Barbados (Grand Kadooment)
Nanny Grigg was a house negro at the Simmons plantation in Barbados. She was a literate woman and very knowledgeable about the Haitian revolution. She would read reports of the Haitian revolution that had occurred and talk about it to the other slaves. She would soon plan a rebellion to take place on Easter April 1816. She said the negroes were to be free on Easter Monday, and the only way to get it, was to fight for it, otherwise they would not get it; and the way they were to do it was the way they did it in St. Domingue (which is Haiti today).On several estates and plantations senior enslaved men and women helped plan and organize the rebellion. Slave rebellions tended to be less threatening in Barbados than on other Caribbean islands. Barbados had a well-armed police force and there was nowhere to hide. Unlike Jamaica, which still had forests, most of the land in Barbados had been cultivated to produce as much sugar as possible. On April 12, 1816, the final preparations were made for the rebellion. At this meeting, it was decided that Washington Franklyn was intended to become the Governor of the island. On the morning of Sunday April 14, 1816 the rebellion would be lead by a house negro named Bussa. Some house negroes considered themselves above the field negroes and some even exposed plans of slave rebellions to their ‘masters’ in order to gain favour. Bussa despite his ‘privileged’ position, helped to plan for months in advance. The white plantation owners were totally caught off guard. The enslaved Blacks fought valiantly against the troops of the First West India regiment and it was reported the rebellion spread from plantation to plantation until about half of the island was caught up in the insurrection. 20,000 slaves from over 70 plantations rebelled. It took four days for the authorities to regain control. Bussa was killed in battle but his troops continued the fight until they were finally defeated by superior firepower. In June 1816, a White Barbadian described in a letter the feeling among the slave population after the rebellion: “The disposition of the enslaved persons in general is very bad. They are sullen (Bad-tempered) and sulky (refusing to be cooperative or cheerful) and seem to cherish feelings of deep revenge. We hold the West Indies by a very precarious tenure – that of military strength only. I would not give a year’s purchase for any island we now have.” Slavery was abolished in Barbados in 1834. The Bussa Emancipation Statue stands in Haggatt Hall, in the parish of St. Michael. Bussa was named as 1 of the 10 National Heroes of Barbados.
Funny because it’s true.