1833 Abolition of Slavery Act

1833 Abolition of Slavery Act

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After the passing of Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807, British captains who were caught continuing the trade were fined £100 for every slave found on board. However, this law did not stop the British slave trade. If slave-ships were in danger of being captured by the British navy, captains often reduced the fines they had to pay by ordering the slaves to be thrown into the sea.

Some people involved in the anti-slave trade campaign argued that the only way to end the suffering of the slaves was to make slavery illegal. A new Anti-Slavery Society was formed in 1823. Members included Thomas Clarkson, Henry Brougham, William Wilberforce, Thomas Fowell Buxton, Elizabeth Heyrick, Mary Lloyd, Jane Smeal, Elizabeth Pease and Anne Knight).

Parliament passed the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833. This act gave all slaves in the British Empire their freedom. The British government paid compensation to the slave owners. The amount that the plantation owners received depended on the number of slaves that they had. For example, the Bishop of Exeter's 665 slaves resulted in him receiving £12,700.

The Abolition of Slavery


Thomas Clarkson[i] (28 March 1760 – 26 September 1846), was an English abolitionist. He helped found the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade, formed on 22 May 1787, and helped achieve passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which ended British trade in slaves. In 1840, he was the key speaker at the Anti-Slavery Society (today known as Anti-Slavery International) conference in London, which campaigned to end slavery in other countries.”

The Abolition of Slave Trade (Britain 1807)

The Slave Trade Act of 1807 did not abolish slavery, but it paved the way for the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire , the Empire on which the sun never se[t] . It helped foster awareness of the ignominy of owning another human being, which was soon recognized. Previously, slavery had seemed a “right” and, in the case of the Americas, several members of Africa’s Black population participated in the very lucrative slave trade. (See Slavery and Atlantic Slave Trade, Wikipedia.)


Other than Thomas Clarkson (28 March 1760 – 26 September 1846), prominent abolitionists included Britain’s William Wilberforce (24 August 1759 – 29 July 1833), Granville Sharp (10 November 1735 – 6 July 1813), African Ignatius Sancho (1729-1780). As indicated in Wikipedia, Wilberforce “headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty-six years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807.” (See William Wilberforce, Wikipedia.)

The Abolition of Slave Trade of (America 1807)


Among American abolitionists was French-born American educator Anthony Benezet, or Antoine Bénézet (31 January 1713 – 3 May 1784). Bénézet’s Calvinist Protestant [ii] family had been persecuted as a result of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.

However, when he moved to America and settled in Philadelphia, Benezet joined the Religious Society of Friends. [iii] In other words, he became a Quaker. Benezet is the founder the first anti-slavery society of the world’s history, the Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage and his legacy. Seventeen of the 24 members of the Society were Quakers. Slave trade was abolished in America shortly thereafter, on March 2, 1807. (See the Act Prohibiting the Importation of Slaves of 1807.)

The Abolition of Slavery

The culmination of the work of British abolitionists, Thomas Clarkson, a Quaker, and others, eventually led to the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, in Britain. Certain areas of the British Empire did not free their slaves in 1833, but the motivation to free slaves, a motivation rooted in the Age of Enlightenment, the 18th century, was growing into a moral imperative.

The French Revolution did away with slavery, but it resurfaced and was not eradicated in France until 1848.

The American Civil War and the Abolition of Slavery

the Civil War: 12 April 1861 – 10 May 1865 the Confederacy: eleven Slave States the Union: 20 Free States Onset: The Battle of Fort Sumter, 12-14 April 1861 (a Confederate victory) End: Union victory Emancipation Proclamation: 1st January 1863 (eleven Slave States) Thirteenth Amendment: 18 December 1865 (the United States)

However, in America, slavery was not abolished until 1865, under the terms of the Thirteenth Amendment to the US constitution, effective beginning on 18 December 1865. In 1863, when seven states seceded and four more would later join these Slave States. In 1861, they constituted the self-proclaimed Confederacy. Secession from the Union was illegal.

The Civil War began in 1861 when the Confederate States attacked Fort Sumter (12-14 April 1861). It was a Confederate victory. Consequently, four more states joined the Confederacy, now comprising a total of 11 Slave States.

On 1st January 1863, President Abraham Lincoln (12 February 1809 – 15 April 1865 by gun) issued an Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves in the 11 Slave States. It was an Executive Order, a direct order from the President of the United States.


To a large extent, those who opposed the abolition of slavery stood to lose free labor and, in many cases, faced poverty and destitution. It could well be that in the United States opposition to taxation is rooted in a form “exceptionalism” or, perhaps, in a form of reversed entitlement. Many extremist Republicans live in former Slave States and many are as wealthy as their ancestors were in the days of slavery. However, given the loss of nearly free labor, they perhaps wonder why they should pay taxes, thereby contributing to the implementation of social programs that protect everyone, but which they, personally, do not need. They are rich and they can therefore look after themselves. In fact, it is possible for such individuals to view taxes as a form of enslavement.

However, it is also entirely possible for people who benefit from social programs to feel they are entitled to the services provided by the government. That is the prevailing definition of entitlement. They may therefore oppose cuts. In fact, the Quebec students who opposed a slight raise in tuition fee ended up asking the Quebec government to provide them with a free education. In their opinion, they were entitled to a free education. Therefore, when their tuition fees were raised by a very small amount, many felt they had been betrayed by the system.

Main points of the Act

Slavery was officially abolished in most of the British Empire on 1 August 1834.[9] In practical terms, however, only slaves below the age of six were freed, as all slaves over the age of six were redesignated as &ldquoapprentices&rdquo.[10] Apprentices would continue to serve their former owners for a period of time after the abolition of slavery, though the length of time they served depended on which of three classes of apprentice they were.[11]

The first class of apprentices were former slaves who &ldquoin their State of Slavery were usually employed in Agriculture, or in the Manufacture of Colonial Produce or otherwise, upon Lands belonging to their Owners&rdquo.[11] The second class of apprentices were former slaves who &ldquoin their State of Slavery were usually employed in Agriculture, or in the Manufacture of Colonial Produce or otherwise, upon Lands not belonging to their Owners&rdquo.[11] The third class of apprentices was composed of all former slaves &ldquonot included within either of the Two preceding Classes&rdquo.[11] Apprentices within the third class were released from their apprenticeships on 1 August 1838.[12] The remaining apprentices within the first and second classes were released from their apprenticeships on 1 August 1840.[13]

The Act also included the right of compensation for slave-owners who would be losing their property. The amount of money to be spent on the compensation claims was set at &ldquothe Sum of Twenty Millions Pounds Sterling&rdquo.[14] Under the terms of the Act the British government raised £20 million to pay out in compensation for the loss of the slaves as business assets to the registered owners of the freed slaves. The names listed in the returns for slave compensation show that ownership was spread over many hundreds of British families,[15] many of them of high social standing. For example, Henry Phillpotts (then the Bishop of Exeter), in a partnership with three business colleagues, received £12,700 for 665 slaves.[16] The majority of men and women who were awarded compensation under the 1833 Abolition Act are listed in a Parliamentary Return, entitled Slavery Abolition Act, which is an account of all moneys awarded by the Commissioners of Slave Compensation in the Parliamentary Papers 1837-8 Vol. 48.

