The memory and language of colonial marronage shape the zeitgeist and the wider history of Haiti as nation. This essay takes as its point of departure the recent use of small boats by armed gangs in Haiti to revisit the shipboard dimensions of marronage and the country’s history of “picaroon” warfare. Attempting to consider the condition of instability and ungovernability and the current crises of Haiti in light of Maroon histories poses the question of whether the concept of “social banditry” has any value when generalized banditry comes to permeate an entire country amid the widespread breakdown of society itself.
Haitian Mawonaj, the “Picaroons,” and Re-centering the Maritime Dimensions of Maroon History
Johnhenry Gonzalez is university assistant professor of Caribbean history in the Cambridge Faculty of History. He is author of Maroon Nation (2019), which focuses on the Haitian Revolution and the early decades of Haitian independence, and his current book project explores the history of the twentieth-century Haitian art business. He teaches on the Caribbean and the African diaspora.
Johnhenry Gonzalez; Haitian Mawonaj, the “Picaroons,” and Re-centering the Maritime Dimensions of Maroon History. Small Axe 1 July 2023; 27 (2 (71)): 128–135. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-10795307
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