March 21, 2007—Still practicing ancient African rites,
Jamiaca's Maroon people trace their Caribbean roots to a decades-long
guerrilla war against British colonizers.
When Britain ousted Spain from Jamaica in 1655, the new colonizers inherited a sugarcane industry manned largely by slaves taken from Africa. But a number of slaves, led by a female warrior known as Nanny, fled to the mountains.
From hillside hideaways, Maroons ambushed British forces for decades. Today several Maroon villages soldier on, governed largely by locally elected "colonels" and practicing traditions that can be traced back to Ghana.