The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 49, Issue 2

Article 3
Gradations of Freedom: The Maroons of Jamaica, 1798–1821

Amy M. Johnson


This article examines captivity among the Maroons of Jamaica from 1798, the year of the first census among the Maroons to list slaves, to 1821. I place the practice of captivity within the larger contexts of bondage in pre-colonial West Africa, where many of the ancestors of the Maroons originated, and colonial Jamaican society. Utilizing the Maroon census data in the Proceedings of the Honourable House of Assembly Relative to the Maroons and an analysis of dependency on the Gold Coast of West Africa, I contend that the Maroon Treaties of 1739 and West African traditions of dependency informed bondage among the Maroons of Jamaica in the nineteenth century.