For the most part, everyone knows the story of Columbus “discovering” America. But, what people do not know is the first male African-American maroon appeared within a decade of Columbus’ landfall on the original slave ship to make it to the Americas. One of the last maroons to flee from servitude survived and decided to reside in Cuba just 15 years back. The English word “maroon” (The creators chose to spell “maroon” in lower case when it is utilized to allude to people escaped bondage. It is only capitalized when utilized conventionally to refer to contemporary people groups or ethnic groups.) comes from Spanish cimarrón- – itself dependent on an Arawakan (Taino) Indian root. Cimarrón initially pertained to domestic cattle that traveled to the slopes in Hispaniola, and not long after it was applied to American Indian slaves who fled away from the Spaniards too. Ultimately, by the end of the 1530s, the word adopted solid implications of being “fierce,” “wild” and “unbroken,” and was utilized basically to allude to African-American runaways.
For over four centuries, the society shaped by runaway slaves dotted the border of plantation America, from Brazil towards the southeastern United States, from Peru to the American Southwest. Referred to differently as palenques, quilombos, mocambos, cumbes, mambises or ladeiras, these new social orders went from small groups that endured less than a year to powerful states incorporating thousands of individuals that survived for ages and even centuries. Currently, their offspring still shape semi-autonomous enclaves in a few sections of the hemisphere – for instance, in Suriname, French Guiana, Jamaica, Colombia and Belize- -fiercely proud for their maroon roots and, sometimes, dedicated to unprecedented cultural traditions that were produced amid the earliest days of African-American history.