Phenomenal Woman: Nanny of Maroons

Nanny of the Maroons, also known as ‘Granny Nanny’ is revered as a National Hero in Jamaica.

Born in the 1700s, not much is known about her birth or even how she came to be in Jamaica, but it is known that she became the leader of a group of Maroons in the Blue Mountains in her twenties and was a great military strategist.

Nanny trained her Maroons in the art of guerrilla warfare and later when the British came to occupy Jamaica, Nanny and her villagers fought in what is commonly known as The First Maroon War (1720-1734).

nanny on the mate
Nanny on the Jamaican 500 Dollar Bill

Although the British defeated the Maroons during this time, Nanny and her Maroons evaded death and ended up resettling in another part of Jamaica, known as Nanny Town. In 1739 when a Treaty was drafted between the British and the Maroons, Nanny and her people received 500 acres of land. This reportedly upset Nanny as she knew she was being placated by the British but accepted the offer to protect her people.

Nanny was a fearless and captivating leader; she was seen as a figurehead of power and resilience in Jamaica. Nanny died in approximately 1750, a hero and a female powerhouse who is still remembered today in Jamaica.

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