In all, the government paid out over 40,000 separate awards. The £20 million fund was 40% of the government&rsquos total annual expenditure.

As a notable exception to the rest of the British Empire, the Act did not &ldquoextend to any of the Territories in the Possession of the East India Company, or to the Island of Ceylon, or to the Island of Saint Helena.&rdquo[2]

On 1 August 1834, an unarmed group of mainly elderly people being addressed by the Governor at Government House in Port of Spain, Trinidad, about the new laws, began chanting: &ldquoPas de six ans. Point de six ans&rdquo (&ldquoNot six years. No six years&rdquo), drowning out the voice of the Governor. Peaceful protests continued until a resolution to abolish apprenticeship was passed and de facto freedom was achieved. Full emancipation for all was legally granted ahead of schedule on 1 August 1838, making Trinidad the first British colony with slaves to completely abolish slavery.[17]

Slavery Abolition Act 1833: Slavery Was Abolished Throughout The British Empire On This Day

The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 that abolished slavery in most British colonies, freeing more than 800,000 enslaved Africans in the Caribbean and South Africa and making the purchase or ownership of slaves illegal within the British Empire, (with the exception of “the Territories in the Possession of the East India Company”) took effect on this day in 1834.


The Slavery Act received Royal Assent on August 28, 1833, and took effect on August 1, 1834.

The Act abolished slavery in most British colonies, freeing more than 800,000 enslaved Africans in the Caribbean and South Africa and making the purchase or ownership of slaves illegal within the British Empire, with the exception of “the Territories in the Possession of the East India Company”.

The Act also made Canada a free territory for enslaved American blacks. Thousands of fugitive slaves and free blacks subsequently arrived on Canadian soil between 1834 and the early 1860s.

In practical terms, only slaves below the age of six were freed in the colonies. Former slaves over the age of six were redesignated as “apprentices”, and their servitude was abolished in two stages: the first set of apprenticeships came to an end on 1 August 1838, while the final apprenticeships were scheduled to cease on 1 August 1840.

There were lots of different factors that led to the 1833 Abolition Act. Slave revolts, home grown abolition movements, religious arguments, government policies and the economy. By the time of the act coming into force in 1833/1834 the economy wasn’t as reliant on the slave trade as it had been in the early 1700’s.

The trade in slaves was also becoming less cost effective. The trade usually involved two trips for each enterprise – one slave ship and one cargo ship.

The slave ship would be sent from Britain to the markets on the African coast, and be docked there for some time whilst the crew waited for enough slaves to be brought to the market for purchase before eventually setting sail to the Caribbean. Secondary ships would then have to be sent directly from Britain to the Caribbean to pick up the produce. This process could sometimes take up to 2 years.

Slave ships and cargo ships also had to be equipped differently for their load. A slave ship would be infused with weeks and months of human excrement, vomit, blood as well as food waste. No trader would then load perishable and valuable goods onto the same vessels. In addition, plantation owners encouraged ‘breeding programs’ so slaves would reproduce, effectively gaining more slaves at no extra cost rather than purchase at market.

Campaign To Abolish Slave Trade

The first Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade was established in Britain in 1787, and members included John Barton William Dillwyn George Harrison Samuel Hoare Jr Joseph Hooper John Lloyd Joseph Woods Sr James Phillips Thomas Clarkson, Granville Sharp, Philip Sansom and Richard Phillips.

The later Anti-Slavery Society was founded in 1823. Its goal was not only the continued suppression of the trade but the end to slavery itself – but gradually and not immediately.

The Baptists War

In 1831 there was a large-scale slave revolt in Jamaica, also known as ‘The Baptists War’. It was organised originally as a peaceful strike by Baptist minister Samuel Sharpe. The rebellion was squashed with force ten days later in early 1832. The damage to the islands economy and the plantations finances, plus two inquiries into the revolt by the British parliament added to the case for emancipation at home and abroad.

The Slavery Abolition Act

By July 1833, the act was read for the third time in parliament and a few days before the death of Wilberforce. The same year, parliament received several more petitions calling for the end of slavery. Finally, the act was passed and received Royal assent on 1 August.

The act had two major parts to it – the emancipation of all slaves throughout the British colonial empire with the exception of those held by the East India Company, (The exception was eliminated in 1843) and compensating slave owners for the loss of the slaves.

The Act provided for payments to slave-owners. Under the terms of the Act, the British government raised £20 million to pay out for the loss of the slaves as business assets to the registered owners of the freed slaves. Those who had been enslaved did not receive any compensation.

Half of the money went to slave-owning families in the Caribbean and Africa, while the other half went to absentee owners living in Britain.

The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 was repealed in its entirety by the Statute Law Act of 1998. In its place the Human Rights Act of 1998 incorporates into British Law Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights which prohibits the holding of persons as slaves.

Key Players

Buxton, Thomas Fowell (1786-1845): A brewer and Whig Member of Parliament, Buxton took over the leadership of the British abolitionist movement from William Wilber-force in 1822 and helped to found the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society the next year. He was the foremost legislative strategist of the abolitionists. After abolition, he wrote The African Slave Trade and Its Remedy (1839), which urged an aggressive British policy to discourage the slave trade in Africa itself. He was also active in the cause of penal reform.

Grey, Charles, Second Earl Grey (1764-1845): Grey was a long-serving Whig politician who became prime minister in 1830. His government carried the great Reform Bill of 1832, extending the British Parliamentary franchise, abolishing slavery, and passing the Factory Act. He resigned as prime minister in 1834.

