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Queen Nanny: Ruler of Jamaica's Maroon Community

  • Broadcast in History
Anita Wills

Anita Wills


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This week the story of Queen Nanny will be our topic. She was born in the Ivory Coast, where she was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Jamaica. She was the leader of the Windward Maroons, and has largely been ignored by historians. Amongst the Maroons themselves she is held in the highest esteem. Biographical information on Queen Nanny is somewhat vague, with her being mentioned only four times in written historical texts and usually in somewhat derogatory terms. She was the spiritual, cultural and military leader of the Windward Maroons and her importance stems from the fact that she guided the Maroons through the most intense period of their resistance against the British, between 1725 and 1740. Queen Nanny is presumed to have been born around the 1680’s in Africa’s Gold Coast (now known as Ghana). She was reported to belong to either the Ashanti or Akan tribe and came to Jamaica as a free woman. It is possible that Queen Nanny brought slaves of her own, reportedly being of royal African blood. It was not uncommon for African dignitaries to keep slaves. She was said to be married to a man named Adou, but had no children. She died in the 1730’s. We salute Queen Nanny, and honor her memory.