Bush Negroes of Surinam and the Maroons of Jamaica

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Columbus’ discovery of the New World in the late 15th century led to the establishment of colonies by European powers in that area. Eventually, the introduction of sugar in the Mid-17th Century gave rise to what would be known as the Sugar Revolution. A massive influx of slaves from Africa was seen during this period, as sugar required a substantial labour force. However, with hundreds and thousands of slaves being imported and only a few thousand whites to match them, the use of repressive measures through legal, psychological, cultural and physical means to control the slaves’ movement and to keep them on the plantation was of utmost importance in order to make up for this deficit. The horrors of slavery were so great that, even though they risked severe punishment, some slaves attempted to flee from their plantations. In fact, entire communities were established by runaway slaves in British Guiana and Jamaica. Moreover, these slaves, known as the Bush Negroes of Surinam and the Maroons of Jamaica, were able to survive despite the efforts of the Europeans to bring them back under their control. These two groups shared many similarities as well as differences, whether it both communities fighting with and making treaties with the Europeans or the fact that they defended their settlements differently. Also, they were differences between the social and political structure of these two settlements.

To start with, both settlements fought with and made treaties with the Europeans. Also, both of these treaties were broken at some point in time. With the Maroons, two wars took place, the first after which the British Government in Jamaica came to an agreement with them. This treaty gave the Maroons freedom and possession of all the lands lying between Trelawney Town and Cockpit Country. In return, the Maroons’ promised not to attack white planters, help return all runaway slaves and assist the Government against external enemies or internal revolt. The second war

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