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This version was saved 14 years, 6 months ago View current version     Page history
Saved by Samantha Luceri
on April 1, 2008 at 10:59:13 pm


Sam - Voodoo Masks



Culture is material, a junkheap of things.


Cultural artifact and commentary

Upload an image of a cultural artefact from the Black Atlantic and provide a 300 word description and critique of its history, funtion, and continuing effect upon our world today. Feel free to comment any of these artifacts or link to other sources.


ABENG - Jackie Mitchell







The Jamaican Maroons were runaway slaves who fought the British during the 18th century. Some of the Maroons were deported to Nova Scotia and from there some were taken to Freetown, Sierra Leone.  When the British invaded Jamaica in 1655 the Spanish colonists fled leaving a large number of Africans who they had enslaved. Rather than be re-enslaved by the British, they escaped into the mountainous regions of the island, joining those who had previously escaped from the Spanish. The two main Maroon groups were the Leeward and the Windward tribes.  Over time, they came to control large areas of the Jamaican interior and they often moved down from the hills to raid the plantations.



This resulted in the First Maroon War in which the Maroons inhabited "cockpits," caves, or deep ravines that were easily defended, even against troops with superior firepower. Such guerrilla warfare and the use of scouts who blew the abeng to warn of approaching British soldiers allowed the Maroons to defeat the forces of an Empire.  The word abeng comes from the Twi language of the Akon in Ghana, and means 'animal horn' or musical instrument. Slaveholders also used it as a means of summoning the slaves in the sugar fields.  It is now used during traditional Maroon celebrations and gatherings.



The most famous among Maroon rebels was Queen Nanny (pictured), also known as Granny Nanny, leader of the Jamaican Maroons in the 18th century. She is the only female listed among Jamaican national heroes, and has been immortalized in songs and legends. She was known for her exceptional leadership skills, especially in guerrilla warfare, which were particularly important in the First Maroon War in the early 1700s. Her remains are reputedly buried at "Nanny Bump" in Moore Town, the main town of the Windward Maroons who are concentrated in and around the Rio Grande valley in the eastern parish of Portland.  Her image was put onto the Jamaican $500 bill in 1976.



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