Jamaica Fiwi Roots

The Leeward and Windward Maroon Treaties

(1795-1796)


The treaties of 1739 and 1740 marked a pivotal moment in Jamaican history, ending the First Maroon War and establishing a fragile peace between the Maroons and the British colonial government.

However, the terms largely reflected the power imbalance between the two sides, favoring British interests and granting the Maroons limited autonomy in exchange for their cooperation in maintaining the colonial system of slavery.

This review is structured into three sections: Firstly, it offers insights into the original terms of the Leeward and Windward Treaties, drawn from the archives of the National Library of Jamaica, providing a glimpse into the language used. Following this, simplified versions are presented to enhance readability, covering key provisions such as the cessation of hostilities, land grants, military obligations, and leadership succession. Finally, a comparative review highlights significant differences in the terms offered to the respective Maroon communities.

Upon comparison, it becomes evident that the Leeward Maroons received more favorable conditions, including a larger land grant and fewer restrictions on agricultural activities, while the Windward Treaty imposed stricter regulations and smaller land allocations.

The observed variance in treaty terms may be attributed to the circumstances surrounding their negotiation and signing. It is suggested that the delayed signing of the Windward Treaty, coupled with prolonged conflict and negotiations between British authorities and Maroon leaders such as Quao and Nanny, may have influenced the disparity in the terms offered to the Leeward and Windward Maroons.

Through an exploration of these historical documents and their simplified versions, readers can gain a deeper understanding of the complexities surrounding the treaties that shaped the relationship between the Maroons and British colonial authorities in Jamaica.


The Terms of the Treaties as Shown by the National Library of Jamaica:

Source: National Library of Jamaica


The 15 Articles of the Leeward Treaty

  1. That all hostilities shall cease on both sides forever.
  2. That the said Captain Cudjoe, the rest of his captains, adherents and men, shall be forever hereafter in a perfect State of Freedom and Liberty, excepting those who have been taken by them, or fled to them within the two years last past, if such are willing to return to their said masters and owners, with full pardon and indemnity from their masters and owners for what is past. Provided always, that if they are not willing to return, they shall remain in subjection to captain cudjoe, and in friendship with us, according to the form and tenor of this Treaty.
  3. That they shall enjoy and possess for themselves and posterity forever, all the lands situated and lying between Trelawney Town and the Cockpits, to the amount of fifteen hundred acres, bearing Northwest from the said Trelawney Town.
  4. That they shall have liberty to plant the said lands with coffee, ginger, tobacco and cotton, and breed cattle, hogs, goats, or any other stock, and dispose of the produce or the said commodities to the inhabitants of this island. Provided always, that when they bring the said commodities to market, they shall apply first to the Custos, or any other Magistrate of the respective Parishes where they expose their goods to sale, for licence to vend the same.
  5. That Captain Cudjoe, and all his adherents, and people not in subjection to him, shall all live together within the bounds of Trelawney Town; and that they have liberty to hunt where they think fit, except within three miles of any Settlement, Crawl or Pen. Provided always, that in case the hunters of Captain Cudjoe, and those of other Settlements meet, then the hogs to be equally divided between both parties.
  6. That said Captain Cudjoe and his successors, do use their best endeavours to take, kill, suppress or destroy, either by themselves or jointly, with any other number of men commanded by that service by his Excellency the Governor or Commander in Chief for the Time being, all Rebels wheresoever they be throughout this island, unless they submit to the same terms of accommodation granted to Captain Cudjoe, and his successors.
  7. That in case this island be invaded by any foreign enemy, the said Captain Cudjoe, and his successors herein and after named, or to be appointed, shall then, upon notice given, immediately repair to any place the Governor for the Time being shall appoint, in order to repel the said invaders with his or their utmost force; and to submit to the orders of the Commander in Chief on that Occasion.
  8. That if any White Man shall do any manner of injury to Captain Cudjoe, his successors, or any of his people, they shall apply to any commanding Officer or Magistrate in the neighbourhood for Justice; and in case Captain Cudjoe, or any of his people, shall do any injury to any white person, he shall submit himself or deliver up such offenders to justice.
  9. That if any Negroes shall hereafter run away from their Master or Owners, and fall into Captain Cudjoe's Hands, they shall immediately be sent back to the Chief Magistrate of the next Parish where they are taken; and those that bring them are to be satisfied for their trouble, as Legislature shall appoint.
  10. That all negroes taken since the raising of this Party by Captain Cudjoe's people, shall immediately be returned.
  11. That Captain Cudjoe, and his successors, shall wait on his Excellency, or the Commander in Chief for the Time being, every year, if thereunto required.
  12. That Captain Cudjoe, during his life, and the captains succeeding him, shall have full power to inflict any punishment they think proper for crimes committed by their men among themselves (death only excepted) in which case, if the captain thinks they deserve death, he shall be obliged to bring them before any Justice of the Peace, who shall order proceedings on their Trial equal to those of other free negroes.
  13. That Captain Cudjoe with his people shall cut, clear, and keep open, large, and convenient roads from Trelawney Town to Westmoreland and St. James, and if possible to St. Elizabeth.
  14. That two White Men to be nominated by his Excellency, or the Commander in Chief for the Time being, shall constantly live and reside with Captain Cudjoe and his successors, in order to maintain a friendly correspondence with the inhabitants of this Island.
  15. That Captain Cudjoe shall, during his life, be Commander in Trelawney Town, after his Decease the command to devolve of his Brother Captain Accompong; and in case of his decease, on his next Brother Captain Johnny; and, failing him, Captain Cuffee shall succeed, who is to be succeeded by Captain Quaco,and after all their demises, the Governor or Commander in Chief for the Time being, shall appoint from Time to Time whom he thinks fit for that command.

