Tag Archives: Queen Nanny of the Maroons

Black History Month: Queen Nanny of the Maroons

Woman in a head wrap. The text included below the image is in the body of the post.

Queen Nanny of the Maroons is a legendary figure of resistance against slavery. Very little of her life was written down and recorded, but there is general agreement that she was born into the Asante people in Ghana, but then transported as a slace to Jamaica in the early 18th century. She became leader of the Windward Maroons – a band of escaped slaves – and her skills and abilities as a military leader against the British in the First Maroon War were undeniable. She specialised in guerilla warfare, and her influence was so strong that people assumed she had supernatural powers.

Nanny was the leader of Nanny Town, a Maroon stronghold kep secret from the British for years. When it was exposed, it withstood multiple attacks before falling.

Nanny was also well known for passing on Asante legends and customs to her people. Various records suggest that she was in her late 60s when she was doing all of this.

There is no contemporary portait of Queen Nanny of the Maroons: the image above is taken from the Jamaican $500 note.

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Black History Month – Shirley Thompson

Shirley Thompson

Shirley Thompson is a composer, artistic director, conductor, academic, violinist and film maker.

She was the first woman to compose and musically direct for a major drama series at the BBC. Since then, she became the first woman in Europe to have composed and conducted a symphony in the past 40 years. The piece is an epic story of London’s 1000 year history, and included the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, two choirs, solo singers, a rapper and dhol drummers.

Thomson draws influences from hop hop, reggae, jazz and soul, and her pieces include Queen Nanny of the Maroons, which was the first opera to give a heroic role to a woman’s voice. Queen Nanny was a rebel slave leader in 18th Century Jamaica.