BY: NATASHA GREGG
THE BRIGANDS WAR –
The Brigands were a name given by the British to runaway slaves, free coloreds, French army deserters, who called themselves Republicans and whites, all who held democratic philosophies in St. Lucia. The war, one of the many rebellions that took place throughout the Caribbean as the French Revolution roared on, began in 1794 and ended in 1798. This war was deemed the last great conflict between colonial powers Britain and France for control of the profitable Eastern Caribbean. The so called Brigands were a group of runaway slaves fearing a return to slavery, banded together with free coloreds and French Republicans, who all opposed the British occupation of St. Lucia. Influenced by the principles of the French Revolution and the knowledge that, if St Lucia were to become a French state, they would all emancipated, this group formed what was called l’Armée Française dans les Bois (The French Army in the Woods) and waged a campaign of resistance across the island. In 1795, the rebels gain control of the reinforcements on Pigeon Island, however their victory was fleeting when the British defeated them at Morne Fortune. The group would later surrender in diplomacy, in which the British authorities agreed not to return them to slavery, but instead created a West Indian regiment inside the British Army with these rebels. Subsequently, in 1798, happy to get rid of these so called citizens, the British stationed this regiment on the coast of West Africa.