The term was coined after the Spanish “cimarrón”. It refers to the act of escaping slavery and “Marrons” the people who escaped . In La Réunion, they’d flee and hide in the steep mountains, and even built villages where no one could find them. Legends also tell about kings and queens of these isolated “îlets”.
From 1729 to 1744, Marrons were tracked down by hunters. They would often kill runaway slaves directly in the forest, only to bring back their left hands as a trophy so they could be paid. Some other times, people would be brought back to the city to be decapitated.
One notorious execution was the one of a slave named Elie, who led the slave rebellion in Saint Leu, back when the island was dominated by the British.
In 2013 a statue was built in Saint Denis to honor the Marrons. You can see a few photos here : and I may add that, when it gets dark, the severed neck glows red from the inside. I find it haunting but powerful.