Maroon communities began to spawn in 1700’s.
Beginning in the 1660s the
|Creole was the predominate language in these maroon communities, but the dialects of this language varied between villages due to amount of influence from English, Spanish, Portuguese and African languages. The Creole languages was not simply an assortment of different words, instead it formed an entirely new language using fragments from others. The grammar and sentence structures were completely original to each individual maroon community. This language was developed through generations of integration where children, born into and growing up in these communities, took a little from each language, so that what was created was a new language complete with grammar and sentence structure. Each community had its own unique dialect of Creole.||
This picture is an example of a written Danish Indian Creole language, written in 1887. It is nearly impossible to read without knowing the dialect and without being a native speaker.
communities were established where there were substantial slave communities.
The people who spoke different Creole languages were
not only based in maroon communities. In places, such as
This painting is of a maroon village in Jamaica, notice the mountain range which protected their communities from Europeans, and the people in the foreground to give an idea of its’ scale.
There were many
communities, however not maroon, who lived in the mainland of North America,
not just in the populated islands of
parents] both come from
This is a spiritual written in Gullah. As you can see there are many words that you can understand, or at least figure out phonetically. They obviously adopted a lot of English into their vocabulary; however some of the original dialects are still prevalent in the text. Letters are replaced phonetically, b’s replace v’s and d’s replace the “th” sound, ex. da is the. To hear recordings of Gullah gospel music go to Gospel go and search their language list for English: Gulla.
Slowly words from African dialects began to appear in
the English language , as well as Portuguese and
Spanish. For instance, the words banana,
and yams were both taken directly
from West African vocabulary. Africans too, learned one or two additional languages, usually depending on their masters. As
early as the 1740’s there have been accounts of an African slave speaking
English, French, Spanish and German, along with his own native dialect. In fact,
it was easier for mainland slaves to learn languages in the earlier part of the
eighteenth century as compared to island based slaves because of the relatively
small slave-master ratios during the pre-plantation era of
After the import of new slaves began to slow down, around the 1740’s, Gullah became children’s primary language, then slowly developed a more complex and complete structure and vocabulary. As the American Civil War cam to a close, and the next century approached Gullah began to decline. The vocabulary lost its original meaning, and the remaining fragments were incorporated into Black English.
The religions of the
Maroon communities varied according to their location and the different
mixtures of cultures in the community. The religions in these communities were predominantly
polytheistic, although there were the several who were Christian (mostly the
European-based cities like
Jaguar Serpent Vulture
For more information about each god’s specific duties visit Folklife
The spirits of ancestors also played a
major role in religious faith and practices. The maroons in the
This is a picture of the Ndjuka Maroon life
cycle, the native maroons who lived in, and
They believed that the most important spirit is the Akaa which is the simplification of a guardian angel, it was a spirit that followed you everywhere, but once you fell terminally ill the spirit might leave you this was exemplified by the inability for the person to sleep which they took as a sign that the end was near.
The maroon’s had a strictly formulated idea of the life, and afterlife cycles. The innermost circle (green) represents the spirit, or aaka which guards over your body while you are alive. The middle circle (light green) is the spirit of the ancestors who are in the process of reincarnation. Finally the outermost circle (blue) are the people who are in the life cycle. The line across the middle of the circle divides the invisible world (on the bottom) from the living world. They believed in destiny, and they shared the belief that all things in nature, including plants, have spirits.