maroon, term for a fugitive slave in the 17th and 18th cent. in the West Indies and Guiana, or for a descendant of such slaves. They were called marron by the French and cimarrón by the Spanish. Formerly much used in the West Indies and South America, the term later came to be used with particular reference to certain blacks living in W Jamaica. The maroons fled when the British began their conquest of the island from the Spanish in 1655 and maintained a hostile independence until 1739, when a treaty granting them lands of their own and virtual independence was concluded.
See studies by C. Robinson (1969) and R. Price (1976, 1979).