Grey, Henry Charles, Viscount Howick and Third Earl Grey (1802-1894): The son of Charles Grey served as undersecretary for the colonies, secretary at war (1835-1839), and secretary for war and the colonies (1846-1852). He was a moderate supporter of slave emancipation.

Knibb, William (1803-1845): William Knibb left England for Jamaica in 1824 as a Baptist missionary. Shocked by the cruel treatment of slaves, even by members of his congregation, Knibb became an antislavery activist, and was imprisoned during the suppression of the revolt of 1831, the "Baptist War."

Macaulay, Zachary (1768-1838): The son of a Scottish Presbyterian minister, Macaulay was one of the British abolitionists with practical experience of the slave system, having been a clerk on a Caribbean estate and the governor of the British freed slave colony in Africa, Sierra Leone. A voluminous writer and editor of the Anti-Slavery Reporter, he was the father of the historian Thomas Babington Macaulay, who also supported slave emancipation as an MP.

Sharpe, Sam (1801-1832): Sharpe was a leader of a Baptist congregation in Montego Bay, Jamaica, who worked to organize resistance to the planters through religious meetings. After the Baptist War of late 1831, Sharpe was hanged by the victorious whites. He became a national hero of Jamaica.

Stanley, Edward George Geoffrey Smith, 14th Earl of Derby (1799-1869): Stanley served as undersecretary for the colonies (1827-1828), chief secretary for Ireland (1830-1833), and secretary for war and the colonies (1833-1834). Later, as Lord Derby, he was the leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister.

Wilberforce, William (1759-1833): William Wilberforce was the leader of the British abolitionist movement for many years. He was one of the original founders of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade and served in the House of Commons from 1780 to 1825, largely retiring from active involvement in the antislavery movement around that date. He died a few weeks before the passage of the Abolition Act. A political conservative, Wilberforce also supported repressive policies against British workers including the Combination Acts.



Barclay, Oliver. Thomas Fowell Buxton and the Liberation of Slaves. York, England: William Sessions Limited, 2001.

Craton, Michael. Sinews of Empire: A Short History of British Slavery. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1974.

Newbould, Ian. Whiggery and Reform, 1830-1841: The Politics of Government. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1990.

Parry, J. H., P. M. Sherlock, and A. P. Maingot. A Short History of the West Indies, 4th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987.

Woodward, Llewellyn. The Age of Reform: England 1815-1870, 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1962.

Additional Resources


Drescher, Seymour. Capitalism and Antislavery: British Mobilization in Comparative Perspective. London: Macmillan, 1986.

——. Econocide: British Slavery in the Era of Abolition.Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1977.

——. The Mighty Experiment: Free Labor Versus Slavery in British Emancipation. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Williams, Eric. Capitalism and Slavery. London: A. Deutsch,1964.


Kriegel, Abraham. "A Converging of Ethics: Saints and Whigs in British Antislavery." Journal of British Studies 26 (1987): 423-450.

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During classical antiquity, several prominent societies in Europe and the ancient Near East regulated enslavement for debt and the related but distinct practice of debt bondage (in which a creditor could extract compulsory labor from a debtor in repayment of their debt, but the debtor was not formally enslaved and was not subject to all the conditions of chattel slavery, such as being perpetually owned, sellable on the open market, or stripped of kinship).

Reforms listed below such as the laws of Solon in Athens, the Lex Poetelia Papiria in Republican Rome, or rules set forth in the Hebrew Bible in the Book of Deuteronomy generally regulated the supply of slaves and debt-servants by forbidding or regulating the bondage of certain privileged groups (thus, the Roman reforms protected Roman citizens, the Athenian reforms protected Athenian citizens, and the rules in Deuteronomy guaranteed freedom to a Hebrew after a fixed duration of servitude), but none abolished slavery, and even what protections were instituted did not apply to foreigners or noncitizen subjects.

Date Jurisdiction Description
Early sixth century BC Polis of Athens The Athenian lawgiver Solon abolishes debt slavery of Athenian citizens and frees all Athenian citizens who had formerly been enslaved. [2] [3] Athenian chattel slavery continued to be practiced, and the loss of debt-bondage as a competing source of compulsory labor may even have spurred slavery to become more important in the Athenian economy henceforth. [4]
326 BC Roman Republic Lex Poetelia Papiria abolishes Nexum contracts, a form of pledging the debt bondage of poor Roman citizens to wealthy creditors as security for loans. Chattel slavery was not abolished, and Roman slavery would continue to flourish for centuries.
9–12 AD Xin Dynasty Wang Mang, first and only emperor of the Xin Dynasty, usurped the Chinese throne and instituted a series of sweeping reforms, including the abolition of slavery and radical land reform from 9–12 A.D. [5] [6] However, this and other reforms turned popular and elite sentiment against Wang Mang, and slavery was reinstituted after he was killed by an angry mob in 23 A.D.

