The Sam Sharpe Rebellion

Topics: Slavery, Jamaica, Abolitionism Pages: 10 (3249 words) Published: January 3, 2013

Slavery was probably the cruelest crime executed on a black African in the Caribbean. Although there were those who found it to be the norm, there isn’t an inch of doubt that slavery was an evil deed.  This research is aimed at enlightening the reader on how the major revolts in Jamaica affected its society.

Table of Contents
When the British took over Jamaica in 1655, the one thing on their mind was to make a profit. Tobacco had been the top selling crop until the demand for sugar in Europe was more than the demand for tobacco. The planting of sugarcanes needed a large, cheap labor force to work in the fields, thus, the birth of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. This involved black west Africans transported from Africa to the Caribbean to work on sugar plantations..  

Part One

The 1st Maroon War
Left behind by the Spaniards, the maroons joined the remaining Amerindians to form the Windward Maroon Communities in the mountainous region of Jamaica, the Cockpit Country

Tacky’s Rebellion
Many revolts had occurred in Jamaica, but most of them were put down with ease. Not so on Easter Sunday in 1760. A little before dawn on Monday, Tacky and his followers began the revolt and easily took over the Frontier and Trinity plantations while killing their masters. Then they made their way to the storeroom at Fort Haldane, where the munitions to defend the town of Port Maria were kept. After killing the storekeeper, Tacky and his men stole nearly 4 barrels of gun powder and 40 firearms before marching on to overrun the plantations at Heywood Hall and Esher. By dawn, hundreds had joined Tacky. At Ballard's Valley, the rebels stopped to rejoice in their success, as one a slave from Esher decided to slip away and sound the alarm. An Obeahman who they believed could not be killed, sprinkled a powder around them, that they claimed would protect the men from harm. Soon there were 70 to 80 mounted militia on their way along with some Maroons from Scott's Hall, who were bound by treaty to suppress such rebellions. When the militia learned of the Obeahman's boast of not being able to be killed, an Obeahman was captured, killed and hung with his mask, ornaments of teeth and bone and feather trimmings at a prominent place visible from the encampment of rebels. Many of the rebels, confidence shaken, returned to their plantations but Tacky and 25 or so men decided to fight on. Tacky and his men went running through the woods being chased by the Maroons and their legendary marksman, Davy. While running at full speed, Davy shot Tacky and cut off his head to prove his feat for which he would be richly rewarded. Tacky's head was later displayed on a pole in Spanish Town until a follower took it down in the middle of the night. Tacky's men were found in a cave near Tacky Falls, having committed suicide rather than going back to slavery. The rebellion didn't end here, as other rebellions broke out all over Jamaica, which many were rightly or wrongly attributed to Tacky's cunning and strategy. It was months later until peace was restored. Over 60 white people had lost their lives as well as 400 or so Negro slaves, including two ring leaders who were burned alive and two others who were hung in iron cages at the Kingston Parade, until they starved to death. (Evans, 2003)

The Sam Sharpe Rebellion:
Causes of the Rebellion
There are several reasons for the 1831 revolt in Jamaica. One of the main reasons given for the revolt was that the enslaved was led to believe that emancipation was being withheld. In Jamaica reports spread among the slaves that their "free paper" had come from England but their masters were holding them in bondage. It was obvious that the slaves knew roughly what was going on, but they did not know the precise details. Another cause was the...
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