Saturday, 29 October 2016

Nanny Maroon, Haiti, Toussaint Louverture

The two main Maroon groups in the 18th century were the Leeward and the Windward tribes, the former led by Cudjoe in Trelawny Town and the latter led by his sister Queen Nanny (and later by Quao)] Queen Nanny, also known as Granny Nanny (died 1733) is the only female listed among Jamaica's National Heroes, and has been immortalised in songs and legends.

She was known for her exceptional leadership skills, especially in guerrilla warfare, which were particularly important in the First Maroon War in the early 18th century. Her remains are reputedly buried at "Bump Grave" in Moore Town, the main town of the Windward Maroons who are concentrated in and around the Rio Grande valley in the north-eastern parish of Portland. The Maroons retreated to the mountains throughout the mid-seventeenth century, unaware of the impact they would make on British and Jamaican history.

With a vast knowledge of the uninhabited Jamaican mountain side, the Maroons were able to wage war against British planters and eventually contract a peace agreement with the British. Through the courage of fugitive slaves and the leadership of Cudjoe and his colleagues, the Maroons became a people whose history exemplified the driving force of freedom.

In 1789, Saint-Domingue was plagued by a number of contradictions. The great white planters demanded political autonomy. The Affranchis, most of whom were landowners, clamoured for civil and political equality with the whites.

The slaves looked for freedom. Brought from Africa, they toiled on plantations and in production workshops and were at the mercy of the overseer's whip. On the night of 21–22 August 1791, following a political movement in the North Province under the leadership of a certain Boukman, slaves set fire to the plantations and attacked their masters. The insurrection spread to the West and South Provinces.

The fight waged by the slaves became more structured with the emergence of Toussaint Louverture. As the commander of an army that he personally organised, he became a powerful figure in the colony. From 1794 to 1802, Toussaint Louverture led the combat. In order to keep Saint-Domingue within its colonial empire, the French authorities came to terms with Toussaint Louverture, promoting him to the rank of general in chief of the Saint-Domingue army and, later, governor.

In such a position of power, he made freedom of blacks the focus of his international policy and made the revival of production the focus of his domestic policy.

Toussaint Louverture forged an autonomous policy vis-à-vis France. In 1801, without the backing of French authorities, he entered the eastern side of the island, then under Spanish domination, and abolished slavery there. In the same year he promulgated a constitution for the entire island with immediate application. Right: Toussaint Louverture White-washed Version.

Nonetheless, he sent it to France for approval by Napoleon Bonaparte. In response, Napoleon deployed twenty-two thousand troops and eighty-six warships in order to subdue Toussaint Louverture and restore slavery in the colony and in all the other French dependencies of America. The troops also had a mission to expand the French colonial empire in America, going from Saint-Domingue up to the former French possessions along the Mississippi.

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