Date Jurisdiction Description
1503 Castile Native Americans allowed to travel to Spain only on their own free will. [31]
1512 The Laws of Burgos establish limits to the treatment of natives in the Encomienda system.
1518 Spain Decree of Charles V establishing the importation of African slaves to the Americas, under monopoly of Laurent de Gouvenot, in an attempt to discourage enslavement of Native Americans.
1528 Charles V forbids the transportation of Native Americans to Europe, even on their own will, in an effort to curtail their enslavement. Encomiendas are banned from collecting tribute in gold with the reasoning that Natives were selling their children to get it. [32]
1530 Outright slavery of Native Americans under any circumstance is banned. However, forced labor under the Encomienda continues.
1536 The Welser family is dispossessed of the Asiento monopoly (granted in 1528) following complaints about their treatment of Native American workers in Venezuela.
1537 New World Pope Paul III forbids slavery of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and any other population to be discovered, establishing their right to freedom and property (Sublimis Deus). [33]
1542 Spain The New Laws ban slave raiding in the Americas and abolish the slavery of natives, but replace it with other systems of forced labor like the repartimiento. Slavery of Black Africans continues. [20] New limits are imposed to the Encomienda.
1549 Encomiendas banned from using forced labor.
1550-1551 Valladolid Debate on the innate rights of indigenous peoples of the Americas.
1552 Bartolomé de las Casas, "the first to expose the oppression of indigenous peoples by Europeans in the Americas and to call for the abolition of slavery there." [34]
1570 Portugal King Sebastian of Portugal bans the enslavement of Native Americans under Portuguese rule, allowing only the enslavement of hostile ones. This law was highly influenced by the Society of Jesus, which had missionaries in direct contact with Brazilian tribes.
1574 England Last remaining serfs emancipated by Elizabeth I. [21]
Philippines Slavery abolished by royal decree. [35]
1588 Lithuania The Third Statute of Lithuania abolishes slavery. [36]
1590 Japan Toyotomi Hideyoshi bans slavery except as punishment for criminals. [37]
1595 Portugal Trade of Chinese slaves banned. [38]
1602 England The Clifton Star Chamber Case set a precedent, that impressing / enslaving children to serve as actors was illegal.
1609 Spain The Moriscos, many of whom are serfs, are expelled from Peninsular Spain unless they become slaves voluntarily (known as moros cortados, "cut Moors") However, a large proportion avoid expulsion or manage to return. [39]
1624 Portugal Enslavement of Chinese banned. [40] [41]
1649 Russia The sale of Russian slaves to Muslims is banned. [42]
1652 Providence Plantations Roger Williams and Samuel Gorton work to pass legislation abolishing slavery in Providence Plantations, the first attempt of its kind in North America. It does not go into effect. [43]
1677 Maratha Empire Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj banned, freed and stopped import and export of all slaves under his Empire. [44]
1679 Russia Feodor III converts all Russian field slaves into serfs. [45] [46]
1683 Spanish Chile Slavery of Mapuche prisoners of war abolished. [47]
1687 Spanish Florida Fugitive slaves from the Thirteen Colonies granted freedom in return for conversion to Catholicism and four years of military service.
1688 Pennsylvania The Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery is the first religious petition against African slavery in what would become the United States.
Date Jurisdiction Description
1703 Ottoman Empire The forced conversion and induction of Christian children into the army known as Devshirme or "Blood Tax", is abolished.
1706 England In Smith v. Browne & Cooper, Sir John Holt, Lord Chief Justice of England, rules that "as soon as a Negro comes into England, he becomes free. One may be a villein in England, but not a slave." [48] [49]
1711-1712 Imereti Slave trade banned by Mamia I of Imereti.
1712 Spain Moros cortados expelled. [50]
1715 North Carolina
South Carolina
Native American slave trade in the American Southeast reduces with the outbreak of the Yamasee War.
1723 Russia Peter the Great converts all house slaves into house serfs, effectively making slavery illegal in Russia.
1723–1730 Qing Dynasty The Yongzheng emancipation seeks to free all slaves to strengthen the autocratic ruler through a kind of social leveling that creates an undifferentiated class of free subjects under the throne. Although these new regulations freed the vast majority of slaves, wealthy families continued to use slave labor into the twentieth century. [25]
1732 Georgia Province established without African slavery in sharp contrast to neighboring colony of Carolina. In 1738, James Oglethorpe warns against changing that policy, which would "occasion the misery of thousands in Africa." [51] Native American slavery is legal throughout Georgia, however, and African slavery is later introduced in 1749.
1738 Spanish Florida Fort Mosé, the first legal settlement of free blacks in what is today the United States, is established. Word of the settlement sparks the Stono Rebellion in Carolina the following year.
1761 Portugal The Marquis of Pombal bans the importation of slaves to metropolitan Portugal. [52]
1766 Spain Muhammad III of Morocco purchases the freedom of all Muslim slaves in Seville, Cádiz, and Barcelona. [53]
1770 Circassia The Circassians of the Abdzakh region started a great revolution in Circassian territory in 1770. Classes such as slaves, nobles and princes were completely abolished. The Abdzakh Revolution coincides with the French Revolution. While many French nobles took refuge in Russia, some of the Circassian nobles took the same path and took refuge in Russia. [54]
1772 England Somersett's case rules that no slave can be forcibly removed from England. This case was generally taken at the time to have decided that the condition of slavery did not exist under English law in England and Wales, and resulted in the emancipation of the remaining ten to fourteen thousand slaves or possible slaves in England and Wales, who were mostly domestic servants. [55]
1773 Portugal A new decree by the Marquis of Pombal, signed by the king Dom José, emancipates fourth-generation slaves [52] and every child born to an enslaved mother after the decree was published. [56]
1774 East India Company Government of Bengal passed regulations 9 and 10 of 1774, prohibiting the trade in slaves without written deed, and the sale of anyone not already enslaved. [57]
1775 Virginia Dunmore's Proclamation promises freedom to slaves who desert the American revolutionaries and join the British Army as Black Loyalists.
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Abolition Society formed in Philadelphia, the first abolition society within the territory that is now the United States of America.
United States Atlantic slave trade banned or suspended in the United Colonies during the Revolutionary War. This was a continuation of the Thirteen Colonies' non-importation agreements against Britain, as an attempt to cut all economic ties with Britain during the war. [58]
1777 Madeira Slavery abolished. [59]
Vermont The Constitution of the Vermont Republic partially bans slavery, [59] freeing men over 21 and women older than 18 at the time of its passage. [60] The ban is not strongly enforced. [61] [62]
1778 Scotland Joseph Knight successfully argues that Scots law cannot support the status of slavery. [63]
1779 British America The Philipsburg Proclamation frees all slaves who desert the American rebels, regardless of their willingness to fight for the Crown.
1780 Pennsylvania An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery passed, freeing future children of slaves. Those born prior to the Act remain enslaved for life. The Act becomes a model for other Northern states. Last slaves freed 1847. [64]
1783 Russian Empire Slavery abolished in the recently annexed Crimean Khanate. [65]
Massachusetts Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules slavery unconstitutional, a decision based on the 1780 Massachusetts constitution. All slaves are immediately freed. [66]
Holy Roman Empire Joseph II abolishes slavery in Bukovina. [67]
New Hampshire Gradual abolition of slavery begins.
1784 Connecticut Gradual abolition of slavery, freeing future children of slaves, and later all slaves. [68]
Rhode Island Gradual abolition of slavery begins.
1786 New South Wales A policy of completely banning slavery is adopted by governor-designate Arthur Phillip for the soon-to-be established colony. [69]
1787 United States The United States in Congress Assembled passes the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, outlawing any new slavery in the Northwest Territories.
Sierra Leone Founded by Great Britain as a colony for emancipated slaves. [70]
Great Britain Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade founded in Great Britain. [59]
1788 Sir William Dolben's Act regulating the conditions on British slave ships enacted.
France Abolitionist Society of the Friends of the Blacks founded in Paris.
Denmark Limits imposed to serfdom under the Stavnsbånd system.
1789 France Last remaining seigneurial privileges over peasants abolished. [71]
1791 Poland-Lithuania The Constitution of May 3, 1791 introduced elements of political equality between townspeople and nobility, and placed the peasants under the protection of the government thus, it mitigated the worst abuses of serfdom.
1791 France Emancipation of second-generation slaves in the colonies. [53]
1792 Denmark-Norway Transatlantic slave trade declared illegal after 1803, though slavery continues in Danish colonies to 1848. [72]
1792 Saint Helena The importation of slaves to the island of Saint Helena was banned in 1792, but the phased emancipation of over 800 resident slaves did not take place until 1827, which was still some six years before the British parliament passed legislation to ban slavery in the colonies. [73]
1793 Saint-Domingue Commissioner Leger-Felicite Sonthonax abolishes slavery in the northern part of the colony. His colleague Etienne Polverel does the same in the rest of the territory in October.
Upper Canada Importation of slaves banned by the Act Against Slavery.
1794 France Slavery abolished in all French territories and possessions. [74]
United States The Slave Trade Act bans both American ships from participating in the slave trade and the export of slaves in foreign ships. [58]
Poland-Lithuania The Proclamation of Połaniec, issued during the Kościuszko Uprising, ultimately abolished serfdom in Poland, and granted substantial civil liberties to all peasants.
1798 Occupied Malta Slavery banned in the islands after their capture by French forces under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte. [75]
1799 New York Gradual emancipation act freeing the future children of slaves, and all slaves in 1827. [76]
Scotland The Colliers (Scotland) Act 1799 ends the legal servitude or slavery of coal and salt miners that had been established in 1606. [77]

