ABSTRACT

In 1795, the Maroons of Trelawney Town, Jamaica, were engaged in a second war of resistance against the British. The Treaty of 1738-1739 signed by the Maroon leader Captain Cudjoe, secured lands for Maroon hunters and the added right to hunt wild hogs outside the bounds of their territory as long as the “Hogs [were] to be equally divided between both Parties.” The Maroons sold jerked pork, a spicy delicacy made from salted and smoked meat, in the island’s public markets to supplement the community’s income. Ironically, the provisions and meats sold by Maroons were also a critical supplemental food source for the plantation system, especially during the embargoes of the American revolutionary era, when the enslaved and slave masters endured food scarcity and widespread hunger. The British had begun to realize that “so long as the Maroon holds out the charm of Food and Freedom,” the slaves would be tempted to join the ranks of freedom fighters.3 Early in 1795, two Maroons had been accused of stealing pigs from a nearby plantation. Their humiliating punishment at the hands of white planters led to armed conflict. Differing views of rum were also at war. After defeating British troops in one uprising, Maroons “returned to their town to recruit their spirits [deities] by the aid of rum,” thus resorting to African cultural practices as a means of

empowerment. Meanwhile, the British thought that the Maroons should be resettled near towns and given access to liquor. They plotted that the access to alcohol would “soon decrease their numbers, and destroy [their] hardy constitution.”4