Maroon Heritage: Archaeological, Ethnographic, and Historical Perspectives

Maroon Heritage: Archaeological, Ethnographic, and Historical Perspectives

Maroon Heritage: Archaeological, Ethnographic, and Historical Perspectives

Maroon Heritage: Archaeological, Ethnographic, and Historical Perspectives

Excerpt

Lust for power and precious metals attracted Columbus and the Spaniards farther and farther into the New World where they encountered many local ethnic groups, such as the Lucayanos, living in The Bahamas [Keegan 1987; Loven 1935], Borequinos in Puerto Rico [Alegria 1980], and Tainos in Cuba [Corso 1988], Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Haiti [ Arrom andAravelo 1986].

Much of the eastern Caribbean was inhabited by the Caribs, whose ferocity prevented European colonization of islands such as Grenada and St Lucia. Parry and Sherlock [1965] record that there were "negroes" on board the vessels that brought the Spanish adventurers to the New World. Some of them reportedly escaped to freedom to join the local groups in the interior and inaccessible regions [Guillot 1961].

As the Spaniards forced the Indians and their Spanish slaves on board their vessels they escaped individually or in small groups into hiding. For example, it is reported [Price 1979] that in 1502 an African slave escaped from his enslaver into the interior hills of Hispaniola and that during the early parts of the sixteenth century, strongholds established by escaped African slaves already existed on one of the islands referred to as Samana, off the coast of Hispaniola. These groups eventually crystallized into communities today referred to as Maroon. From their settlements they fought back against their pursuers to retain their freedom.

Resistance is a phenomenon that cannot be separated from slavery or oppression [Singleton 1985; Beckles andShepherd 1991; Heuman 1986]. The development of resistance groups was a direct response to the cruel torture devices on slave . . .

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