly armed and too few in number to offer much resistance. Most of them were killed in skirmishes. Some of the runaways were burnt alive, while the rest were captured, quartered, and their limbs exposed on stakes to serve as a warning to those who might be tempted to rebel. However, one of their leaders, a gigantic man, escaped and continued to elude capture for three years and was able to carry on a one-man reign of terror from the forests of Mount Misery. He served as a rallying point for other discontented enslaved Africans and was kept well informed of what was going on in the settlements.
However, he continued to live apart from his fellow runaways, fearing that one of them might betray him in order to gain favour with the planters. His success in evading capture inspired many to think that he was aided by supernatural powers. Realising the danger that this situation caused to the French settlement on the island, De Poincy sent some half a dozen soldiers to track him down and capture him. The mission was kept secret to prevent the slaves from giving him advance notice of what was to come. The soldiers pursued him and once they had him in their sights they blazed away at him. None of their muskets would go off and the infuriated African sword in hand, charged them. The men fled and he was able to gain a musket and a hat. Again the rumor spread that the runaway possessed magical powers that protected him from fire arms.
Quickly the French Governor sent out another squad to seize him. Again the African was found and surrounded, again shots were fired and again he was not hit. However, the sergeant who must have kept his nerve more than his subordinates, shot him through the head. His body was quartered and the limbs hung in the most public places.
SURINAME - 1700s
After a half century of guerrilla warfare against colonial and European troops, the Maroons of Surinam who were escaped enslaved Africans, signed treaties with the Dutch colonial government in the 1760s, enabling them to live a virtually independent existence. Their population was estimated to be between 25,000 and 47,000 during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
JAMAICA - 1720
Nanny of the Maroons stands out in history as the only female among Jamaicas national heroes. She possessed that fierce fighting spirit generally associated with the courage of men.
In fact, Nanny is described as a fearless Asante warrior who used militarist techniques to fool and beguile the English. Nanny was a leader of the Maroons at the beginning of the 18th. Century.
She was known by both the Maroons and the British settlers as an outstanding military leader who became, in her lifetime and after, a symbol of unity and strength for her people during times of crisis.She was particularly important to them in the fierce fight with the British during the First Maroon War from 1720 to 1739. Although she has been immortalized in songs and legends, certain facts about Nanny (or "Granny Nanny", as she was affectionately known) have also been documented. Both legends and documents refer to her as having exceptional leadership qualities. She was a small wiry woman with piercing eyes. Her influence over the Maroons was so strong that it seemed to be supernatural and was said to be connected to her powers of obeah. She was particularly skilled in organising the guerrilla warfare carried out by the Eastern Maroons to keep away the British troops who attempted to penetrate the mountains to overpower them.
Her cleverness in planning guerrilla warfare confused the British and their accounts of the fights reflect the surprise and fears which the Maroon traps caused among them. Beside inspiring her people to ward off troops, Nanny was also a type of chieftainess or wise woman of the village, who passed down legends and encouraged the continuation of customs, music and songs that had come with the people from Africa, and that instilled in them confidence and pride.
Her spirit of freedom was so great that in 1739, when Quao signed the second Treaty (The first was signed by Cudjoe for the Leeward Maroons a few months earlier) with the British, it is reported that Nanny was very angry and in disagreement with the
principle of peace with the British which she knew meant another form of subjugation. There are many legends about Nanny among the Maroons. Some even claim that there were several women who were leaders of the Maroons during this period of
history. But all the legends and documents refer to Nanny of the First Maroon War as the most outstanding of them all, leading her people with courage and inspiring them to struggle to maintain that spirit of freedom, that life of independence, which was their rightful inheritance.
Like the heroes of the pre Independence era, Nanny too met her untimely death at the instigation of the English sometime around 1734. Yet, the spirit of Nanny of the Maroons remains today as a symbol of that indomitable desire that will never yield to captivity.
ST. JOHNS, USVI - 1733
There was an island-wide revolt that killed many white families of the platations owners on the island of St. John in the United States Virgin Islands. The enslaved Africans controlled the island for six months.
GUYANA - 1763
The Berbice enslaved Africans Rebellion broke out (at the time when Berbice was a separate Dutch colony). The revolt is the result of the cruelty with which the Dutch plantation owners have been treating the enslaved Africans.
