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Oprøret på St. Jan i 1733 set fra et nutidigt US Virgin Islands’ perspektiv (1983)

En af de bøger, der bruges i US Virgin Islands’ grundskoler (omkring 4. klasse) er bogen Clear de Road. Bogen er henvendt til unge virgin islanders og har fokus på deres vestafrikanske forfædres kamp for frihed. Kildeteksten er et uddrag fra bogen, fra kapitlet om slaveopstanden på St. Jan 1733.

Uddrag fra Roger Hill: Clear de Road. A Virgin Islands History textbook. US Virgin Islands Department of Conservation and Cultural Affairs, Bureau of Libraries, Museums and Archeological Services, 1983, side 89-96.

  

The Aminas Organize

Faced with these terrible conditions, West Africans throughout the Danish West Indies became more and more angry with their way of life. This was especiallytrue on the island of St. John. Many of the slaves on St. John had come from the Amina kingdom of West Africa. These Africans were proud and brave. Many Aminas were intelligent and good organizers. The Amina kingdom was highly civilized. In West Africa, the Aminas had been accustomed to freedom.

Driven by the extreme hardships of 1733, the West African slaves on St. John finally decided to take matters into their own hands. They organized a rebellion led by the Aminas.

 

The Revolt Begins

In November of 1733, the St. John Slave Revolt started. The leaders were two great organizers, Kanta and Claes.When they entered the Fort, they killed all the soldiers except for one who hid under a bed and later escaped to St. Thomas.The African slaves at the Fort then signaled to the others on each plantation to attack the planters. The slaves were waiting on the plantations.When they heard the signals, they attacked. Many of the planters and their families lost their lives […]

 

Six Months of Freedom

The St. John slaves were determined to obtain their freedom, and, for a time, they succeeded. For six months, the West Africans held control of most of the island of St. John. They were well organized and strong.

The Danish militia could not defeat the Africans. After several months of struggle, the Danes were forced to ask for help from the French in Martinique. The French sent two hundred soldiers to help the Danes on St. John. Some free blacks from St. Thomas were also used to help the Danes regain control. The combined forces of the Danes, French and free blacks finally defeated the West Africans on St. John. By the end of May 1734 the six months of freedom was over.

Before the revolt ended, many brave members of the Amina tribe committed suicide rather than be slaves again. Some shot themselves, others, according to legend, jumped off the cliffs onto the rocks below at Mary's Point and at Amina Hill, nearRam's Head. Some of the people that were brought from Africa believed that after they died, they would be born again in the African homelands.

This revolt was a very important step toward the eventual freedom of the West African slaves in the Danish West Indies. They realized that a successful rebellion was possible. They had planted a seed along the road to freedom.

 

Tekst 28 | Oversigten over kildetekster | Tekst 30

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