I traced my ancestry as far back as I could go in Jamaica using information given to me by my family before I did a ancestry DNA test. My ancestors were described as Igbo around 1830 on census records, but further back around 1809 they were described as Maroons. I did not know what a Maroon was. I carried on searching and did some research. I discovered that my 6th great grandmother and her sons became Maroons and my 6x great grandmother was a Maroon for nearly 20 years until she was caught and made into a slave again when she was over 50. They lived in Trelawny and St James in Jamaica. I also do not think it is a coincidence that they named the area St James and those particular slaves came mainly from James Town in Ghana. I recall tracing the ancestry back and seeing an ancestor described as being runaway and branded with the letter J but at the time I could not connect the J as it did not match the slave masters name. I believe now that slaves who were not branded with the slave masters name were branded with initials which related to where they were from or what ship they were from.
My great grandmother x6 called her child Quamin a African Ga Akan and Ashanti day name describing the day he was born. The fact that there were records of my ancestors with African names helped me identify where they were from. This told me they had ties to Ghana and the Ghana naming ceremony and were described by the slave master as Igbo which suggested a mix of Ghana and Nigeria for their ancestry. I decided to explore this further.
Documentation I found states one of my first ancestors arrived in Jamaica about 1760 however I now think this is incorrect. I have seen other people with the surname and naming patterns that are similar to my relatives in the 19th century listed pre 1760. The documents available often don’t contain enough information for me to push back further than this. A possibility since my relative was a Maroon is that she lied about how long she was free and could have been born in Jamaica and not Africa. If this were the case she would have to lie as punishment would have been worse if she was from a lineage of Maroons. Information was purposefully suppressed the further back you go as the whole point was to create a slave that made money and strip them of their identity. It is said that most slaves have 2-3 names. The African name first slave name and later a new name if they were baptised or a new name once made free. Hence there are a lot of Freeman’s this was a popular name after slavery that ex slaves chose for themselves.
Nanny town in jamaica is named after nanny of the maroons (1686-1755). Nanny is one of Jamaica’s national hero’s. Nanny was from the ashanti tribe. The first nanny town was destroyed during the first maroon war in 1734. Maroons were african slaves who fled their captors and lived in the mountains.
Slaves from africa are described as coromantee Igbo Ashanti Fulani and Akan which relates to their tribes in africa. The slaves revolted against their enslavement and banded together living in the mountains. Some maroons were later deported to Sierra Leone.
I read this quote which puts it into context “During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Akan, Ga, and Adangbe from the northwestern coastal region known as the Gold Coast (around modern Ghana) dominated the slave trade to the island.” Until around 1776. In my research and DNA testing I discovered a family connection to the GA and Adangbe.
See the link below for information on the tribes from Ghana as these often correlate with the slaves found in the US and Carribean islands. The Ghanian Embassy provide information on their heritage lineage and current tribes. Here is an extract from their site
Accra is the capital and largest city of Ghana, southeastern Ghana, on the Gulf of Guinea. Accra is an important commercial, manufacturing, and communications center. It is the site of an international airport and a focus of the country’s railroad system, including a link to nearby Tema, which since 1962 has served as the city’s deepwater port. Industries include vehicle and appliance assembly, petroleum refining, and the manufacture of foodstuffs, textiles, metal and wood products, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. A sprawling city, Accra presents a varied appearance, with buildings of modern, colonial, and traditional African architecture. Of note here are the 17th-century Christiansborg Castle, now the residence of the chief of state, and the National Museum (1957). Several research and technical institutes are located in Accra, and the University of Ghana (1948) is in the nearby town of Legon. The site of what is now Accra was occupied by villages of the Ga, the local people, when the Portuguese first visited here in the late 15th century. During the 17th century the Portuguese were forced to withdraw by the Dutch, who, along with the Danes and the English, founded rival trading posts, which became the settlements of Ussher Town, Christiansborg, and James Town, respectively.
In the 19th century Britain purchased Dutch and Danish rights in the area, and in 1876 Christiansborg was made the capital of the Gold Coast Colony. The three separate towns grew and gradually coalesced to form the city of Accra. Much of the modern city’s layout was planned in the 1920s, and since then growth has been rapid. Accra remained the capital city, when in 1957 the Gold Coast Colony became the independent state of Ghana. Population (1990 estimate) 953,500.
Traditional religions accounts for two-fifths of the population. The Christian population also accounts for two-fifths of the total population and includes Roman Catholics, Baptist, Protestants, etc. The Muslim population (12 percent of the total) is located chiefly in the northern part of the country
http://www.ghanaembassy.org see their population page.