The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 39, Issue 2

Article 6
Gender and Marronage in the Caribbean

Alvin O. Thompson


Over the last few decades scholars have focused increasing attention on gender issues in slavery studies and a number of excellent works have appeared on that subject. However, they have focused much less attention on gender as it relates to marronage. The relatively few studies that exist on the subject generally view female marronage as an appendage to male marronage. They also tend to reproduce the age-worn plantocratic view that female marronage was almost nonexistent, and that that really happened was that the vast majority of females who became Maroons were really unwilling fugitives; in fact, that males generally abducted them and took them to the Maroon settlements. This essay will argue that, while there was a grain of truth in the statement about female abduction by males, the vast majority of women absconded willingly, sometimes as single individuals and at other times in small groups, with or without male counterparts. The essay will also examine the diverse roles of females in Maroon societies and will indicate that females, like males, played critical roles in maintaining the integrity of these societies in both their passive and aggressive profiles.