Almost Home Maroons between Slavery and Freedom in Jamaica, Nova Scotia, and Sierra Leone Ruma Chopra

Publication date:
22 May 2018
Yale University Press
336 pages: 210 x 140 x 29mm
8 b-w illus.
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The unique story of a small community of escaped slaves who revolted against the British government yet still managed to maneuver and survive against all odds

After being exiled from their native Jamaica in 1795, the Trelawney Town Maroons endured in Nova Scotia and then in Sierra Leone. In this gripping narrative, Ruma Chopra demonstrates how the unlikely survival of this community of escaped slaves reveals the contradictions of slavery and the complexities of the British antislavery era.

While some Europeans sought to enlist the Maroons’ help in securing the institution of slavery and others viewed them as junior partners in the global fight to abolish it, the Maroons deftly negotiated their position to avoid subjugation and take advantage of their limited opportunities. Drawing on a vast array of primary source material, Chopra traces their journey and eventual transformation into refugees, empire builders—and sometimes even slave catchers and slave owners. Chopra’s compelling tale, encompassing three distinct regions of the British Atlantic, will be read by scholars across a range of fields.

Ruma Chopra is professor of history at San José State University and the author of Unnatural Rebellion: Loyalists in New York City During the Revolution and Choosing Sides: Loyalists in Revolutionary America. She lives in Oakland, CA.

“A well-documented account of the remarkable transatlantic journey of the Trelawneys, making it particularly useful for readers interested in viewing the Maroons in relation to the geopolitics of empire and the forces that buffeted them in one direction or another following the Second Maroon War”—Kenneth Bilby, New West Indian Guide

 “This well-paced narrative traces the movement of the Maroons through three spaces of British imperial power, identifying the common strands of colonial defense, humanitarian philanthropy, and paternalistic miscalculation that drove policy toward the Maroon community” —Bronwen Everill, American Historical Review

"Almost Home is impressively researched”—Jerrey A. Fortin, The Journal of American History

Winner of the Outstanding Academic Title for 2018 award sponsored by Choice

“Drawing on an impressive array of sources, Chopra succeeds admirably in showing how the confrontation between the forces of slavery and anti-slavery significantly shaped the gripping history of the Trelawney Maroons.”—Barry Gaspar, Duke University

“In tracing the Maroons’ itinerant encounter with slave owners, freedmen, empire builders, and African peoples, Chopra adds new complexity to the story of black freedom in the Revolutionary Era.” —Miranda Spieler, The American University of Paris