‘Trelawny Town, the chief residence of the Maroons’

This etching was made by an unknown artist in around 1800. The Maroons were communities of escaped slaves who lived in the mountain areas of Jamaica. This etching was published in the third edition of Bryan Edwards’s The History, Civil and Commercial, of the British Colonies in the West Indies (1801) and shows the Maroon community of Trelawney Town on the western side of Jamaica. British plantation owners saw the Maroons as a threat to the island because they were beyond British control.

The first Maroon war began in 1720, and ended in 1739, when the British agreed a treaty with their leader Cudjoe which secured the Maroons 1500 acres of land. In return the Maroons were asked to put down revolts and return escaped slaves. In 1795, a second Maroon war broke out and the Maroons surrendered on the promise of new lands and exemption from being executed or transported. However, one year later 568 Maroons were deported from Trelawney to Nova Scotia in Canada, and then three years later moved to Sierra Leone. None of them ever returned to Jamaica.

© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

Accession reference: National Maritime Museum, ZBA2523