Illustration from the book: The Black Man's Lament, Or, How to Make Sugar by Amelia Opie (London, 1826)

Date Jurisdiction Description
1800 Joseon State slavery banned in 1800. Private slavery continued until being banned in 1894.
1800 United States American citizens banned from investment and employment in the international slave trade in an additional Slave Trade Act.
1802 France Napoleon re-introduces slavery in sugarcane-growing colonies. [78]
Ohio State constitution abolishes slavery.
1803 Denmark-Norway Abolition of Danish participation in the transatlantic slave trade takes effect on January 1.
1804 New Jersey Slavery abolished. [79]
Haiti Haiti declares independence and abolishes slavery. [59]
1804–1813 Serbia Local slaves emancipated.
1805 United Kingdom A bill for abolition passes in House of Commons but is rejected in the House of Lords.
1806 United States In a message to Congress, Thomas Jefferson calls for criminalizing the international slave trade, asking Congress to "withdraw the citizens of the United States from all further participation in those violations of human rights . which the morality, the reputation, and the best of our country have long been eager to proscribe."
1807 International slave trade made a felony in Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves this act takes effect on 1 January 1808, the earliest date permitted under the Constitution. [80]
United Kingdom Abolition of the Slave Trade Act abolishes slave trading throughout the British Empire. Captains fined £120 per slave transported. Patrols sent to the African coast to arrest slaving vessels. The West Africa Squadron (Royal Navy) is established to suppress slave trading by 1865, nearly 150,000 people freed by anti-slavery operations. [81]
Warsaw Constitution abolishes serfdom. [82]
Prussia The Stein-Hardenberg Reforms abolish serfdom. [82]
Michigan Territory Judge Augustus Woodward denies the return of two slaves owned by a man in Windsor, Upper Canada. Woodward declares that any man "coming into this Territory is by law of the land a freeman." [83]
1808 United States Importation and exportation of slaves made a crime. [84]
1810 New Spain Independence leader Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla proclaimed the abolition of slavery three months after the start of the Independence of Mexico from Spain.
1811 United Kingdom Slave trading made a felony punishable by transportation for both British subjects and foreigners.
Spain The Cortes of Cádiz abolish the last remaining seigneurial rights. [53]
British East India Company The Company issued regulations 10 of 1811, prohibiting the transport of slaves into Company territory, adding to the 1774 restrictions. [57]
Chile The First National Congress approves a proposal of Manuel de Salas that declares Freedom of Wombs, freeing the children of slaves born in Chilean territory, regardless of their parents' condition. The slave trade is banned and the slaves who stay for more than six months in Chilean territory are automatically declared freedmen.
1812 Spain The Cortes of Cádiz passes the Spanish Constitution of 1812, giving citizenship and equal rights to all residents in Spain and her territories, excluding slaves. During deliberations, Deputies José Miguel Guridi y Alcocer and Agustín Argüelles unsuccessfully argue for the abolition of slavery. [53]
1813 New Spain Independence leader José María Morelos y Pavón declares slavery abolished in Mexico in the documents Sentimientos de la Nación.
United Provinces Law of Wombs passed by the Assembly of Year XIII. Slaves born after 31 January 1813 will be granted freedom when they are married, or on their 16th birthday for women and 20th for men, and upon their manumission will be given land and tools to work it. [85]
1814 United Provinces After the occupation of Montevideo, all slaves born in modern Uruguayan territory are declared free.
Netherlands Slave trade abolished.
1815 France Napoleon abolishes the slave trade.
Portugal Slave trade banned north of the Equator in return for a £750,000 payment by Britain. [86]
Florida British withdrawing after the War of 1812 leave a fully armed fort in the hands of maroons, escaped slaves and their descendants, and their Seminole allies. Becomes known as Negro Fort.
United Kingdom
The Congress of Vienna declares its opposition to slavery. [87]
1816 Estonia Serfdom abolished.
Florida Negro Fort destroyed in the Battle of Negro Fort by U.S. forces under the command of General Andrew Jackson.
Algeria Algiers bombarded by the British and Dutch navies in an attempt to end North African piracy and slave raiding in the Mediterranean. 3,000 slaves freed.
1817 Courland Serfdom abolished.
Spain Ferdinand VII signs a cedula banning the importation of slaves in Spanish possessions beginning in 1820, [53] in return for a £400,000 payment from Britain. [86] However, some slaves are still smuggled in after this date. Both slave ownership and internal commerce in slaves remained legal.
Venezuela Simon Bolivar calls for the abolition of slavery. [53]
New York 4 July 1827 set as date to free all ex-slaves from indenture. [88]
United Provinces Constitution supports the abolition of slavery, but does not ban it. [53]
1818 United Kingdom
Bilateral treaty abolishing the slave trade. [89]
United Kingdom
Bilateral treaty abolishing the slave trade. [89]
France Slave trade banned.
United Kingdom
Bilateral treaty taking additional measures to enforce the 1814 ban on slave trading. [89]
1819 Livonia Serfdom abolished.
Upper Canada Attorney-General John Robinson declares all black residents free.
Hawaii The ancient Hawaiian kapu system is abolished during the ʻAi Noa, and with it the distinction between the kauwā slave class and the makaʻāinana (commoners). [90]
1820 United States The Compromise of 1820 bans slavery north of the 36º 30' line the Act to Protect the Commerce of the United States and Punish the Crime of Piracy is amended to consider the maritime slave trade as piracy, making it punishable with death.
Indiana The supreme court orders almost all slaves in the state to be freed in Polly v. Lasselle.
Spain The 1817 abolition of the slave trade takes effect. [91]
1821 Mexico The Plan of Iguala frees the slaves born in Mexico. [53]
United States
In accordance with Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819, Florida becomes a territory of the United States. A main reason was Spain's inability or unwillingness to capture and return escaped slaves.
Peru Abolition of slave trade and implementation of a plan to gradually end slavery. [53]
Gran Colombia Emancipation for sons and daughters born to slave mothers, program for compensated emancipation set. [92]
1822 Haiti Jean Pierre Boyer annexes Spanish Haiti and abolishes slavery there.
Liberia Founded by the American Colonization Society as a colony for emancipated slaves.
Muscat and Oman
United Kingdom
First bilateral treaty limiting the slave trade in Zanzibar.
1823 Chile Slavery abolished. [59]
United Kingdom The Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery Throughout the British Dominions (Anti-Slavery Society) is founded.
Greece Prohibition of slavery is enshrined in the Greek Constitution of 1823, during the Greek War of Independence. [93]
1824 Mexico The new constitution effectively abolishes slavery.
Central America Slavery abolished.
1825 Uruguay Importation of slaves banned.
Haiti France, with warships at the ready, demanded Haiti compensate France for its loss of slaves and its slave colony
1827 United Kingdom
Bilateral treaty abolishing the slave trade. [89]
New York Last vestiges of slavery abolished. Children born between 1799 and 1827 are indentured until age 25 (females) or age 28 (males). [94]
Saint Helena Phased emancipation of over 800 resident slaves, some six years before the British parliament passed legislation to ban slavery in all colonies. [73]
1829 Mexico Last slaves freed just as the first president of partial African ancestry (Vicente Guerrero) is elected. [59]

