After having a great conversation with a sista about Nanny of the Maroons in Jamaica... she sent me this link and I want people to see the reference of her African spiritual background in the second section of this thread... once you're done reading this and you don't know about Queen Nanny please read up about her in history HERE:
Queen Nanny of the Windward Maroons has largely been ignored by historians who have restricted their focus to male figures in Maroon history. However, amongst the Maroons themselves she is held in the highest esteem. Biographical information on Queen Nanny is somewhat vague, with her being mentioned only four times in written historical texts and usually in somewhat derogatory terms. However, she is held up as the most important figure in Maroon history. She was the spiritual, cultural and military leader of the Windward Maroons and her importance stems from the fact that she guided the Maroons through the most intense period of their resistance against the British, between 1725 and 1740.
Queen Nanny is presumed to have been born around the 1680’s in Africa’s Gold Coast (now known as Ghana). She was reported to belong to either the Ashanti or Akan tribe and came to Jamaica as a free woman. It is possible that Queen Nanny brought slaves of her own, reportedly being of royal African blood. It was not uncommon for African dignitaries to keep slaves. She was said to be married to a man named Adou, but had no children. She died in the 1730’s.
Moore Town is now the primary town of the Windward Maroons – it was founded in 1734 after the British destroyed the original Maroon town, which was known as ‘Nanny Town’.
Historical Maroon Identity and CultureSlaves imported to Jamaica from Africa came from the Gold Coast, the Congo and Madagascar. The dominant group among Maroon communities was from the Gold Coast. In Jamaica this group was referred to as Coromantie or Koromantee. They were fierce and ferocious fighters with a preference for resistance, survival and above all freedom and refused to become slaves. Between 1655 until the 1830’s they led most of the slave rebellions in Jamaica.
Spiritual life was of the utmost importance to the Maroons which was incorporated into every aspect of life, from child rearing to military strategies. Almost every slave rebellion involved African spiritual practices. Leaders, such as Queen Nanny usually practiced Obeah and were able to instill confidence in their followers. Spiritual practices such as Obeah (and voodoo in Haiti) evolved from Africa, and during slavery times were of great significance to the black population. However, under colonial rule as Western culture was imposed on the Caribbean, these African practices became ‘outlawed’ and took on negative connotations.
Among Maroon culture, their ancestors are revered and their importance to everyday life is recognized. The past is a source of pride which is both taught and shared. Amongst modern day Maroons, the history of their resistance against slavery is an extreme form of pride that forms a large part of Maroon identity. The story of the Maroons endurance and ability to hold off the British troops for almost eighty years is one that has never been repeated in history. What saw the Maroons through to freedom were their unfailing courage and determination. Their resistance to slavery drew on the strength of their memory of Africa and its culture. Their African culture and identity instilled in them great confidence and self esteem. So much so, that this diluted the stigma of inferiority imposed by the plantocracy. Therefore, the resistance against slavery by the Maroons was a defense of their culture and identity, their spiritual and political values and preservation of African civilization. This is why Maroon ancestors are an integral part of their day to day lives. At each annual Maroon celebration of the 1739 Peace Treaties there is a ‘private’ element of the festivities at which only Maroons may attend, where the ancestors are said to visit, including Queen Nanny who is honored.