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Seminar: Maroons and marronage

In this seminar, we will discuss a significant group within some Caribbean societies – maroon communities that had their origins in enslaved runaways. In particular, we will focus on the origins of Jamaica’s Maroons, the First Maroon War of the 1730s and the subsequent uneasy peace that ended with the Second Maroon War of 1795.

Seminar questions

  • What were the origins of Jamaica’s Maroons? What happened to them?
  • In what ways did the Maroons pose a threat to Jamaica’s plantation system? How did the authorities attempt to deal with this?

Required reading


Please read the following:

Dallas, Robert C., The History of the Maroons (2 vols, 1803, reprinted 1968).

This is also available as an electronic resource through The Making of the Modern World database or through Google Books. Read at least letter 2 (pp.22-65), but try to read as much of letters 3-5 (pp. 66-165) in volume 1 as you can.


In addition, read at least ONE of the following…

Campbell, Mavis C. "Marronage in Jamaica: Its Origin in the Seventeenth Century", Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 292, no. 1 (1977), pp. 389-419.

De Groot, S. W., C. A. Christen and Franklin W. Knight, ‘Maroon Communities in the Circum-Caribbean’, in Franklin W. Knight (ed.), The Slave Societies of the Caribbean, UNESCO History of the Caribbean, vol. 3 (London, 1997), pp. 169-193.

Further reading


The Proceedings of the Governor and Assembly of Jamaica, in regard to the Maroon Negroes... (London, 1796).

Charles, Robert, The History of the Maroons, from their Origin to the Establishment of their Chief Tribe at Sierra Leone: Including the Expedition to Cuba (London, 1803).

Price, Richard, To Slay the Hydra: Dutch Colonial Perspectives on the Saramaka Wars (Ann Arbor, 1983).

Stedman, John Gabriel, Narrative of a Five Years Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam, edited and with an introduction and notes by Richard Price and Sally Price (Baltimore and London, 1988).


Bilby, Kenneth M., True-Born Maroons (Gainesville, 2006).

Brana-Shute, Gary (ed.), Resistance and Rebellion in Suriname: Old And New (Williamsburg, 1990).

Campbell, Mavis, The Maroons of Jamaica, 1655-1796(Trenton, 1990).

Curtis, Isaac, ‘Masterless People: Maroons, Pirates, and Commoners’ in Stephan Palmié and Francisco A. Scarano (eds), The Caribbean: A History of the Region and its Peoples (Chicago, 2011), pp. 149-162.

Hall, N. A. T., ‘Maritime Maroons: Grand Marronage from the Danish West Indies’ in Hilary Beckles and Verene Shepherd (eds), Caribbean Slavery in the Atlantic World: A Student Reader (London, 2000), pp. 905-919.

Heuman, Gad, The Caribbean (London, 2006), chapter 6.

Heuman, Gad (ed.), Out of the House of Bondage: Runaways, Resistance and Marronage in Africa and the New World (London, 1986).

Hoogbergen, Wim, The Boni Maroon Wars in Suriname (Leiden, 1990).Price, Richard (ed.), Maroon Societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas (Baltimore; London, 1996, 3rd edition).

Schafer, Daniel Lee, The Maroons of Jamaica: African Slave Rebels in the Caribbean (UMI, 1979).

Taylor, Chris, The Black Carib Wars: Freedom, Survival, and the Making of the Garifuna (Jackson, 2012).

Thompson, Alvin O., Flight to freedom: African Runaways and Maroons in the Americas (Kingston, Jamaica, 2006).

Wilson, Kathleen, ‘The Performances of Freedom: Maroons and the Colonial Order in Eighteenth-Century Jamaica and the Atlantic Sound’, The William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Series, 66 (2009), pp. 45-86.

Yingling, Charlton W., 'The Maroons of Santo Domingo in the Age of Revolutions: Adaptation and Evasion, 1783–1800', History Workshop Journal, 79 (2015), pp.25-51.

Zips, Werner, Black Rebels: African-Caribbean Freedom Fighters in Jamaica (Princeton, 1999).