Cudjoe's Town (Trelawny Town)

Cudjoe's Town was located in the mountains in the southern extremities of the parish of St James, close to the border of Westmoreland, Jamaica.[1]

In 1690, a large number of Akan freedom fighters from Sutton's Estate in south-western Jamaica, and they established a new town, free from colonial control, in the forested mountains of the island's interior, in the Cockpit Country.[2] Naquan was allegedly the first leader of this group of Jamaican Maroons in western Jamaica.[3]

Cudjoe's TownEdit

This town was eventually named after Cudjoe, who is allegedly the son of Naquan. Cudjoe was the Maroon warrior who led them into battle during the First Maroon War in the 1730s.[4]

The Maroons of Cudjoe's Town, known as Leeward Maroons, fought the British colonial forces to a standstill in the 1730s, until Governor Edward Trelawny felt compelled to offer Cudjoe a peace treaty. After some initial suspicion, Cudjoe signed the treaty in 1739, reportedly at Petty River Bottom, near the present-day village of Flagstaff.[5] However, the Maroons of Accompong Town believe that the treaty was signed by Cudjoe in their Maroon town.

The Maroon town eventually became known to the colonial authorities as Trelawny Town.[6] The 1739 treaty initially only recognised the existence of Cudjoe's Town, which they called Trelawny Town, and failed to identify Accompong Town as another Maroon town that fell under Cudjoe's jurisdiction.[7]

Trelawny TownEdit

Trelawny Town was located in the Saint James Parish, Jamaica, not Trelawny. The town and the parish were both named after Governor Trelawny. After the treaty of 1739, both the colonial authorities, generals and Maroons gradually stopped calling it Cudjoe's Town, and started to call it Trelawny Town. Trelawny Town's population grew from 276 in 1740 to 362 in 1770, to 594 in 1788.[8]

In 1760, ihe Maroons of Trelawny Town saw action in Tacky's War, fighting on the side of the white militia against rebel slaves, under a younger Maroon captain named Furry or Furre.[9][10]

Second Maroon WarEdit

Because of their population growth, in the second half of the eighteenth century, there were a number of land disputes between Trelawny Town and neighbouring planters. When the Assembly sided with the planters in these disputes, the tension that occurred as a result exploded in the form of the Second Maroon War of 1795-6.[11] When Trelawny Town was ruled by the white superintendents father-and-son team of John James and John Montague James, they were able to quell these disputes. However, when the Jamaican Assembly dismissed the James family, and appointed the inexperienced Thomas Craskell as superintendent, then Maroon colonel Montague James took control of Trelawny Town, and dismissed Craskell from his post.[12]

The Second Maroon War of 1795-6 was sparked when the magistrate of Montego Bay unwisely ordered that two Trelawny Town Maroons be flogged by slaves for stealing two pigs. This action outraged the Maroons of Trelawny Town, and led to Montague James ousting Craskell, and renewing calls for more land, and the reinstatement of his friend, John James, as superintendent.[13] The casualties suffered by the colonial militias were higher than those suffered by the Maroons. In the first two weeks of the conflict, the Maroons of Trelawny Town had killed 65 British soldiers without any Maroon death reported. Throughout the entire conflict, one general complained that the colonial forces had killed less than 32 Maroons and their allies. Recent research shows that the colonial militias were only able to kill about 16 Trelawnys. The Maroon warriors also laid waste to a number of sugar estates in western Jamaica.[14]

Hundreds of runaway slaves secured their freedom by fighting alongside Trelawny Town. They formed independent communities first under Cuffee (Jamaica), and then at Me-no-Sen-You-no-Come.[15]

However, the Maroons of Trelawny Town were unable to maintain their guerrilla campaign during the drought months, and Colonel George Walpole employed a scorched-earth policy, backed up by the importation of hunting dogs. By 22 December Walpole was able to persuade Montague James and his Maroon lieutenants, including Major Jarrett, Charles Samuels and Andrew Smith, to come to terms.[16][17] Walpole promised the Maroons that they would not be transported off the island if they laid down their arms, and the Trelawny Town warriors agreed to submit to terms. However, the governor, Alexander Lindsay, 6th Earl of Balcarres, exploited a loophole to reverse Walpole's promise, and he promptly arranged for the deportation of just under 600 Trelawny Town Maroons to Nova Scotia, where they became Black Nova Scotians.[18][19]

