Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Land, Law and Community Among the Accompong Maroons in Post-Emancipation Jamaica
by Thompson, Michelle, Ph.D., New York University, 2012, 261; 3502731
Abstract (Summary)

Jamaican Maroons—slaves who ran away from plantations and their descendants won their freedom after eighty-four years of warfare. That war ended in a 1739 treaty guaranteeing land to the communities. In return for their freedom, the treaty required that the Maroons capture and return runaway slaves and quell slave rebellions. After the British emancipated the slaves in 1838, the Jamaican government rethought the role of the Maroon communities. Desperate for labor, the government sought to dismantle and incorporate the Maroons communities into Jamaican society by reconfiguring their communal lands to individual allotments that would require individual Maroons to pay property taxes. It was hoped that Maroons would fail to pay taxes; the land would revert to the state; and they would have to work on plantations to support themselves. This dissertation examines this post-emancipation agenda and the way it framed four disputes about Maroon lands and taxation from 1842–1905.

The Accompong Maroons engaged in resistance to these incursions on their community by ignoring Jamaica’s legal land requirements that did not comport with the terms of the treaty; by acquiring more land by adverse possession at a time when the colonial state systematically disenfranchised freed Blacks of land; by threatening warfare; and by preventing the government from surveying their lands, particularly if the survey did not expand their land holdings in accordance with their original understanding of the treaty. As government officials both in London and Jamaica sought to avoid warfare with the Maroon communities, they failed to eliminate the Maroons, who today still reside in Jamaica on treaty granted lands.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ferrer, Ada
Commitee: Gomez, Michael, Khan, Aisha, Morgan, Jennifer, Thomson, Sinclair
School: New York University
Department: History
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 73/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Latin American history, Caribbean Studies
Keywords: Accompong, Jamaica, Labor, Land, Maroons, Postemancipation
Publication Number: 3502731
ISBN: 978-1-267-26029-1
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