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were well armed, either through their own initiative or by being givenweapons by the recruiting governments. Two of several examples are worthnoting. The first was during the so-called War of Jenkins’ Ear,1739–48,between Britain and Spain (which phased into the War of the AustrianSuccession).The Spanish government gathered many American runawaysinto an armed garrison near St Augustine, called Gracia Real de Santa Teresade Mose, which became a free settlement, with its own priest assigned by thegovernment. Some 200of the 965troops that comprised the garrison wereBlacks, who received the same pay and rations as the White soldiers. Amongthe troops in the Spanish counter-assault on Georgia in 1742was a regimentof Blacks whose commanders were clothed in lace, bore the same rank as theWhite officers and enjoyed all the privileges attached to their status. The205Physical Organization of Maroon Communities
second instance was in 1817, when some six hundred Seminole Maroons weresaid to be under strict discipline, drilling and parading under their own offi-cers and initiating new recruits who came to them daily (Mulroy 1993,9–10,15). Mulroy (ibid.,10) writes that “[t]he Spaniards allowed Africans to liveapart, own arms and property, travel at will, choose their own leaders, organ-ize into military companies under Black officers, and generally control theirown destinies”.WeaponryMaroon weapons were usually rather rudimentary by European standards.Although John Stedman portrayed the Suriname Maroon in the late eigh-teenth century as a man holding a rifle aloft, this was not typical of theweaponry that most Maroons in that country or elsewhere possessed. Themachete, which they had used to cut cane and with which many of them fled,was their most common weapon of defence, offence and survival. With itthey not only made war, but cut through the bushes on their way to safehavens and cleared vegetation to make way for cultivable land. It was thusthe most appropriate symbol of their freedom. The Maroons under Felipe ofPanama in the mid-sixteenth century are said to have employed innovativemethods to make weapons. They made spears and bows of the hardest woodsthat they could find, and arrows of cane stalks. Their blacksmiths fashionedknives and arrow and spear tips from the collars and chains with which theyhad fled. They utilized the intestines of monkeys to make cords for theirbows (La Guardia 1977,78). Sometimes they dipped arrowheads in poison tomake them more lethal (Landers 2000a,40).Firearms were, of course, the preferred weapons of offence and defence,27but both the contemporary and modern view is that most Maroon commu-nities were desperately short of them, and probably only their leaders pos-sessed them. For instance, in 1603the insurgents who had formerly workedin the pearl fisheries of Riohacha in Colombia were armed with lances,shields, bows, arrows, knives, machetes, darts and swords (Navarrete 2003,59). In 1826the Urubu Maroons of Brazil put up a fierce fight against their