Treason: Rebellion

By 1800, there were 300,000 Africans enslaved in the British colony of Jamaica. Despite harsh punishments and low odds of success, communities among the enslaved repeatedly organised and acted throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, starting revolts to overthrow their enslavers.

In this episode, we explore how and why enslaved people resisted in the British Caribbean, and then Harvard University Professor Vincent Brown shares the story of Tacky’s Revolt, one of the largest uprisings in this period.

This is the third instalment of a three-part series exploring treason across the centuries. The first episode explores direct attempts to kill the monarch in the 16th and 19th centuries. Episode two examines the ripple effects of treasonous plots.

Download the full episode transcript here.

This podcast series is part of a season of events and activities accompanying our new exhibition, Treason: People, Power & Plot – free and open to all. Find out more at

If you’re interested in finding out more about records covered in this episode, take a look at our research guide to Enslaved people and slave owners. Our guides are presented in a very factual manner and do not address the horrors and violence of some of the topics covered. However, by sharing these resources we hope to support your further study.

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