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The Maroons of Jamaica

            The Maroons of Jamaica have played an important role in gaining the independence of their country and have helped shaped Jamaica into the culturally rich island it is today. The Maroons were a group of people who originated in Ghana (West Africa). They were captured and enslaved by the Europeans during the 18th  century. Many were brought to the Caribbean to build  farms, houses, work on plantations and grow sugar cane to make indigo  and rum. However, many enslaved Africans throughout the Caribbean, Central America, South America and North America rebelled and ran away into the mountains, because they had promised that they would be freed if the Spanish won. These slaves were then called the Maroons.The term "Maroon" has come to represent freedom fighters, a respectful connotation that reflects a spirit of resistance, rebellion, freedom and wildness because they were runaway slaves who banded together and subsisted independently. They began a very successful guerrilla war, harassing the English settlements for many years. At the same time, they established an early-warning system - using an "abeng" (typically an animal horn) to warn their villages of attack by the British "red-coats"." .
             The Maroon language was a mix between African dialects, Spanish, and broken English. This is very important when speaking of the Maroons, because many of the slaves did not speak the same language as other slaves that joined them throughout the years.  They often used body language to communicate; in particular hand gestures and various physical actions. Verbal communication improved among the slaves because they learned to communicate using their own language they invented using variations of their previous language and that of the people who owned them. The older Jamaican Maroons were considered wizards, or Obeah-men. These Maroons used Obeah, which is a form of witchcraft to make others, including planters, believe they had power.

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