Woman of the Week: Nanny of the Maroons

Nanny of the Maroons was born in the Gold Coast. It is called Ghana today. She came from the Ashanti region.

The Europeans took her to Jamaica to try and turn her into a slave. Nanny became a freedom fighter and fought the British soldiers. She became the leader of the Maroons at the beginning of the 18th century.

In 1720, Nanny captured Blue Mountain and named it Nanny Town. Nanny Town was organised how it would be in an Ashanti town. The British constantly put Nanny Town under attack, but Nanny resisted.

The British failed to capture the Maroons many times. They found the Maroons annoying because they “disturbed” slavery by giving help to escaped enslaved people. The British wanted the Maroons to work with them to keep enslaved people. She inspired the Maroons and other Africans to never give up independence. People believed Nanny had supernatural powers (obeah means ‘supernatural powers’ in Jamaica.)

In 1734 the British rudely bombed Nanny Town but Nanny and her men escaped. She was good at guerilla warfare because she had knowledge of the land so she used camouflage to help her and her army.

Nanny refused to sign a peace treaty because the British could do something bad to her people.

She is now on the $500 bill in Jamaica.

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