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Tue, 01.06.1739

The Accompong Community, a story

*The Accompong community is celebrated on this date in 1739. They are a historical Maroon village located in the hills of St. Elizabeth Parish on the island of Jamaica.

It is located in Cockpit Country, where Jamaican Maroons and indigenous Taíno established a fortified stronghold in the hilly terrain in the 17th century. They defended it and maintained independence from the Spanish and then later against British forces after the colony changed hands. Accompong was likely settled in the 1730s, during the First Maroon War, when rebel slaves and their descendants fought a guerrilla war to establish independence against the British. Hostilities were finally ended by a treaty between the two groups in 1739, signed under British governor Edward Trelawny. It granted Cudjoe's Maroons 1500 acres of land between their strongholds of Cudjoe's Town (Trelawny Town) and Accompong in the Cockpits.

While the treaty granted this land to Trelawny Town, it did not recognize Accompong Town. In 1756, following a land dispute between Maroons from Accompong Town and neighboring planters, the Assembly specifically granted Accompong Town an additional 1,000 acres of land. Accompong is named after the Son of Prince Naquan The First African Maroon leader in Jamaica. Accompong is Run by a chief who is elected by voting. The current Chief is Chief Richard Currie. Since Jamaica gained independence in 1962, it has recognized the political and cultural rights of Maroons. 

Culture

The citizens of Accompong share practices and traditions drawn from their Akan Of the Asante ancestors of 200–300 years ago and combined with Taino. These practices have evolved as the Maroons adapted to local conditions. Accompong Town converted to Christianity during the Second Maroon War, before eventually embracing Presbyterianism. However, by the 1850s, the traditions of Revival and Pentecostalism grew out of the merging of West African religions with Christianity. Descendants of the Maroons and friends celebrate annually on January 6, both the birthday of Cudjoe, leader in 1739, and the treaty that granted their autonomy.

In 2007, attendees at the festival protested increased bauxite mining, to protect the environment of their region. In the early 21st century, the government has acknowledged these rights in terms of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007), including the "right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions." It also acknowledges the "right for self-government in matters relating to local affairs," as well as "ways and means for financing autonomous functions". In 2009 Ferron Williams was elected as Colonel-in-Chief of Accompong. Williams was elected to a second six-year term in 2015. He appointed Timothy E. McPherson Jr. from Nanny Town, now Moore Town, to consolidate relations across the Maroon communities as part of a collective effort to protect the environment and promote climate change awareness. In February 2021 Richard Currie was elected Colonel-in-Chief.

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