Defying the Imperial Enterprise: Indigenous Freedom Seekers and African Rebels in Hispaniola and Jamaica


Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships




This book interrogates historically specific variants that prompted indigenous and Black rebels to contest European domination during the first decades of the sixteenth century in the Spanish colonies of Hispaniola and Jamaica. Freedom fighters comprised of indigenous Tainos, continental Africans, and Iberian Blacks forged alternative social, political, economic, and cultural paradigms to disrupt the master-slave dialectic and thus debilitate the imperial enterprise. The interrogation of these emancipatory efforts intertwines the examination of maroonage, armed warfare, and everyday resistance as well as how emerging ethno-racial identity constructs informed this anticolonial struggle. Drawing on archival documents including colonial manuscripts, legal documents, official correspondence, plantation records and periodicals, this project demonstrates the transgenerational quality of the emancipatory principles generated by these sixteenth-century rebels, as their strategies continue to inform contemporary transatlantic struggles and galvanize present-day resistance movements.