| The Maroons in Jamaica |
To an extent autonomous and separate from Jamaican culture, those in Accompong have preserved their land since 1739. The isolation was used to their advantage by their ancestors and has today resulted in their communities being amongst the most inaccessible on the island.
Four official Maroon towns still in existence in Jamaica are Accompong Town, Moore Town, Charles Town and Scott's Hall. They hold lands allotted to them in the 1739-1740 treaties with the British. These maroons still maintain their traditional celebrations and practices, some of which have West African origin. For example, the council of a Maroon settlement is called an Asofo, from the Twi Akan word asafo (assembly, church, society).
Native Jamaicans and island tourists are allowed to attend many of these events. Others considered sacred are held in secret and shrouded in mystery. Singing, dancing, drum playing and preparation of traditional foods form a central part of most gatherings.
In their largest town, Accompong, in the parish of St. Elizabeth, the Leeward Maroons have a vibrant community of about 600. Tours of the village are offered to foreigners. They hold a large festival annually on 6th January to commemorate the signing of the peace treaty with the British after the First Maroon War.
Moore Town, located between the Blue Mountains and John Crow Mountains in Portland Parish, was re-listed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008 for its Maroon heritage, particularly music.