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Long weekend read: The masterless people

The escaped slaves of the early Americas (“Maroons” or cimarrons) and their struggle to live free at all cost.

Sometimes, according to this piece, their determination to live without masters led to alliances with pirates.

I can’t say how gloriously accurate this book excerpt is, but it’s a good read on a subject that deserves more attention. The book itself is a new history of the Jamestown colony, published a few days ago. But this excerpt is more about the slaves and pirates of the Caribbean in the days of Spanish conquest and early English adventurism.


  1. Pat
    Pat November 3, 2018 7:42 am

    Having lived around the local history of Jamestown for many years, I’m looking forward to reading this book. It’s about time the story was told.

    I also have read some early books (many years ago) about the maroons who were scattered among several of the Caribbean Islands. A rough life, as I recall. But with enough freedom moxie to see it through.

    Thanks for the link. A good winter read.

  2. larryarnold
    larryarnold November 3, 2018 9:14 am

    Somehow having a “long weekend” via one extra hour in the middle of the night doesn’t mean I have a lot of spare time to read. 😉

  3. just waiting
    just waiting November 3, 2018 2:18 pm

    Black Sails was a really good 30some episode series on one of the pay channels a few years ago that had the same plot line, the pirates and slaves combining to take over Nassau. Language and a bit gory at times, but stunning visuals, if you like pirates and seafaring, its a must see

  4. Eric Oppen
    Eric Oppen November 3, 2018 11:44 pm

    There were “Maroon” communities in many places. I believe that in some of the northern South American countries, there were until (at least) very recently whole African-styled communities of people whose ancestors had escaped from slavery. The Haitian Maroons participated in the Haitian Revolution, and the Jamaican Maroons were all but independent for quite a while. There was even a colony of them in the Great Dismal Swamp in the Carolinas, there was an article about them recently in an archaeology magazine I was reading. Interesting stuff!

  5. Desertrat 1
    Desertrat 1 November 4, 2018 8:06 am

    Kenneth Roberts’ 1947 book, “Lydia Bailey” was set in Haiti during the rebellion of Henri Christophe. Interesting read for me as a teeny-bopper. 🙂

  6. larryarnold
    larryarnold November 4, 2018 3:28 pm

    There was even a colony of them in the Great Dismal Swamp in the Carolinas,

    I think that’s where the fictional Martin family noncombatants hid out after the Selton plantation was burned, in The Patriot.

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