Maroon Settlements In Jamaica

Accompong, St Elizabeth

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The Accompong Church of God in Jamaica and the Grand Cayman was the first building erected in the maroon village.

Accompong was formed after the Maroons signed a peace treaty with the British in 1739. It is listed as one of the two areas where runaway slaves settled. The area was isolated enough to be safe first from the Spanish, and then later, from the British.

It is said that rebel slaves and their descendants wrested land from the colonial plantation and transformed a marginal mountainous reservation, imposed by a subsequent colonial legal treaty, into a sacred landscape rooted in common land. The treaty granted the Maroons their long-sought-after autonomy. However, when the Second Maroon War broke out in 1795, the Accompong Maroons remained neutral and the British left them alone. At the end of the war, all the other Maroon settlements in Jamaica were destroyed; Accompong alone remained.

The town of Accompong was named after the Maroon leader Accompong, who was from an Ashanti family and was the brother of a number of other Maroon leaders – Quao, Cuffy, Cudjoe, and Nanny. Cudjoe is credited for uniting the Maroons in their fight for autonomy. Descendants and friends of the Maroons come together in celebration of the treaty on January 6 each year, which is also Cudjoe’s birthday.

The town welcomes visitors for tours.

Charles Town, Portland

The late Colonel Frank Lumsden
The late Colonel Frank Lumsden

Initially, the Charles Town Maroons had settled in Crawford Town high in the Blue Mountains before signing the peace treaty with the British. After the treaty, they moved down to Charles Town and created a quiet hamlet about two miles north of Buff Bay. The town rests on just under 1,000 acres of maroon community lands which is governed by the Maroon Council. Most of the families there can trace their ancestry back to the original maroons, who were led by Nanny’s captain, Quao.

Up until his death in August of this year, Charles Town was under the leadership of Colonel Frank Lumsden, who was born in 1942 in Buff Bay, not far from the historic village. Lumsden and his brother Keith are credited with reviving the town, which had been in decline for years. After studying and working in the United States for many years, he returned to Jamaica in 1998 and joined Keith, who had already formed a council of elders to revive the Maroon heritage.

Their great-grandaunt Jestina ‘Tun-Tun’ Campbell, a former chieftainess and herbal healer, joined the brothers on the council, which was registered in 2003 as a corporation.

The town welcomes visitors for tours.