The enslaved Africans led by Cuffy (Kofi) held the county of Berbice for almost one year. The revolution began at plantation Magdalenenburg which is up the Canje River. The population on the plantation was approximately 3,833 Africans, 346 Europeans and 244 Amerindian (Native) labourers. Within one month the Africans were in control of almost all the plantations in Berbice. Some of the Dutch soldiers fled others were killed by the Africans.
The Africans were eventually defeated because they entered into negotiations with the Europeans who assured them that they were negotiating in good faith. The Europeans were actually waiting for the arrival of reinforcements. When the shiploads of reinforcement arrived, the Europeans being the majority and better armed, were then able to defeat the Africans. Almost a year after the revolution began Cuffy killed himself rather than be taken captive by the Europeans. Today Cuffy is a National Hero of Guyana.
MONTSERRAT - 1768
The Irish presence in Montserrat dates back to the 1630s, when the first pioneers - Roman Catholics - sailed over from St. Kitts because of friction with British Protestant settlers there. The Irish planters brought Enslaved Africans to work their sugar cane fields. Soon the enslaved Africans outnumbered them 3-to-1 and began rebelling. In 1768, the enslaved Africans planned an island-wide attack on St. Patrick's Day, when the planters would be celebrating. Servants were instructed to grab all the weapons they could find inside the Government House while field slaves stormed the building with rocks, farm tools, clubs and homemade swords. But someone leaked the plan, and debate over who's to blame still continues. Local authorities punished the enslaved Africans severely, hanging nine.
Today people mix their annual celebration of shamrocks and green beer with memories of an aborted enslaved African revolt against Irish planters. The result is a Caribbean amalgam of colonial culture and African pride -- a week long fete with islanders dancing Irish jigs one night, then mocking their one-time masters the next by cracking whips and masquerading in tall hats like bishops' miters. "We are celebrating the rise of the African freedom fighters said historian Howard Fergus.
BELIZE - 1773
On the Belize River in Belize, enslaved Africans took over five plantations and killed six white men. There were about fifty armed Africans with sixteen Musquets, Cutlasses, etc. involved in this rebellion.
Haitian Revolution began with the revolt of enslaved Africans in the northern province, Aug 22. An estimated 350,000 people died in this revolution before Haiti was declared a free republic on January 1, 1804. This was the most significant rebellion during the MAAFA.
CURACAO - 1795
In August 1795, there was a major enslaved African rebellion for two weeks on the island of Curacao, led by Tula and Bastiaan Karpata. Influenced by the revolution in Haiti, they gained weapons, attacked plantations and freed other enslaved Africans. They were caught and executed the following month. Curacao's enslaved Africans were not emancipated until 1863. They still commemorate the uprising on August 17.
BARBADOS - 1816
On the island of Barbados an enslaved African by the name of Bussa, led a revolt over the British rulers. His bravery and commitment against the evil of slavery is commemorated today with a statue in his honor.
BELIZE - 1820
In May the enslaved Africans of the Belize and Sibun rivers a region in Belize, revolted after very harsh treatment. This revolt was led by two enslaved Africans name Will and Sharper. This revolt lasted for about one month.
GUYANA - 1823
There was an enslaved African rebellion on the East Coast of the Demerara in the country of Guyana.
JAMAICA - 1831 - THE BAPTIST REVOLT
Samuel Sharp (a literate enslaved African), saw a newspaper and read an article on the emancipation of the enslaved Africans. He misinterpreted the article, thinking that emancipation was given to the enslaved Africans, but the planters refused to give slaves their freedom. Sharp, of course, felt that he and his fellow enslaved Africans were being denied their freedom and so vowed to get back at the whites and hasten emancipation. He told his fellow enslaved African not to work until they get paid until Christmas. During the battle, Samuel acted like a Trade Union leader of modern times.
The violence and bloodshed started on the 27th of December, 1831. It began in the Salt Spring estate, 50,000 enslaved Africans broke out in revolt in the western parishes. Signal fires were used in communicating the message of the revolt from one plantation to the next. Boiling houses, mansions and cane fields were deliberately set aflame. The enslave Africans also destroyed other plantation properties, tools and equipment, mainly the punishment tools and devices.