Between May and June 1760, Jamaica was the stage for Tacky’s War. It was ignited by Fante royalty, King Takyi—or Tacky—in a bid to take the British colony. One of the pivotal rebellions in the Caribbean during that century, it predated the Haitian Revolution by over 30 years.
He had roots in Ghana as the leader of his village where he participated in the slave trade. Tacky was eventually captured by rival forces and sold into slavery where he arrived in Jamaica.
With several of his closest confidants, Tacky plotted the rebellion in a cave. Their targets were the Trinity and Frontier plantations, which they hit at the start of the rebellion. Killing the masters and picking up more people for their forces, they would move on to Fort Haldane. This fort was strategic as it held the weaponry meant to defend Port Maria. Tacky’s group would make off with gunpowder, guns, and ammo leaving a dead shopkeeper.
Tacky’s forces moved their attention towards two other plantations and their numbers swelled. While resting and celebrating, a slave who joined their force from a previous plantation gave away their location. The rebels prepared for a fight with a ceremony to protect them and their Obeahmen or religious leaders and Tacky’s advisors. This spiked the rebels’ morale but it would come crashing down shortly.
Queen Cubah’s War
Even though Tacky’s War was short-lived, several smaller rebellions popped up throughout the colony. One sub-war was that by “The Queen of Kingston” Cubah. Known among the Ashanti as Akua, she was the leader of a completely different rebel group that possibly worked in tandem with Tacky’s forces.
With the militia who were outnumbered but bolstered by the Maroons who signed a treaty with Britain following the First Maroon War. An obeahman was killed and hang, decimating the rebels’ will to fight. This shifted the numbers in the militia-Maroons favor with Tacky having under 30 men.
The Maroons had an extremely skilled sharpshooter by the name of Davy who led a group in hunting Tacky’s rebels through the woods. He would catch up shoot Tacky, killing him. After removing the rebel leader’s head, he returned with it as proof.
As was customary with defeated and killed rebel leaders, Tacky’s head was put on a pole in Spanish Town, St. Catherine Parish. As for Queen Cubah, she was captured sometime after Tacky’s death and banished from the colony. She managed to bribe her way into being dropped off in western Jamaica where she attempted to rally more forces.
It took several months for the British militia to establish order with the other rebellions. Eventually, Britain succeeded and Cubah is captured again, meeting the same death as Tacky.
In his death, Tacky was remembered with a monument in Port Maria, a high school, and Tacky Falls.