What is "Abeng"?
Abeng is the Akan people of Ghana's word in Twi for a musical instrument or an animal horn. The Akan is the largest of the five major ethinic groups in Ghana, accounting for nearly half the population and nearly thrice the size of the second largest, Mole-Dagbon. The Akan have many subgroups including the Ashanti- once an empire, they are the largest and most powerful and Fante- located on the coast, the first to encounter Europeans. Ghana was once called the Gold Coast.
Enslaved Africans brought to Jamaica were mostly Akan and predominantly Ashanti. The abeng, often a cow's horn, was a communication device of Jamaica's Maroons. The abeng was also used by slaveowners to summon slaves.
What is the etymology of Maroon?
It is an English adoption of the Spanish word 'Cimarronnes' which referred to wild, untamed livestock in the hills and escaped slaves. Most of the slaves brought to the Caribbean were Akan people of whom, some were military captives. The enslaved Akan were referred to as Coromantee (or Coromanti, Coromantese, Coromantins, or Kormantine) after Fort Kormantine in Ghana's Fante town, Kormantse. They were at first well sought after for their reputation as strong and hardworking but news of their proud and rebelliousness nature followed soon thereafter. An act would be proposed to ban their further importation.
Who are the Maroons?
The Maroons were escaped slaves who fled to the mountains from where they launched strategic raids and successfully defended against British offensives, forcing a treaty recognizing their independence long before slavery was abolished. The Maroons relied on their abeng to communicate in their complex, coded language to coordinate across long distances without enemy knowledge. The Maroons also expertly used plants and trees to camouflage in the first Maroon War 1728–1739, long before its first cited use by European rifle units. Maroons communities still thrive in Jamaica today.
Who is the most notorious Maroon?
Well, one of Jamaica's seven (7) national heroes is "Nanny of the Maroons", or colloquially "Nanny the Maroon" (c. 1686 – c. 1755). She was also known as Queen Nanny, Granny Nanny or Nanny, exalted for her guerilla warfare leadership and role as spiritual leader of the Winward maroons in "Nanny Town". She bravely and cunningly freed over 1000 slaves and delivered them to Maroon communities. She is memorialized in our consciousness and on the JA$500 note, sometimes referred to as a "Nanny".
What role did women play?
Queen Nanny, an Ashanti woman, was one of many Maroon warrior women. The Ashanti of the Akan were a proud warrior nation. The Akan people were matrilineal. Women were important to bring back to Maroon communities to increase their numbers.
What is the origin of jerk?
The Maroons dug pits underground to cook meat to prevent the billowing smoke from revealing their positions. The process by which the meat would be slowly smoked, much more that the ingredients, is central to "jerk". It is said that the Tainos or Arawaks taught the Spanish runaway slaves (the Maroons) the process. Our first product launched is authentic Jamaican jerk season that brings this flavorful jerk tradition to your homes.