Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Julia Gaffield

Second Advisor

Harcourt Fuller

Third Advisor

Jacob Selwood


European imperialism in the Americas was predicated on violent regimes of indigenous genocide, transatlantic enslavement, and environmental exploitation. Conquest of pre-contact indigenous societies in the New World intended to secure possession of valuable reserves of natural resources, like the gold and silver mines of colonial Mexico and Peru. European empires commissioned maps of these territories to generate and shape knowledge. Maps are the product of specific social and political frameworks and are informed by the priorities and preoccupations of empires. What they represent or omit reveals much about the colonial regimes that were imposed on the landscapes of the Americas. Maps present an image of imperial dominion that was totalizing even in places beyond the bounds of the colony. Blank spaces featured on colonial maps were not merely unconquered or unincorporated space, but rather spaces where the colony – and thereby the empire – failed to project or maintain authority. This dissertation demonstrates that these landscapes were never blank, they were instead home to indigeneity and resistance.

In the mountainous interior and on the northside of Jamaica, the indigenous persisted and resisted imperialism long after European conquest. Intricate networks of communication, subsistence, and collaboration connected these spaces and formed geographies of resistance that were the foundations of Jamaican Marronage. Maroon ecological practices and social traditions embedded in these geographies evolved over time in response to both an influx of African runaways and colonial aggression. In the early eighteenth century, colonial settlement invaded the blank spaces featured on maps of Jamaica. By this time, the Maroons had occupied and cultivated these lands for well over half a century in defiance of the colonial government and its forces. Their existence and persistence reveal how colonial maps inadvertently outlined geographies of resistance where indigeneity and Marronage found refuge, where Maroon identities coalesced, and where Maroons waged their war against the onslaught of European imperialism.


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