Cimarron People: Enslaved Africans Who Escaped from Spanish Masters

1 Posted by - November 15, 2018 - LATEST POSTS, SLAVERY

Cimarron people are a group from Panama. They were enslaved Africans who had escaped from their Spanish masters and lived together as outlaws. During the 1500, the group allied with Sir Francis Drake of England to defeat the Spanish conquest. Drake describe the Cimarrons as a group of black people with about eighty years past who ranaway from their masters because of cruelty and had since grown as a nation, under two kings of their own. One was King was in the west, and the other in the east.

Runaway slaves were prevalent in Brazil as well, where they were known as palenques, cumbes and quilombos. These runaway slaves fled from the mines and Spanish towns and built their own nearly independent towns. Such towns hosted a blend of cultures and a diversity of traditions from African, Euro-American and Indigenous roots. When the African group were brought to Panama, they intermarried with Indians and soon learned their way around the land, this would give them the upper hand when it came to trying to outsmart their Spanish masters. Many lived in large settlements of in hideouts concealed in the inhospitable mountains. They frequently organized raids on the Spanish settlements and had threatened to burn down Nombre de Dios. They often stole treasure from the Spanish and concealed it in the river. When the Spanish once prepared to send an expedition against them, they constructed gallows on the main road and threatened to hang and decapitate the Spanish.


The Spanish worried that the Africans would join forces with the Indians and stage a mass rebellion. In order to stop this from happening, strict laws of punishment called Ordenazas para los negros were created. If a slave ran away from his master to join the Cimarron he would be hanged if recaptured. Indians who helped the slaves would be punished severely as well. The Cimarrones valued iron to the extent that the Spanish and English valued gold. They used iron to build the heads of their arrows which they used for hunting and for protection against the Spanish. In 1577, the Spanish sent a well-armed body of volunteers from Panama to invade the Cimarron settlements and burn all of their crops and villages. By 1579, when this had been accomplished, the Cimarrons agreed to settle in a large pueblo where they enjoyed some measure of self-determination under Spanish rule.






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