An anti-slavery map with an unusual perspective centered on West Africa, which is in the light, and contrasting the U. S. and Europe in the dark. By Julius Rubens Ames, 1847.

Date Jurisdiction Description
1830 Coahuila y Tejas Mexican President Anastasio Bustamante attempts to implement the abolition of slavery. To circumvent the law, Anglo-Texans declare their slaves "indentured servants for life". [95]
1830 Uruguay Slavery abolished.
Ottoman Empire Mahmud II issues a firman freeing all white slaves.
1831 Bolivia Slavery abolished. [59]
Brazil Law of 7 November 1831, abolishing the maritime slave trade, banning any importation of slaves, and granting freedom to slaves illegally imported into Brazil. The law was seldom enforced prior to 1850, when Brazil, under British pressure, adopted additional legislation to criminalize the importation of slaves.
1832 Greece Slavery abolished with independence.
1832 Coahuila y Tejas Anahuac Disturbances: Juan Davis Bradburn, American-born Mexican officer at Anahuac,Texas, confronts slave-owning American settlers, enforcing Mexican abolition of slavery and refusing to hand over two escaped slaves.
1834 United Kingdom The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 comes into force, abolishing slavery throughout most of the British Empire but on a gradual basis over the next six years. [96] Legally frees 700,000 in the West Indies, 20,000 in Mauritius, and 40,000 in South Africa. The exceptions are the territories controlled by the East India Company and Ceylon. [97]
France French Society for the Abolition of Slavery founded in Paris. [98]
1835 Serbia Freedom granted to all slaves in the moment they step on Serb soil. [99]
United Kingdom
Bilateral treaties abolishing the slave trade. [89]
United Kingdom
Peru A decree of Felipe Santiago Salaverry re-legalizes the importation of slaves from other Latin American countries. The line "no slave shall enter Peru without becoming free" is taken out of the Constitution in 1839. [100]
1836 Portugal Prime Minister Sá da Bandeira bans the transatlantic slave trade and the importation and exportation of slaves to or from the Portuguese colonies south of the equator.
Texas Slavery made legal again with independence.
1837 Spain Slavery abolished outside of the colonies. [53]
1838 United Kingdom All slaves in the colonies become free after a period of forced apprenticeship following the Slavery Abolition Act 1833. Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery Throughout the British Dominions (now London Anti-Slavery Society) winds up.
1839 United Kingdom The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society (after several changes, now known as Anti-Slavery International) is founded.
East India Company The Indian indenture system is abolished in territories controlled by the Company, but this is reversed in 1842.
Catholic Church Pope Gregory XVI's In supremo apostolatus resoundingly condemns slavery and the slave trade.
1840 United Kingdom
Bilateral treaty abolishing the slave trade.
United Kingdom First World Anti-Slavery Convention meets in London.
New Zealand Taking slaves banned by Treaty of Waitangi. [101]
1841 United Kingdom
Quintuple Treaty agreeing to suppress the slave trade. [59]
United States United States v. The Amistad finds that the slaves of La Amistad were illegally enslaved and were legally allowed, as free men, to fight their captors by any means necessary.
1842 United Kingdom
Bilateral treaty extending the enforcement of the slave trade ban to Portuguese ships south of the Equator.
Paraguay Law for the gradual abolition of slavery passed. [53]
1843 East India Company The Indian Slavery Act, 1843, Act V abolishes slavery in territories controlled by the Company.
United Kingdom
Bilateral treaties abolishing the slave trade. [89]
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
1844 Moldavia Mihail Sturdza abolishes slavery in Moldavia.
1845 United Kingdom 36 Royal Navy ships assigned to the Anti-Slavery Squadron, making it one of the largest fleets in the world.
Illinois In Jarrot v. Jarrot, the Illinois Supreme Court frees the last indentured ex-slaves in the state who were born after the Northwest Ordinance. [102]
1846 Tunisia Slavery abolished under Ahmad I ibn Mustafa bey rule. [103]
1847 Ottoman Empire Slave trade from Africa abolished. [104]
Saint Barthélemy Last slaves freed. [105]
Pennsylvania The last indentured ex-slaves, born before 1780 (fewer than 100 in the 1840 census [106] ) are freed.
Danish West Indies Royal edict ruling the freedom of children born from female slaves and the total abolition of slavery after 12 years. Dissatisfaction causes a slave rebellion in Saint Croix the next year.
1848 Austria Serfdom abolished. [107] [108] [109]
France Slavery abolished in the colonies. Gabon is founded as a settlement for emancipated slaves.
Danish West Indies Governor Peter von Scholten declares the immediate and total emancipation of all slaves in an attempt to end the slave revolt. For this he is recalled and tried for treason, but the charges are later dropped. [59] [105] [110]
Denmark Last remains of the Stavnsbånd effectively abolished.
United Kingdom
Muscat and Oman
Bilateral treaties abolishing the slave trade. [89]
1849 United Kingdom
Trucial States
Sierra Leone The Royal Navy destroys the slave factory of Lomboko.

