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  • Writer's picturerutendo matinyarare


The Jamaican Maroons are the first black people to defeat the English at war in the Jamaican mountains, leading to the English signing the Maroon Treaty [blood covenant] of 1738, to stop the war.

This treaty included leaders of both sides letting their blood into a bowl, mixing it together and each drinking the blood and signing the treaty.

The treaties gave the maroons freedom from colonialism, slavery and paying tax. Leaving them free to have their own villages and land that was not under the colonial administration but traditional leadership.

The Maroons were a group of run away slaves who lived in the mountains in Jamaica and other Carribean countries.

They were a mix of Igbos, Ashantis, Dahomey, Shonghai, tribes of modern day Angola and other West Africans, adept at living in the forest, guerrilla warfare and the practice of voodum.

One of the most effective guerrilla tactics used to devastating effect against the English, were the leaf camouflage [illustrated below] and booby traps.

These maroon warriors were able to blend in seamlessly with nature to the extent that they were undetectable. From this cover, they would attack English soldiers, blend right back into the foliage like ghosts and wait to attack the next wave of reinforcements.

This decimated the English, sapping their moral and forcing them to negotiate for a truce with the Maroons.

By simply mastering their natural environment, the Maroons defeated one of the most formidable armies in the world.

Fifty years later, a Jamaican Maroon by the name of Boukman Dutty would teach Haitian slaves the same techniques to defeat France in the Haitian Revolution.

Through out the centuries, the tactics of the Maroons have inspired guerrilla armies across the world from Vietnam, Cuba and Africa to defeat modern western armies with nature.

The victory of the Maroons exposed that westerners and their machines are not invincible. Since then more victories have confirmed that men with little equipment can defeat them comprehensively by taking advantage of nature.

We can defeat them even today in all aspects of their systematic war if we play to our strengths and knowledge systems. This is why maintaining traditional systems is critical, rather than trying to emulate their ways in everything.

We are a nature people......they destroy nature because they know it’s our strength.

Rutendo Bereza Matinyarare

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1 Comment

Mazila Nkatha
Mazila Nkatha
Feb 27, 2020

incredible story