Queen Nanny or Nanny, a Jamaica National Hero, was an 18th-century leader of the Jamaican Maroons. Much of what is known about her comes from oral history, as little textual evidence exists. She was born into the Asante people in what is today Ghana, and escaped from slavery after being transported to Jamaica.

Born: 1686, Ghana

Died: 1733, Jamaica

Historical documents refer to her as the “rebels’ old ‘obeah’ woman.” Following some armed confrontations, colonial officials reached a settlement for peace. They legally granted “Nanny and the people now residing with her and their heirs … a certain parcel of Land containing five hundred acres in the parish of Portland …”. Nanny Town was founded on this land but was destroyed during the First Maroon War in 1734. Another Maroon town was founded by survivors and later known as Moore Town.

Nanny is celebrated in Jamaica and abroad:

The government of Jamaica declared Queen Nanny a National Hero in 1976. Her portrait graces the $500 Jamaican dollar bill, which is colloquially referred to as a “Nanny”.

Nanny’s Monument is located in Moore Town, Portland, Jamaica.

Nannyville Gardens, a residential community located in Kingston, Jamaica, was founded in 1977 and named after her.

The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale University in the United States uses Nanny’s portrait in its logo. The Center sponsors research and conferences on slavery in the Americas.

Burning Spear, the Jamaican reggae singer, has a song titled “Queen of the Mountain,” which is inspired by Queen Nanny…

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