|a depiction of Nanny|
Nanny of the Maroons; Jamaica's First Female National Hero
Nanny of the Maroons is said to be a mythical as well as a legendary figure. First and only female National Hero of Jamaica, Nanny lived between 1686 - 1733. She was the leader of the Maroons in the eighteen century and was referred to as, the rebels old 'obeah' woman. According to historians, It is not known if she was born enslaved or free. What is certain is that rebellion against slavery existed in Jamaica from the time that the first enslaved Africans were imported by the Spanish.
Well organised and defended, the maroon villages were typically located high up in the mountains with only narrow paths leading to them. Consequently, British soldiers could be clearly seen as they approached. The Maroons were said to be defiant and skilled fighters that are considered hard to defeat.
Nanny is often associated with other maroon leaders of the 18th century who retained African names, including Cudjoe, Accompong, Cuffee and Quaco. Whether Nanny was, in fact, related to any of them remains open to question.
What is clear is that African culture and language also contribute greatly in the leadership of Jamaican maroon communities. Known as a religious as well as a political leader, Nanny was said to have magical powers that allowed her to repel the bullets of the British and protect other maroons.