Most people know something about the slave trade, but not many know about the Cimaroons – the slaves who refused to accept slavery.
For three centuries black people were taken from their African homelands, transported to the Americas and sold to work in the mines and plantations there as slaves.
But some of them escaped. They made their camps in the dense forests of the New World and fought long guerrilla wars against their former masters.
In Jamaica they escaped and helped others to escape the English sugar plantations. In Brazil one of their hideouts rapidly grew into a republic that had to be recognised because it could not be put down. In Panama Francis Drake sought their aid in raiding Spanish treasure fleets.
Wherever the Cimaroons shook off their chains, they fought stubbornly for their freedom. Their story does not appear in many history books, and yet it is as true as it is exciting.
Robert Leeson is the author of Maroon Boy, which is also based on the history of the Cimaroons