Monday, August 29, 2011




Aboriginal Resistance Heroes
As the colonial frontiers advanced, some Aboriginal people became prominent in their violent resistance.

Pemulwuy was an Eora man, his people immediately affected by the settlement of the Port Jackson area. From 1790 until 1802 Pemulwuy waged a remarkably brave and successful guerilla resistance in what has now become the city of Sydney. His military exploits included attacks on the major inland British settlements of Toongabbie and Parramatta. Eora people credited him with a magical invincibility. He was ambushed, shot and beheaded in 1802.

Windradyne was a Wiradjuri, from the central western New South Wales. In the years 1822-3 he and his fellows raided settlers, killing some and terrifying all. The Government's determined response had left 100 Wiradjuri dead by mid 1824, including Windradyne's family. As the hunt for Windradyne continued, several hundred Wiradjuri were killed or wounded along the western side of the Great Dividing Range. The toll was great, and Windradyne and his people soon made a peace accord with Governor Brisbane at a ceremony in Parramatta.

Yagan's country was the region of the Swan and Canning rivers. When captured, after a series of skirmishes in 1831, he was held as a prisoner of war. He soon escaped. After his brother Domjum was killed and his head displayed, Yagan killed two settlers, and was declared 'wanted dead or alive' along with his associates Midgegooroo and Munday. Though the latter were captured and executed, Yagan remained free until shot and decapitated by a teenage settler on the upper Swan River in July 1833.

Calyute, like Yagan, defended Swan River country from the invasion which commenced in 1829. In 1834 he led 30 Pinjarup men in a raid on a South Perth flour mill. When captured Calyute was bayoneted, flogged and gaoled before being released. After a settler was murdered by his group, Calyute and his associates were attacked by soldiers - the Battle of Pinjarra. Calyute survived the massacre of his people, and lived to an old age.

Jandamarra or 'Pigeon' harassed sheep herds and their owners who settled the Western Kimberley in the late 1880s. Captured, he agreed to work for the police. However, his Punuba captives shamed him into shooting his police boss in October 1894 and Jandamarra was an outlaw once more, ambushing and killing stockmen. Police reprisals brought a severe toll in the Lennard River area, until Jandamarra and his associates fought a pitched battle (they had captured guns) with police in Windjana Gorge in November 1894. Though wounded, Jandamarra survived and recovered in his rocky and inaccessible homelands. He was killed in 1897, having been wounded while attempting to release chained Aboriginal prisoners.
Keywords: colonial warfare, colonialism, colonists, Eora, Jandamarra, massacres, New South Wales, Pemulwuy, resistance, Sydney, warriors, Windradyne, Yagan, 1790-1897

Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia, 1994, AIATSIS.
Author: Rowse, Tim and Graham, Trevor


Dedan Kimathi Waciuri (truly, Kimathi wa Waciuri), Field Marshal, (October 31, 1920 -- February 18, 1957) was a Kenyan rebel leader who fought against British colonization in Kenya in the 1950s. He was convicted and executed by the British colonial government.

Kimathi was born in Thenge Village Tetu division, Nyeri District. At the age of fifteen, he joined the local primary school, Karuna-ini, where he perfected his English skills. He would later use those language skills to write extensively before and during the uprising. He was a Debate Club member in his school. He was deeply religious and carried a Bible regularly. He worked for the forest department collecting tree seeds to help him foot his school bill. He later joined Tumutumu CMS School for his secondary learning, but dropped out for lack of funds.

He dabbled with several jobs but never felt fully settled. Notable was his enlisting with the army to fight in the Second World War in 1941. However, in 1944, he was expelled for misconduct. In 1946, he became a member of the Kenya African Union. In 1949, he started teaching at his old school Tumutumu, but left the job within two years.

He became radically political in 1950. He involved himself with the Mau Mau, and later that year administered the oath of the Mau Mau, making him a marked man. He joined Forty Group, the militant wing of the defunct Kikuyu Central Association in 1951. He was elected as a local branch secretary of KAU in Ol' Kalou and Thomson's Falls area in 1952. He was briefly arrested in that same year, but escaped with the help of local police. This marked the beginning of his violent uprising. He formed Kenya Defence Council to co-ordinate all forest fighters in 1953.
In 1956, he was finally arrested with one of his wives, Wambui. He was sentenced to death by a court presided by Chief Justice Sir Kenneth O'Connor, while he was in a hospital bed at the General Hospital Nyeri. In the early morning of February 18, 1957 he was executed by the colonial government. The hanging took place at the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison [4]. He was buried in an unmarked grave, and his burial site remains unknown.

Kimathi is viewed by many Kenyans as a national hero. Many towns in Kenya have a building or street named after him. On February 18, 2007, on the anniversary of the day he was executed, a bronze statue of Kimathi was unveiled in Nairobi city center. Kimathi, clad in military regalia, holds a rifle on the right hand and a dagger on the other, symbolizing the last weapons he held in his struggle.
Statue of Dedan Kimathi in Nairobi Kenya
Kimathi was married to Mukami Kimathi. Among their children are sons Wachiuri and Maina and daughters Nyawira and Wanjugu [5].


