Breffu: a slave, a rebel, a fighter – and a woman almost invisible to history

Holly Norton | The Guardian

An 1833 black and white drawing of African-British people celebrating  emancipation in the streets of Barbados. While adults dance and parade, a young boy in the foreground beats a drum.Early one November morning in 1733 on St Jan, a small island in the Danish West Indies, two slaves waited outside a small stone house belonging to a family of plantation owners, the Krøyers. The slaves, Breffu and Christian, were listening for the sound of a cannon to be fired by their compatriots at the island’s fort, signalling the defeat of the fort’s soldiers and the beginning of a slave rebellion. The cannon fired and Breffu entered the house, killing the entire Krøyer family.

In May the following year, as the slave rebellion was collapsing, St Jan’s governor, Phillip Gardelin, noted in his correspondence that he had learned with surprise that “one of the leaders of the rebellion, Baeffu [sic], whom none of us knew, and whom we assumed to be a man having murdered my son Pieter Krøyer and his Wife, is a woman!”

Full article at The Guardian

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