This chapter sets the context for the Maroon relocations to Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone. It describes the reconfiguration of the British Empire in the aftermath of the American Revolution, and the importance the British placed on colonizing under-populated zones with loyal subjects. It explores the importance of laborers and settlers—voluntary and involuntary, white and black—for the security of faraway settlements. Second, it examines how the growing abolition movement in England affected the West Indies and shaped utopian visions for Sierra Leone. Last, it explores how the Maroons survived slavery, and benefited from abolitionism and an expanding British Empire. Three successive ex-slave migrations – of the London poor in 1787, of the Nova Scotian loyalists in 1792, and of the Jamaican Maroons in 1800 –established British claims in West Africa. This work describes the circuitous route taken by the last group of free blacks who entered West Africa before the end of the slave trade in 1807.
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