Samuel Whittemore-Official State Hero of Massachusetts
Posted By admin On 11 May 2009. Under Politics Tags: Arlington, heros, Massachusetts, monument, Samuel Whittemore

Samuel Whittemore, born in 1694, when not engaged in numerous wars and conflicts in America and Canada during the eighteenth century, was a hard working farmer in Menotomy, now Arlington, Massachusetts. He was eighty years old and living in Menotomy, Massachusetts (present-day Arlington) when he became the oldest known colonial combatant in the American Revolutionary War.

On April 19, 1775, British forces were returning to Boston from the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the opening engagements of the war. On their march, they were continually shot at by colonial militiamen.

Whittemore was in his fields when he spotted an approaching British relief brigade under Hugh, Earl Percy, sent to assist the retreat. To his families dismay, Whittemore loaded his musket and ambushed the British from behind a nearby stone wall, killing one soldier.

His monument in Arlington, Massachusetts reads: Near this spot, Samuel Whittemore, then 80 years old, killed three British soldiers, April 19, 1775. He was shot, bayoneted, beaten and left for dead, but recovered and lived to be 98 years of age.
He then drew his dueling pistols and killed another. He managed to fire five shots before a British detachment reached his position. Whittemore then attacked with a sword. He was shot in the face, bayoneted thirteen times, and left for dead in a pool of blood.
His family not only found him alive but trying to reload his musket to fight again. He was taken to Dr. Cotton Tufts of Medford, who held out no hope for his survival. However, Whittemore lived another eighteen years until dying of natural causes at the age of ninety-eight.

In the year 2005 Samuel Whittemore was proclaimed the official state hero of Massachusetts….

By Mr. Havern, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 1839) of Robert A. Havern for legislation to designate captain Samuel Whittemore the official state hero of the Commonwealth and providing for an annual proclamation of a day in his honor. Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development

Here is the proclaimation….
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts


In the Year Two Thousand and Five.



Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. Chapter 2 of the General Laws, most recently amended by Chapter 162 of the Acts of 1997, is hereby further amended by adding after section 43 the following new section: -
Section 44. Samuel Whittemore, born in 1694, when not engaged in numerous wars and conflicts in America and Canada during the eighteenth century, was a hard working farmer in Menotomy, now Arlington, Massachusetts. On April 17, 1775, while working in his fields, Whittemore became aware of the retreating British army which had fought the militia men at Lexington and Concord. Although then over 80 years old, he immediately armed himself with his weapon; disregarded warnings of onlookers, and stationed himself behind a stone wall directly in the path of the troops which were being harassed by our militia. When the British army came into point blank range, Samuel Whittemore stood up, opened accurate fire, and killed three soldiers before he collapsed from numerous wounds inflicted by the enraged English combatants who then left him for dead. However, Whittemore recovered from his ghastly injuries and lived to be 90 years old. Samuel Whittemore is the oldest known Patriot to fight in the Revolutionary War. And most recently, the United States never had a braver warrior.

SECTION 2. Chapter 6 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding after section 12WW the following new section: -

Section 12XX. The governor shall annually issue a proclamation calling for a proper observance of February third, the anniversary of the death of Captain Whittemore, official hero of the Commonwealth, in lasting recognition of his courage, determination, outstanding service and unique contribution to America independence.


Sinhala genocide and the British

By Janaka Perera

The skull of Veera Monarawila Keppetipola now rests in a monument in Kandy.
Friday, November 26th marks the 192nd anniversary of the execution at Bogambara, Kandy of the patriot and national hero Monarawila Keppettipola, who led the first anti-British independence struggle (1817-18) in the Uva Province. It is a fitting occasion to examine the track record of the ancestors of some of today’s international ‘human rights’ champions and democracy advocates.

No Sri Lankan Government will be able to totally undo the damage that the British did to the Uva Province socially, economically and culturally in the course of brutally crushing the uprising. The repercussions of this genocidal scorched earth policy are felt to this day in the Uva region, where entire villages were wiped out and crops and livestock destroyed.

For 57 years after independence the Uva heroes remained officially on the traitors’ list. Their descendants too were helpless in officially dealing with this grave injustice until the present regime revoked two years ago the notification issued on January 1, 1818.

The alien occupation of the kingdom in March 1815 signaled the end of over two thousand years of self-rule and the whole island became part of the British Empire, paying homage to the English monarch. In should be noted here that the former Nayakkar Kings of Kandy – though they were South Indians and their ancestral religion was Hinduism – ruled according to Sinhala customs and recognized Buddhism as the State religion. This was in sharp contrast to the British who did everything possible to weaken and undermine the Sinhala Buddhist culture. Their Trojan horse in this conspiracy was Christianity.

Before long the Kandyan Chiefs and the people realised their freedom had been bartered. The Bhikkus joined the people in demanding the king of their own to protect Sinhala way of life and to uphold age-old Buddhist religious traditions.

The British – in accordance with their divide-and-rule policy – appointed one Hadjee as Muhandiram of Wellassa in Uva. Elated by his power the muhandiram began to harass Sinhala villagers by forcibly requisitioning their grain, cattle and temple property causing a racial and cultural conflict.

