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Slavery in the Caribbean

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"The period of slavery was characterised primarily by one protracted war launched by those enslaved against their enslavers’ (V. Shepherd). Discuss with special reference to the anti-slavery activities of enslaved Africans."

Ra’Monne Darrell Gardiner
410004250

Caribbean Civilization
Professor C. Curry

University of the West Indies

November 23rd, 2010

“Where ever there was slavery, there was resistance” (University of the West Indies 86). Before the arrival of the first African slave ship, until the expansion of Maroon communities and the birth of Creolized Africans, slaves have resisted and resented the hostile confinements of slavery. The harsh realities of slavery left many enslaved persons feeling maladjusted to
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It is important to note the reason for African slave resistance. African born slaves revolted because “Slaves born in Africa who conceived of resistance as all-out war in African style to destroy the alien plantations or separate entirely from them” (qtd in Knight 242). These slaves could still remember the freedom they once shared in their homeland and resisted in every way to regain that freedom. Many African slaves would attempt to regain that freedom by running away and forming Maroon communities. Upon arrival into the new world many slaves would run away as another attempt to escape slavery; initiating another transition in slave rebellion, from African dominated to maroonage. Maroonage was a powerful expression of slave resistance because it allowed slaves to enjoy the freedom they once had or longed to have. Running away from plantations was a frequent practice. It was often attempted when there was hope of great success such as the availability of mountainous areas or dense forests. This was common in Caribbean countries such as Jamaica, Trinidad, Cuba, Hispaniola and Dominica. While in the new world, slaves had a better opportunity to achieve freedom by escaping from plantations rather than waiting to be emancipated or to be regarded as free. Maroon communities were formed and grew rapidly. This caused the ratio of White to Black to become disproportionate and strength ruled in favour of the Africans. The enslaved commonly retreated to the mountains
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