Nanny of the Maroons was a queen of West African descent, believed to have been born in present-day Ghana in 1686 and arriving in Jamaica amid the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the early 1700s. A fierce warrior who might have held supernatural powers, Nanny evaded slavery and with her four brothers established the Maroon colony on the windward side of Jamaica. The Maroons helped other slaves escape and fought off numerous attacks from British troops colonizing the island. Under the leadership of Nanny, the Maroons forced the British to surrender and maintained sovereignty over their land. Centuries later, the independent nation of Jamaica declared Nanny a national hero.

“I first heard the story of Nanny of the Maroons as a child in Jamaica, told to me, my siblings, and cousins by our grandmother as we gathered to tell stories...

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