The Maroons, Musicians of Freedom
Leymarie, Isabelle, UNESCO Courier
Right from the beginning of the slave trade, black people in almost every part of the New World rose up against slavery and, whenever they could, escaped from the slave ships or from mines and plantations. They took refuge in the impenetrable tropical forests, where they set up more or less self-governing communities, in some cases with a highly organized ranking structure. The runaway slaves were called "Maroons", probably from the Spanish cimarron meaning "wild". These communities were given such African-sounding names as cumbes, mocambos, quilombos and candombes. In some countries, such as Puerto Rico, they were also known as palenques, from another Spanish word meaning "stockade", since they often built fortifications to defend themselves from attack. Some of them were short-lived, but others survived for several centuries. One of the most famous quilombos was that of Palmares in Brazil, between Alagoas and Recife, which featured in Carlos Diegues' film Quilombo. The population of Palmares chiefly consisted of blacks of Bantu origin. When they were attacked by the whites, their king, Zumbi, threw …
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Publication information: Article title: The Maroons, Musicians of Freedom. Contributors: Leymarie, Isabelle - Author. Magazine title: UNESCO Courier. Publication date: September 1994. Page number: 46. © 1984 UNESCO. COPYRIGHT 1994 Gale Group.
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