May 25, 1760, is the date that marks the beginning of the Western Revolt, a continuation of Takyi’s rebellion. Before we dive into Apongo’s role in one of the most significant slave rebellions in the Caribbean, let’s explore some of Apongo’s life, and learn how he became a part of Takyi’s rebellion. Apongo was a West African military leader, I do not have the information to confirm exactly where he is from in West Africa, but according to the diary of the English planter Thomas Thislewood, Apongo was a prince in Guinea who paid homage to the King of Dahomey. According to author Vincent Brown, Apongo was a Dahomey war Chief. I can confirm that Apongo was born on the Gold Coast of Africa, and he had a complicated relationship with John Cope, the Chief Principle of Britain's Cape Coast Castle, located on Africa’s Gold Coast. In the 1740s, Apongo was captured and became the property of Author Forest, Captian of the HMS Wager. After the capture of Apongo, Forrest changed Apongo’s name to Wager, after the ship he captained.
Apongo was then shipped to the plantation of Artur Forest in Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica, where he lived and worked for 20 years until the start of Takyi’s rebellion. After the death of Takyi, the rebellion was able to continue because of leaders like Apongo, as well as the organization of the rebellion. Apongo played an integral part in the planning and fighting in Takyi’s rebellion, so his escaping capture after the death of Takyi was critical to the continuance of the rebellion. On May 25, 1760, Apongo and his fellow rebels signaled the start of the rebellion by shaving their heads, also the attack on the Masemure estate in Westmoreland, Jamaica. Simon a lieutenant in the rebellion, shot and killed John Smith, the managing attorney of Masemure estate. The Western revolt was underway led by Apongo. The rebels attacked the British when their naval escort was away from the island. Initially, the rebels faced a militia with fewer numbers than they would have if the British naval escort was present. Over the next four days, the rebels and the British fought back and forth gaining and losing ground. May 29, 1760, was a key victory for Apongo and his fellow rebels. The British militia attempted to attack a rebel camp, but the rebels gained an overwhelming victory over the British, resulting in the rebel army gaining more members willing to fight the British for an all-black Jamaica.
The British were suffering humiliating losses to Aponog and his rebels, so the British decided to call for an enormous amount of reinforcements. Reinforcements from the British 74th regiment, 3 Maroon regiments, and 3 militias were deployed against the rebels to storm their encampment. The British were able to successfully breach the encampment due to the extreme reinforcements they gained. The rebels and the British battled for over 2 hours before the rebels were defeated. The militia killed men, women, and children of the rebels, even throwing some of the rebels off of a cliff. Despite the defeat, Apongo and the remaining rebels continued to wage war against the British from June 5th to July 3rd, which marked the death of Apongo. He like many other rebel leaders were defeated by the British and eventually surrendered. Apongo eventually died in a cage after being captured. In total, over 400 rebels were killed during the rebellion, and 60 of the British militia were killed. Following the death of Apongo, several of the rebels were able to evade capture and hide in the mountains of Jamaica or escape the island completely. This was not the end of the rebellion, but it leads us to Simon, who became the leader of the rebellion and our subject for part three. To be continued…….
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