Nanny, Queen of the Maroons
She ( Nanny) put herself on a boat to the New World to come free her people. She was the leader of her tribe. She was an African queen who put herself into captivity to come to the West in order to be with her people so that she could free them. She didn’t come as a slave; it was her own plan. — Folk Historian Naakaa Cush via Karla Gottleib
Nanny, Queen of the Maroons, born into the Akan ethnic group in Ghana in the 1680’s ,lived to become one of the greatest freedom fighters of the New World.
Grandy Nanny was a chieftaness, a leader of Jamaica’s Windward Maroons, who successfully waged war with and held off the greatest military power on earth from 1724 to 1739 suffering only one majour defeat in 1734 at Nanny Town when the British, having managed to surprise the Maroons as they slept, fired upon them with portable swivel guns.
Historians acknowledge her as a master military strategist who developed and excelled at guerilla warfare. She perfected the art of camouflage and created a system of long- distance communication using the Abeng, a cow horn with a hole drilled at one end. Sophisticated Maroon communications put British troops at helpless disadvantage in the hills of Jamaica.
In the 1730’s, the war’s period of the most-intense fighting, the Maroons suffered only about 100 casualties while the British losses numbered in the thousands.
Nanny was named a National Hero for Jamaica in 1976.
Photos by Chris Saunders