The 14 Articles of the Windward Treaty

  1. That all hostilities shall cease on both sides for ever, Amen.
  2. That the said Captain Quao, and his people, shall have a certain quantity of land given to them, in order to raise provisions, hogs, fowls, goats, or whatever flock they may think proper, sugar canes excepted, saving for their hogs, and to have liberty to sell the same.
  3. That four white men shall constantly live and reside with them in their town, in order to keep a good correspondence with the inhabitants of this island.
  4. That the said Captain Quao, and his people, shall be ready on all commands the governor, or the commander in chief for the time being, shall send him, to suppress and destroy all other party or parties of rebellious negroes, that now are or from time to time gather together to settle in any part of this island, and shall bring in such other negroes as shall from time to time run away from their respective owners, from the date of these articles.
  5. That the said Captain Quao, and his people, shall also be ready to assist his Excellency the governor for the time being, in case of any invasion, and shall put himself, with all his people that are able to bear arms, under the command of the general or commander of such forces, appointed by his Excellency to defend the island from the said invasion.
  6. That the said Captain Quao, and all his people, shall be in subjection to his Excellency the governor for the time being; and the said Captain Quao shall, once every year or oftener, appear before the governor, if thereunto required.
  7. That in case any of the hunters belonging to the inhabitants of this island, and the hunters belonging to Captain Quao, should meet in order to hinder disputes, Captain Quao will order his people to let the inhabitants hunters have the hog.
  8. That in case Captain Quao, or his people, shall take up run away negroes that shall abscond from their respective owners, and shall be paid for so doing as the legislature shall appoint.
  9. That in case Captain Quao, and his people, should be disturbed by a greater number of rebels than he is able to fight, that then he shall be assisted by as many white people as the governor for the time being shall think proper.
  10. That in case any of the negroes belonging o Captain Quao shall be guilty of any crime or crimes that may deserve death, he shall deliver him up to the next magistrate, in order to be tried as other negroes are; but small crimes he may punish himself.
  11. That in case any white man, or other the inhabitants of this island, shall disturb or annoy any of the people, hogs, flock, or whatever goods may belong to the said Captain Quao, or any of his people, when they come down to the settlements to vend the same, upon due complaint made to a magistrate, he or they shall have justice done them.
  12. That neither Captain Quao, nor any of his people, shall bring any hogs, fowls, or any stock or provisions, to sell to the inhabitants, without a ticket from under the hand of one or more of the white men residing in their town.
  13. That Captain Quao, nor any of his people, shall hunt within three miles of any settlement.
  14. That in case Captain Quao should die, that then the command of his people shall descend to Captain Thomboy; and at his death to descend to Captain Apong; and at his death Captain Blackwall shall succeed; and at his death Clash shall succeed; and, when he dies, the governor or commander in chief for the time being shall appoint whom he thinks proper.


Simplified Leeward Treaty (1739)