Medical examination photo of Gordon showing his scourged back, widely distributed by Abolitionists to expose the brutality of slavery

A Voice from Our History – The 1833 Slavery Abolition Act

On Friday 1st August 1834 the Slavery Abolition Act, which had been passed the previous year in Parliament, came into force. The gradual freeing of slaves throughout the British Empire began and was complete by 1838 (except in India which was a few years later). The Act was principally passed not for economic or political reasons, but because the majority of the British electorate came to conclude that the facts and ethics of slavery made the case for Abolition compelling.

There are parallels here with global campaigns to cease high carbon emissions to our atmosphere. Certainly, action equivalently drastic to Abolition is required because emissions are still rising despite decades of international agreements and targets. The graph below shows how energy use is still rising and is dominated by fossil fuels. Brutal action is required, not more of the same. We can celebrate achievements so far, as the abolitionists could celebrate the 1807 Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, but we know that the big step is still ahead.

A simple parallel are the Deniers: people who cannot accept the evidence. In the case of slavery, they maintained that slaves were not fully human or that they benefited from slavery or that slavery was sanctioned by God. With hindsight we now know that such views can be overcome. A yet more encouraging parallel, I trust, is success after perseverance the Abolitionists must have overcome much disheartenment. While the campaign started with the Quakers centuries before 1833, the active movement that eventually saw Abolition began with Clarkson & Wilberforce in about 1787. The Abolition Act received its third reading just three days before Wilberforce died. All the many supporters made longstanding efforts as well, one example was denying themselves sugar, which was a principal product of the Caribbean slave estates. Campaigning lasted nearly 50 years.

Artwork from the famous campaigning medallion manufactured by Abolition supporter Josiah Wedgwood at his own expense

It seems that gradually the case was won, and what appeared like something that would never happen suddenly became reality. The turnaround seemed to be prompted by two events – the Christmas 1831 slave revolt in Jamaica, with subsequent Parliament inquiries, and the Reform Act of 1832, which widened the electorate and so brought more abolitionists into Parliament. All those feelings of hopelessness, after nearly 50 years of campaigning without the main prize, were blown away. I imagine that the strong measures required to address global warming comprehensively will be implemented suddenly, prompted by the hard work of long term campaigning together with events that change circumstances quickly and unexpectedly. A policy such as the CCL one, which can attract cross-party and popular support, is ideal for this circumstance.

Another parallel is the need for imagination to understand and have empathy over the harm we are producing. There were no BBC reports from the slave plantations, even photography was not yet invented. The public just had drawings, lithographs and reports to help them imagine the harm. For us we also have to trust those giving us the information on the harms that global warming will produce for people, especially in less economically developed countries, and for the environment. If Michael Buerk could report from a famine in 2084 clearly caused by our carbon emissions, as he did report from the 1984 Ethiopian famine, then action would be immediate and robust.

We can again be encouraged by a further parallel, the massive vested interests, especially for those in power. The British upper class were those benefiting from exploiting the misery of slaves and were also those able to exercise power in Parliament. In fact, as we will see, this extended down to many in the middle class as well. In order to introduce robust action to address climate change, we must overcome the vested interests of the fossil fuel multinationals, the lobbyists, even the SUV owners and the frequent flyers. 1833 informs us that this can be done. Again the CCL policy of Fee and Dividend is well suited because it does not outlaw the SUV owner or oil boss in the same way that slave investors were treated sensitively in the 1830s.

The abolitionists must have needed to overcome the fears for the economy, which may have been seen as depended on slavery. A notable example is the Lancashire cotton industry dependent on slave-produced cotton from the American deep south. Of course, that was no longer a part of the British empire in 1833, but the fears would still need to be addressed. The Director of the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership at University College London, Dr Nicholas Draper, claims that as many as one fifth of wealthy Victorian Britons derived all or part of their fortunes from the slave economy and that up to 10 per cent of Britons who died in the 18th century had benefited. A sufficiently robust policy to address climate change that can be shown not to adversely impact the economy is required. The CCL policy of a Carbon Fee and a Dividend to households has been shown to prompt healthy growth in the economy and to produce the massive reductions in carbon emissions we require.

My final parallel is one I find most interesting. In 1834 there was a need to compensate slave owners and this was implemented. In fact the compensation of Britain’s 46,000 slave owners was apparently the largest ‘bailout’ in British history until the bailout of the banks in 2009. A total of £20million was passed on as compensation, which was 5% of the British GDP at that time. Interestingly, records show that many normal middle class people living in Britain, not in the slave colonies, were included as they had invested in plantations holding slaves, or had inherited them. This total compensation was vast and itself a potential threat to government finances. £15million had to be borrowed from banks, and amazingly, it was only finally paid back fully in 2015. Today the fossil fuel companies hold assets fully declared in their accounts: the value of the reserves of oil, gas and coal that they hold. Many of our pension funds have investments tied to those assets. But if we are to limit global warming, those reserves must largely stay unused in the ground. They are estimated to be worth about $20 trillion which is about 25% of the global economy of $80 trillion p.a. It is a vast sum, that could be addressed over time rather than the sudden need for compensation after Abolition.

The example of Abolition, shows that this can be accommodated. An analysis has concluded “The amount of money available to the compensation fund reflects how much influence elite Victorians had on the UK government of the day. The fiscal injection of cash into the economy had textbook consequences including an increase in GDP, high inflation and rising asset prices. It is an interesting economic event from Great Britain’s distant past, albeit one generated from the horrors of slavery.”

