In today’s blogpost I want to share some fascinating historical information that I came across recently regarding resistance to European hegemony in the English speaking Caribbean. More specifically, I would like to shine a light on a list (adapted slightly), compiled by Professor Michael Craton (at Waterloo University in Canada), of insurrections and wars involving slaves that took place in the Caribbean (i.e., West Indies) between 1638 and 1837. What I find most astounding is the sheer number of these events that occurred in this two-hundred year period – namely seventy-two (with twenty-one occurring in Jamaica alone!)! It is also important to bear in mind that this list only reflects what trasnpired in the (predomoninantly) English colonial possessions in the Caribbean. If one were to factor in the Dutch (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, St. Maarten and Saba), French (Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique and St. Martin) and Spanish colonies (Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico), it is quite likely that the total number of insurrections and wars would easily exceed one hundred.
Chronology of Resistance in the West Indies
Numbers of slave’s involved:
A= dozens, B=hundreds, C=Thousands, D=Many Thousands
1638 B. Christmas. General slave rebellion
1649 A. Servile report by Ligon, possibly involving slaves as well as white servants.
1675 B. June. Coromantee plot led by Toney and Cuffee.
1683 A. November, Plot involving mainly African slaves.
1686 B. February plot, involving nearly all African Place.
1692 C. October, Afro Creole plotted by Ben, Sambo and others.
1656 A. Resistance by “Spanish Negroes” Lubolo de Serras and others.
1673 B. Christmas plot by Robin and others.
1720-1731 A. “Poisoning” plots including the one allegedly directed Sarah Basset.
1761 B. October. Island wide plot led my Mingo and others.
1655-1670 B. Resistance by “Spanish negroes” Lubolode Serras, and others.
1673 B. Revolt of Coromantee slaves, Lobby’s estate, St. Ann’s parish.
1678 B. Large – scale running away, St. Mary’s Parish.
1685 B. July. Revolt on Grey’s estate, Guanaboa Vale.
1690 B. July. Revolt centred on Sutton’s estate, Clarendon parish, led by Cudjoe.
1730-1740 C. First Maroon War, involving Cudjoe the younger, Nanny, and other leaders.
1742 A. Christmas. Coromantee plot, St James’s parish.
1745 B. New Year. Plot mainly by African slaves, St. David’s parish.
1760 D. Tacky’s revolt, dominated by Coromantee slaves, originating in St. Mary’s parish.
1765 A. November. Coromantee uprising, St Mary’s parish, led by Blackwall.
1766 C. Coromantee uprising, Westmoreland parish.
1776 C. July. Afro – Creole, Hanover parish, led by Sam, Charles, Caesar, and others.
1791-1792 B. Island- wide slave unrest after news from Haiti.
1795-1796 B. July – March. Second Maroon war in Trelawny and St. James’s parish.
1806 A. Plot in St. George’s parish.
1808 B. Mutiny of the Second West India Regiment and plot in Kingston.
1815 B. Christmas. Ibo – led plot, St. Elizabeth’s parish.
1819 B. Epidemic of running away throughout the island.
1823-1824 C. “Argyle War” – widespread plots and unrest, especially in Hanover parish.
1828 A. Expedition against a band of runaways at Dromilly estate Trelawny parish.
1831-1832 D. Christmas. ‘Baptist War’ in western Jamaica, led by Samuel Sharpe and others.
1685-1700 B. Widespread running away and maroon activity.
1701 A. Christmas. Revolt by Coromantees, Greencastle Estate.
1729 A. Christmas. Plot centred on Crump’s slaves.
1735-1736 C. October. Island-wide Afro – Creole plot, led by Tacky and Tomboy.
1831 C. Widespread unrest and arson after banning of the Sunday Markets
1690 B. Slave uprising in conjunction with French invasion.
1778 B. Easter. Abortive Afro – Creole plot.
1835 C. Widespread unrest over apprenticeship.
1763 C. Cuffee’s rebellion in Dutch Berbice (preceded by revolts in 1749, 1752, & 1762).
1795 C. Slave revolt in Dutch Demerara, in conjunction with maroons.
1823 D. August. Rebellion on East Coast, Demerara, led by Quamina & Jack Gladstone.
1734 B. September. General slave plot revealed by Governor Fitzwilliam.
1787 A. Armed runaways lurking in Blue Hills, New Providence.
1830 A. June. Pompey’s revolt. Exuma Island.
1832-1834 B. Widespread unrest in Exuma, Eluthera, Cat Island.
1765 A. September. Revolt of Cook’s slaves from Jamaica.
1768 A. July. Revolt on new River.
1773 B. Revolt on Belize River.
1813 B. Disturbance on New river.
1820 B. Easter. Revolt on New River led by Will and Sharper.
1765 B. Slave revolt followed by widespread maroon activity.
1795-1797 D. Fedon’s rebellion, involving majority of islands slaves.
1769-1773 C. First Carib War, with Black Caribs led by Chatoyé.
1795-1796 C. Second Carib War, under the leadership of Chatoyé and Duvallé.
1770 A. November. Revolt at Courland Bay, led by Sandy.
1771 A. June. Revolt at Bloody Bay.
1774 A. March. Revolt at Queen’s Bay
1801 B. Christmas. Afro – Creole, plot centred on western half of the island.
1807 B. December. Proto – peasant unrest, with march on Government House.
1785-1790 C. First Maroon War, under the leadership of Balla, Pharcell and others.
1791 B. New Year. Revolt of windward slaves.
1795 B. May. Colihaut uprising, involving some slaves.
1802 B. April. “Black Man” mutiny of the Eighth West India Regiment.
1809-1814 C. Second Maroon War led by Quashie, Apollo, Jacko and others.
1790 B. May. Revolt on Pickering’s estate.
1823 B. Second Pickering slaves’ revolt.
1830 B. April. Revolt of Lettsome slaves.
1831 B. September. Islandwide slave plot led by Jacob Kierny and others.
1796-1797 C. Brigands’ War, involving many slaves.
1805 B. Christmas. Plot among francophone slaves around Careenage and Maraval.
1837 B. Daaga’s mutiny in the First West India Regiment.
Souce: Craton, Michael. Testing the Chains: Resistance to Slavery in the British West Indies Chronology of Resistance in the West Indies, London: Cornell University Press, 1982. Print.
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