  1. Cessation of Hostilities: A permanent end to all hostilities between the Maroons and the British is declared.
  2. Proclamation of Freedom: Captain Cudjoe, his captains, adherents, and men are granted full freedom and liberty, except for those who joined the Maroons within the last two years and wish to return to their former owners, in which case they will be pardoned. Those who remain, are obliged by the same terms agreed to by Cudjoe.
  3. Land Grant: The Maroons are granted forever, 1,500 acres of land northwest of Trelawny Town for their exclusive use and possession, to be inherited by their descendants.
  4. Agricultural and Trade Rights: The Maroons are permitted to cultivate crops like coffee, ginger, tobacco, and cotton, as well as raise livestock, and sell their produce in the island's markets, provided they obtain a license from the local authorities.
  5. Settlement and Hunting Rights: All Maroons must reside within the boundaries of Trelawny Town. They are free to hunt anywhere, except within three miles of any settlement, plantation, or livestock enclosure. If they encounter other hunting parties from settlements, the catch, eg. hog, is to be divided equally.
  6. Military Obligation: Captain Cudjoe and his successors are obligated to assist the Governor in suppressing any rebellions and capturing runaway slaves, working alongside or under the command of the Governor's forces.
  7. Defense Obligation: The Maroons are required to assist in defending the island from foreign invasion, following the orders of the appointed commander.
  8. Reciprocal Justice: Any grievances between Maroons and white settlers will be addressed fairly and impartially through the established legal channels.
  9. Return of Future Runaway Slaves: Heareafter, any runaway slaves captured by the Maroons must be immediately returned and those who return them shall be rewarded as the legislature determines.
  10. Further terms re: Runaway Slaves: The use of the phrase "raising of this Party" is unclear. Likely means all slaves taken by Maroons since a specific time in the conflict, must be returned. The specific time (raising of this Party) is unclear.
  11. Annual Meeting: Captain Cudjoe and his successors must meet with the Governor or Commander-in-Chief annually, if requested.
  12. Internal Governance: Current and successive Maroon leaders have the authority to inflict any punishment, except for the death penalty, on members of their community. Cases involving capital punishment must be brought before a Justice of the Peace.
  13. Infrastructure Development: The Maroons are responsible for clearing and maintaining roads from Trelawny Town to Westmoreland, St. James, and, if possible, St. Elizabeth.
  14. White Cohabitation Mandate: Two white men appointed by the Governor, or his deputee, will reside in Trelawny Town to maintain communication and foster good relations between the Maroons and the rest of the island.
  15. Leadership Succession: A specific line of succession is established for the leadership of Trelawny Town, beginning with Captain Cudjoe's brother, Captain Accompong, and then his other brothers. After their passing, the Governor will appoint subsequent leaders.

Simplified Windward Treaty (1739/40)


  1. Cessation of Hostilities: A permanent end to all hostilities between the Maroons and the British is declared.
  2. Land Grant with Restriction: Captain Quao and his followers are granted land to cultivate provisions, hogs, fowls, goats, or any other stock they deem suitable, with the exception of sugarcane (except for feeding their pigs). They are allowed to sell their produce.
  3. White Cohabitation Mandate: Four white men appointed by the Governor will reside with the Maroons in their town to maintain open communication and foster a positive relationship with the inhabitants of the island.
  4. Military Aid & Slave Capture: The Maroons are obligated to assist the Governor or Commander-in-Chief in suppressing any rebellions by other groups of enslaved people and capturing and the return of any runaway slaves.
  5. Defense Obligation: The Maroons are required to assist in defending the island in case of any invasion, placing themselves and their able-bodied men under the command of the designated military leader.
  6. Obedience to Authority: Captain Quao and his people must submit to the authority of the Governor and appear before him annually, or more often if required.
  7. Hunting Rights: In the event of encounters with hunters from the island's inhabitants, Captain Quao's people must give up catch, eg. hog.
  8. Compensation for Slave Capture: The Maroons will be rewarded according to the legislature's determination for capturing and returning runaway slaves.
  9. Military Protection: If the Maroons are threatened by a rebel force larger than they can handle, they will receive military assistance from the Governor.
  10. Dual Justice System: Serious crimes committed by Maroons will be subject to trial under the same legal procedures as other enslaved individuals, while minor offenses will be handled internally by Captain Quao.
  11. Protection from Harassment: The Maroons and their property will be protected from any disturbance or annoyance by white settlers or other inhabitants when they travel to sell their goods.
  12. Trade Regulation: The Maroons can only bring hogs, fowls, or other provisions to sell to the inhabitants with a ticket authorized by one or more of the white men residing in their village.
  13. Hunting Limits: The Maroons are prohibited from hunting within three miles of any settlement.
  14. Leadership Succession: A specific line of succession is established for the leadership of the Maroons, starting with Captain Thomboy, then Captain Apong, Captain Blackwall, and Clash. After their passing, the Governor or Commander-in-Chief will appoint subsequent leaders.
 



The Differences Between the Treaties:

  1. Land Grant:
    • Leeward Treaty: Granted 1,500 acres of land for cultivation. No restrictions stated for planting sugar cane.
    • Windward Treaty: Quantity is omitted, term states; "shall have a certain quantity of land given to them." Records indicate they received 500 acres, one-third the amount granted to the Leeward Maroons. Also, the terms explicitly forbade planting sugar cane except for fodder to animals.

  2. White Cohabitation Mandate:
    • Leeward Treaty: Two white men appointed by the Governor will reside with the Maroons in their town.
    • Windward Treaty: Four white men appointed by the Governor will reside with the Maroons in their town.

  3. Trade Regulation:
    • Leeward Treaty: A license is required from the local authorities to bring hogs, fowls, or other provisions for sale to the inhabitants.
    • Windward Treaty: A license is required from one or more of the white men residing in their village to bring hogs, fowls, or other provisions for sale to the inhabitants.
  4. Hunting Rights:
    • Leeward Treaty: Instructs that if hunters from Captain Cudjoe's community and settlers meet, the spoils (eg. pigs) are to be shared equally between both parties.
    • Windward Treaty: Dictates that if hunters from Captain Quao's community and settlers meet, the spoils (eg. pigs) are to be given entirely to the settlers.