THE SAINT JOHN INSURRECTION OF 1733

IT’S BLACK HISTORY MONTH

BY Natasha Gregg

THE SAINT JOHN INSURRECTION OF 1733

– The St. John Insurrection of 1733 was one of the earliest slave rebellions in the Caribbean. At the time St. John (together with St. Thomas & St. Croix) was part of the Danish West Indies, before they were known as the US Virgin Islands. In November 1733, beleaguered by widespread disease, droughts and severe slave laws, a group of slaves (from the Akan people in what is today Ghana), began plotting to revolt against their masters. The rebellion began with the murder of Danish soldiers inside a plantation fort named Coral Bay, by this group of slaves using smuggled weapons. More slaves would soon come together on the colony’s other plantations, killing some colonists and eventually seizing command of most of the island. The slaves’ freedom was brief. After only six months, French troops arrived and violently quelled the rebellion in May 1734. However, it was well over a century later that slavery was abolished in the Danish West Indies.

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