Great Exuma: The story of Pompey and the 77 men and women who led the heroic rebellion that started the Bahamian anti-slavery movement can be easily missed. Seated ocean side (as many things are on Exuma) in the quiet town of Steventon, a memorial to Pompey sits at the bottom of a small hill that once sat the jail where he was incarcerated, now in ruins.
We stopped by on a quiet Sunday morning. A serene spot, it is perfect for a Sunday drive-out. The fact that it is a self tour, there are no staff, and it is easy, makes you feel like you are actually exploring a part of the island un-rushed and at your own pace. On that morning, we were the only ones there.
The story goes that Pompey, a 32 year old slave, rebelled against his wealthey slave owner Lord Rolle. With other slaves he fled to the bush and later returned to seize Lord Rolle’s boat and set out for Nassau. Apprehended en-route, they were tried in Nassau and then returned to Exuma where they were greeted with celebration before Pompey was made an example of by the Governor and given 39 lashes in public.
Today a tribute to the hero helps to remind us all of the sacrifices made.
Should you get the opportunity to visit this little piece of history, stay a while. Yes, there is not a lot to do, and once you have heard and read the Pompey story there is not much else to see or learn. However, the site of the jail and ruins gives us an architectural glimpse into the past as well as helps to add to the serene atmosphere. Take a walk towards the water for some great views and photo opportunities.
Make a Sunday, or any day, of it.
– If you are driving, just follow the signs north of George Town to get to Steventon
– On this day we hired a taxi, which you can from George Town or from your hotel