In the midst of this there appeared a pretender to the Kandyan Throne, known as Wilbawe alias Doraisamy who proclaimed himself king claiming relationship to the late King Rajadhi Rajasinghe (1782-1798). This gave the people a good reason to rise against the British in 1817.

The then Assistant Government Agent, Badulla, S.D. Wilson immediately dispatched a small force under the Muhandiram Hadjee’s command to investigate and report. But the rebels captured and killed him along with the guards. Bewildered, Wilson himself led a larger contingent of troops but he too was killed. This prompted the British to declare Martial Law in the entire Kandyan Kingdom.

By 1818 the entire hill country – except part of Sabaragamuwa – had risen against the British. The colonial rulers then sent Monarawila Keppettipola Dissawe with a squad of English soldiers to suppress the rebellion. However the pleadings of his fellow countrymen very much disturbed his conscience and decided to join the patriots. Before taking over their command, he dismissed his foreign troops, asking them to take back with them their ammunition and guns. In doing so he declared that it was unbecoming of the Sinhala nation to use the enemy’s weapons against the enemy.

The rebellion flared up under Keppettipola and spread through Wellassa, Bintenne, Ulapane, Hewaheta, Kotmale and Dumabara and continued for a year (October 1817 – October 1818). But the rebel force was no match for the superiorly armed British who, with the arrival of foreign reinforcements, eventually captured top rebels – all Kandyan Chieftains – one by one.

The rebels fought more in spirit than in might.

In an act of revenge against the Sinhala peasants for daring to rise against the King of England, the British ordered their troops to destroy all property belonging to the peasants. Soldiers entered villages and completely destroyed houses by setting them on fire, cutting down their fruit trees, jak, bread fruit and coconut. The marauders destroyed the harvest having killed or robbed their cattle.

Sinhala peasants were subjected to horrible deaths – by execution, hunger and disease. They laid waste to the entire area of Wellassa. Many a Sinhala noble and bhikku linked to the rebellion were beheaded to terrorize the population.

No Sri Lankan Government will be able to totally undo the damage that the British did to the Uva Province socially, economically and culturally, in the course of brutally crushing the uprising. The repercussions of this genocidal scorched earth policy are felt to this day in the region, where entire villages were wiped out and crops and livestock destroyed.

The London Times of October 7, 1818, reported: “the plan of destroying all the grain and fruit trees in the neighbourhood of Badulla seems to have been completely carried into effect, a dreadful measure.”

Justice Lawrie, Senior Puisne Judge in colonial Ceylon in A Gazetteer of the Central Province of Ceylon wrote: “… The story of English rule in the Kandyan country during 1817 and 1818 cannot be related without shame. In 1819 hardly a member of the leading families, the heads of the people, remained alive; those whom the sword and the gun had spared, cholera and small pox and privations had slain by the hundred.” (Revolt in the Temple)

There were no international human rights organizations in that era to condemn British barbarism in Uva whereas today they are the very people – among others – who have the nerve to periodically pontificate on Sri Lanka’s human rights issues.

After the Uva uprising was crushed the British Colonial Government embarked on a policy of appropriating on one pretext or another millions of acres of land belonging to peasants in the Kandyan provinces and sold them to British capitalists at the nominal rice of one shilling per acre. There is no record of the number of peasants rendered landless and homeless by this inhuman act perpetrated between 1833 and 1886.

Keppettipola was arrested at Nuwara Kalaviya, Anuradhapura in October 1818. Following his arrest and that of his lieutenant Madugalle, both were tried by a Court Martial on November 13 and sentenced to death on November 26, 1818. Both of them were beheaded.

Altogether, the death penalty was imposed on 29 rebel leaders while 27 others, including Pilimathalawe, Ihagama, were banished from the country. Ihagama, once a bhikku, was the guiding force behind the rebellion that Keppettipola led.

The then British Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals in Sri Lanka Henry Marshall was sympathetic to Keppettipola and visited him in prison on several occasions. To Marshall (a Scotsman) Keppettipola was like the Scottish Freedom Fighter, Sir William Wallace, whom the English executed in 1306 for `treason’ after he rebelled against King Edward I.

Marshall was so impressed by the Kandyan Chief’s bravery and intellect that he took possession of the rebel leader’s skull after the execution and presented it to the Phrenological Society of Edinburgh.

Returned to Sri Lanka in 1955, the skull now rests in a monument in the Kandy esplanade. A statue of him stands on the Nuwara-Eliya-Badulla road backing the Uva hills where he fought for his motherland.

A very fair British historian, Marshall’s wrote that “had the insurrection been successful he would have been honoured and characterised as a patriot instead of being stigmatised and punished as a traitor.”

To this day tiny villages are found in the Province – up in the mountains and deep down in the valleys. In these huts scattered in the most inaccessible areas live the descendants of the few survivors who escaped the wrath of British troops and hid in remote hamlets.

The failure of the 1818 freedom struggle was the beginning of the end of Sri Lanka’s dignity as a nation. Today, foreign powers and their proxies are again dictating terms to us and telling us how to run our country.