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August 23, 2008

"Bussa Rebellion": April 14 1816

Bussa (d. 1816) was the leader of a slave uprising in Barbados. He was born a free man in Africa, but was captured by african slave merchants and sold to the English men and brought to Barbados in the late 18th century as a slave. Not much is known about him and there are no records of him prior to this date.

The rebellion he led is often referred to as the "Bussa Rebellion" which began on Sunday, April 14, 1816. It was the first slave uprising in Barbados for 124 years; the previous taking place in 1692. "Bussa's Rebellion" was planned by such collaborators as Washington Franklin and Nanny Grigg, a senior domestic slave on Simmons' estate, as well as other slaves, drivers and artisans. The planning was undertaken at a number of sugar estates, including Bayley's Plantation where it began. Preparation for the rebellion began soon after the House of Assembly discussed and rejected the Imperial Registry Bill in November 1815. By February 1816, the decision had been taken that the revolt should take place in April, at Easter. Bussa led the slaves into battle at Bayley's on Tuesday, April 16. He commanded some 400 freedom fighters and was killed in battle. His troops continued the fight until they were defeated by superior firepower. The rebellion failed but its impact was significant to the future of Barbados.

In 1985, 169 years after that rebellion, when the Emancipation Statue was unveiled, many Barbadians identified it with Bussa in the 1816 revolt.

In 1999, Bussa was named as the first national hero of Barbados and in Barbados there is a monument and round -a- bout in his honour. source

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