The Caribbean has had its share of vagabonds, pirates, and rebels. To this day, a group of freedom fighters known as the Maroons are some of the more recognised and esteemed. These ex-slaves were seen as great warriors, once slaves in Jamaica, who fought to overcome slavery and oppression for all. Some didn’t like them however, and saw them as merely criminals and violent troublemakers.
In our current political and financial climate, with riots, protests and frustrations abounding, we could learn a few things from these Maroons of old who kept fighting and stayed determined until the tables were turned in their favour. Today’s protestors are treated like troublemakers and criminals, even those not seeking violence. Riots have come as a result of frustration and lack of respect, not too dissimilar to the situation in the Caribbean from long ago.
On the island of St. Lucia, the Maroons lived in secret inaccessible parts of the island and fought to help free slaves end the plantation structure and re-claim the island. The Maroons began with one woman, Queen Nanny, a renegade ex-slave who led the communities to take control and gain freedom for all.
The Maroons were defiant and unwilling to back down to the current system or to give in to what other thought was right. They believed in freedom and justice for all peoples regardless of decent, history, and definitely regardless of colour. Their determination helped bring freedom to Jamaica, St. Lucia and other Caribbean islands.
While the methods of the Maroons were often frowned upon their bold actions paved the way for a new season in the Caribbean, one where slavery was no longer commonplace and different nations could dwell together in peace. It would seem that sometimes in order to win big dreams and beautiful places we need to make bold gestures.
The Caribbean is an extraordinarily beautiful part of the world and is inviting to all who visit. It’s no wonder the people fought to own their own land and find peace on the beautiful islands. If you’d like to get a taste for the renegade life on some of the world’s most beautiful islands, visiting St. Lucia or Jamaica at this time of year could prove most ideal.
Dive into the dramatic history of the Maroons and get inspired to take back your own country (not through violent means, mind you), in between great treks into the rainforest, swimming, water sports, and other great adventures that these islands have to offer.
January 2012 is a great time to visit too. On the 6th of January in Jamaica there is a grand celebration of the Maroons’ peace treaty with the British. This is a great time to visit and get a taste for this exciting culture. In St. Lucia the 6th of January is a great delight thanks to the Gros Islet street party, one of the biggest parties of its kind featuring local DJs and a plethora of delectable Caribbean and international cuisine.
On the same day elsewhere on the island you’ll also find the Anse-la-Raye Seafood party, which serves freshly caught delicacies such as squid, octopus, shrimp, and more all out doors and with a soundtrack of Caribbean calypso. Excellent.
As the dark, broody weather of winter settles in for a long winter nap, consider a chance to break free, get some sun, and get inspired by history to help change your world today.