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Other name(s) Baeffu, Beafuu, Beffru
Nickname(s) Queen of St John
Born Akwamu, Ghana
Died (1734-05-00)May , 1734
St. Jan, Danish West Indies
Allegiance Akwamu Insurrection

Breffu was an Akwamu leader of the 1733 slave insurrection on St. John (then known as St. Jan) in Danish West Indies. She committed suicide with 23 other rebels to evade capture as the rebellion weakened in 1734.

St Jan Slave Insurrection

Breffu was enslaved at a plantation owned by Pieter Krøyer, and lived in Coral Bay.[1] On 23 November 1733, hearing the signal of a canon fired from Fort Fredericksvaern, Breffu entered the main house and killed both Krøyer and his wife. Taking all gunpowder and ammunition, and accompanied by fellow slave Christian, Breffu then proceeded to the Van Stell family house, where she killed three members of the plantation owner's family.[2]

She committed suicide to evade capture,[3] and is thought to have died in either April or May of 1734.[1] Her body was discovered at Browns Bay, along with another 23 rebels who committed suicide, at which a plantation owner recorded his surprise that, "one of the leaders of the rebellion, Baeffu, whom none of us knew, and whom we assumed to be a man having murdered my son Pieter Krøyer and his wife, is a woman!"[4]

In popular culture

Breffu has been dramatised as the "Queen of St John" in the play Three Queens Chautauqua Series: Act I Queen Breffu.[5] In a 2006 production, Breffu was portrayed by the academic Jaweh David.[5] She has also featured as a subject in festival floats at St John celebrations.[6]


  1. ^ a b Norton (2013), p. 300.
  2. ^ Norton (2013), p. 69.
  3. ^ Holly Norton (20 March 2018). "Breffu: a slave, a rebel, a fighter – and a woman almost invisible to history". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  4. ^ Norton (2013), p. 90.
  5. ^ a b St. John Tradewinds (19 June 2006). "Three Local Queens Embodied in Chautauqua Series". St. John Tradewinds. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  6. ^ Andrea Milam (5 July 2014). "New Troupes Dance Through Cruz Bay Alongside Old Favorites at 60th Anniversary Festival Parade". St. John Tradewinds. Retrieved 31 March 2018.

Works cited

  • Holly Kathryn Norton (2013). Estate by Estate: The Landscape of the 1733 St. Jan Slave Rebellion (PhD). Syracuse University.
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