Trelawny Town in ExileEdit

As many as 58 Trelawny Town Maroons avoided deportation to Nova Scotia, and they remained in Jamaica, some settling in Accompong Town, while others merged with the free black population. The Second Maroon War proved costly to the colonial authorities, and in an attempt to recoup their losses, the Jamaica Assembly auctioned off most of the 1,500 acres belonging to Trelawny Town.[20]

The Maroons were unhappy with the conditions of their exile in Nova Scotia, and they regularly petitioned the British government to be relocated to another colony. In 1800, the British government eventually agreed to transport the Trelawny Maroons to Sierra Leone, where they helped to suppress a rebellion by the Black Nova Scotians. As a reward, the Sierra Leone colonial authorities granted the Jamaican Maroons in Sierra Leone the best houses and land, which originally belonged to the Black Nova Scotians.[21]

After the Second Maroon War, the colonial authorities converted Trelawny Town into a military barracks, and renamed it Maroon Town, Jamaica.

The Returned Maroons of FlagstaffEdit

After slavery was abolished in 1838, the Jamaican colonial authorities imported labourers from Sierra Leone, and among that number were scores of Trelawny Town Maroons. These Returned Maroons established themselves in nearby Flagstaff, and their descendants are still there today.[22]

Government of Trelawny TownEdit

Maroon leadersEdit

1720s - 1764 Colonel Cudjoe

1764 - ? Colonel Lewis

1790s - 1812 Colonel Montague James[23]

White superintendentsEdit

c. 1740s Dr William Russell

c. 1761 - 1767 John Scott

Late 1760s John Kidd, William Carson and Thomas Burke

1767 - 1787 John James (promoted to the position of Superintendent-General of all Jamaican Maroons)

c. 1773 Thomas Leamy

c. 1779 - 1792/3 John Montague James

1792/3 - 1795 Thomas Craskell[24]


  1. ^ Bev Carey, The Maroon Story: The Authentic and Original History of the Maroons in the History of Jamaica 1490-1880 (Kingston, Jamaica: Agouti Press, 1997), pp. 413-423.
  2. ^ C.V. Black, History of Jamaica (London: Collins, 1975), p. 84.
  3. ^ Milton McFarlane, Cudjoe the Maroon (London: Allison & Busby, 1977), p. 24.
  4. ^ McFarlane, Cudjoe the Maroon, p. 24.
  5. ^ "Flagstaff" Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  6. ^ Mavis Campbell, The Maroons of Jamaica 1655-1796: a History of Resistance, Collaboration & Betrayal (Massachusetts: Bergin & Garvey, 1988), pp. 88-118.
  7. ^ Michael Siva, After the Treaties: A Social, Economic and Demographic History of Maroon Society in Jamaica, 1739-1842, PhD Dissertation (Southampton: Southampton University, 2018), p. 46.
  8. ^ Siva, Michael (2018). After the Treaties: A Social, Economic and Demographic History of Maroon Society in Jamaica, 1739-1842 (PDF) (PhD). Southampton: Southampton University. p. 239.
  9. ^ Douglas Hall, In Miserable Slavery: Thomas Thistlewood in Jamaica, 1750-86, Macmillan, 1999, pp. 105-6.
  10. ^ Vincent Brown, Jamaican Slave Revolt Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  11. ^ Siva, After the Treaties, pp. 126-7.
  12. ^ Siva, After the Treaties, pp. 129-132.
  13. ^ Richard Hart, Slaves Who Abolished Slavery: Blacks in Rebellion (Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2002), pp. 159, 165-7.
  14. ^ Siva, After the Treaties, pp. 144-7.
  15. ^ Michael Sivapragasam (2019) "The Second Maroon War: Runaway Slaves fighting on the side of Trelawny Town", Slavery & Abolition, DOI: 10.1080/0144039X.2019.1662683 Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  16. ^ Campbell, Maroons of Jamaica, p. 229.
  17. ^ Siva, After the Treaties, pp. 148-9.
  18. ^ Campbell, Maroons of Jamaica, pp. 230-242.
  19. ^ Siva, After the Treaties, pp. 145-151.
  20. ^ Siva, After the Treaties, pp. 152-5.
  21. ^ Simon Schama, Rough Crossings (London: BBC Books, 2002), p. 382.
  22. ^ Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  23. ^ Siva, After the Treaties, p. 273.
  24. ^ Siva, After the Treaties, p. 275.