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Am J Hum Biol. 2015 May-Jun;27(3):432-7. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.22656. Epub 2014 Nov 13.

Origins of marronage: Mitochondrial lineages of Jamaica's Accompong Town Maroons.

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Department of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, 46556; Department of Pre-Professional Studies, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, 46556.



The Accompong Town Maroons are descendants of enslaved Africans who successfully waged war against British colonial rule and established an independent community in western Jamaica. There are discrepancies regarding Accompong Town Maroon ancestry with some scholars noting ancestry from both Africans and Taínos, Jamaica's indigenous population, while other scholars only acknowledge African ancestry. We considered the mitochondrial lineages of contemporary Accompong Town Maroons to address the question of ancestral origins.


We sequenced a section of the mitochondrial DNA control region (np 16,024-16,569) and genotyped a panel of hierarchically selected haplogroup diagnostic SNPs for 50 individuals with genealogical ties to Accompong Town. Mitochondrial haplotypes were also compared with publically available Jamaican mitochondrial haplotypes using an exact test as well as haplotypes within the EMPOP public database to further access biogeographic origins.


L-type mitochondrial haplogroups were observed in 96% of samples, and the remaining 4% belonged to haplogroup B2. Haplotype diversity was 0.922 (SD = 0.024) and not significantly different than the comparable Jamaican population. Of the two B2 haplotypes, one matched haplotypes throughout the Americas and East Asia and the other matched only in East Asia. These results suggest both African and indigenous American maternal ancestries within Accompong Town.


Our data suggested that the maternal ancestry of contemporary Accompong Town Maroons is predominantly African and, despite claims to suggest otherwise, also indigenous American. Our study complemented Maroon oral histories, archeological data, and illuminated how colonization shaped human genetic variation within the Caribbean.

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