Once the will is there and a policy fair to all is on offer, then change can occur amazingly rapidly. We have that policy, let’s make sure people know about it when the time arrives.

End of slavery in britain

As part of the act, slavery was abolished in most British colonies which resulted in around 800,000 slaves being freed in the Caribbean as well as South Africa and a small amount in Canada. The law took effect on 1st August 1834 and put into practice a transitional phase which included reassigning roles of slaves as apprentices which was later brought to an end in 1840 At the end of the 18th century, public opinion began to turn against the slave trade in the British Empire Credit: Getty - Contributor How did the law change? Before this was enforced, the Slave. Which means that living British citizens helped pay to end the slave trade. The slave trade was actually abolished in 1807 . The 1833 Slavery Abolition Act abolished, as the name suggests. The campaign to end slavery began in the late 18th century. Alongside the work of famous campaigners and formerly enslaved people living in London, one of the key events in the abolition movement was a rebellion on the island of Haiti

Britain's role in slavery was not to end it, but to thwart abolition at every turn. Michael Taylor. This article is more than 4 months old. Contrary to our view of history, pro-slavery thinking in. • Kenan Malik (Let's put an end to the delusion that Britain abolished slavery,, 11 February) has selectively blamed the British for their role in the 17th-century slave trade The Slave Compensation Act of 1837 saw plantation owners across the British colonies receive millions of pounds in compensation after the abolition of slavery, while those who had been enslaved. Slavery in Great Britain existed prior to the Roman occupation and until the 12th century, when chattel slavery disappeared, at least for a time, following the Norman Conquest. Former indigenous slaves merged into the larger body of serfs in Britain and no longer were recognized separately in law or custom Brussels Conference Act - a collection of anti-slavery measures to put an end to the slave trade on land and sea, especially in the Congo Basin, the Ottoman Empire, and the East African coast. 1894: Korea: Slavery abolished, but it survives in practice until 1930. Iceland: Vistarband effectively abolished (but not de jure). 1895: Taiwa

Yet, paradoxically, it was also the British who led the struggle to bring this system to an end. The history of British anti-slavery can be divided into a number of distinct phases Slavery was a major part of the world for centuries. In this lesson, we are going to check out Great Britain's role in developing the slave trade as well as its role in bringing it to an end

The Abolition of Slavery In Britain - Historic U

British Slaves on the Barbary Coast. By Robert Davis Last updated 2011-02-17. most would end their days as slaves in North Africa, dying of starvation, disease,. The Slave Trade Act 1807, officially An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom prohibiting the slave trade in the British Empire.Although it did not abolish the practice of slavery, it did encourage British action to press other nation states to abolish their own slave trades We cannot be certain how many former slaves abandoned their plantations and came through the British lines. By the end of the Revolution, it's estimated that nearly one hundred thousand slaves escaped to British authorities, constituting a loss of about ¼ of the number of enslaved peoples in the United States at the time

On 1 August 1834, the Abolition of Slavery Act, which made the purchase or owning of slaves illegal in parts of the British Empire, took effect in Britain. This did not mean that all of the. This act gives all slaves in the Caribbean their freedom although some other British territories have to wait longer. However, ex-slaves in the Caribbean are forced to undertake a period of 'apprenticeship' (working for former masters for a low wage) which means that slavery is not fully abolished in practice until 1838 Modern slavery still thrives in Britain today, with up to 13,000 estimated to be victims of trafficking. Find out how people end up in slavery in the UK

When did slavery end in the British empire and how did the

William Wilberforce, The Saints and the political events in Britain which led up to the abolition of slavery in 1833 across the British Empire. It had been decades since the first mention of the issue in Parliament. In 1791, 163 Members of the Commons had voted against abolition A look at the end of the slave trade. The slave trade was abolished in 1807, but it wasn't until 1833 that Britain abolished slavery throughout the Empire

Slavery Abolition Act, act of the British Parliament that abolished slavery in most British colonies, freeing more than 800,000 enslaved Africans in the Caribbean and South Africa as well as a small number in Canada. The act received Royal Assent on August 28, 1833, and took effect on August 1, 1834 If slave-ships were in danger of being captured by the British navy, captains often reduced the fines they had to pay by ordering the slaves to be thrown into the sea. Some people involved in the anti-slave trade campaign argued that the only way to end the suffering of the slaves was to make slavery illegal However, many consider a significant starting point to slavery in America to be 1619, when the privateer The White Lion brought 20 African slaves ashore in the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia

It's hard to believe but it was only in 2015 that, according to the Treasury, British taxpayers finished 'paying off' the debt which the British government incurred in order to compensate British slave owners in 1835 because of the abolition of slavery. Abolition meant their profiteering from human misery would (gradually) come to an end. Not a penny was paid to those who were enslaved and. British slave owners received a total of £20m (£16bn in today's money) in compensation when slavery was abolished. Among those who received payouts were the ancestors of novelists George.

Let's put an end to the delusion that Britain abolished

  • Slavery's legacy and efforts to overcome it remain a central issue in U.S. politics, 1941, and slaughter ensues. A week of air raids over Hong Kong, a British crown colony,.
  • Slavery and its abolition. Part of. History. 1 learner guide + 5 class clips. The transatlantic slave trade. Revise. 5 class clips. We have a selection of great videos for use in the classroom
  • This Week in History shares some insights into how slaves finally won their right to freedom in the British Empire.
  • Slavery itself would persist in the British colonies until its final abolition in 1838. However, abolitionists would continue campaigning against the international trade of slaves after this date. The slave trade refers to the transatlantic trading patterns which were established as early as the mid-17th century
  • Although not the first country to ban slavery Britain was the first powerful nation to do so. Through this ban, Britain also committed itself to end the slave trade globally. The Royal Navy would.
  • ence to Black abolitionists like Mary Prince, Phyllis Wheatley, Ottobah Cugoano and Olaudah Equiano
  • The end of slavery in Britain. Why did British abolish slavery? - History bibliographies - in Harvard style . Change style powered by CSL. Popular AMA APA (6th edition) APA (7th edition) Chicago (17th edition, author-date) Harvard IEEE ISO 690 MHRA (3rd edition) MLA (8th edition) OSCOLA Turabian (9th edition) Vancouver

How did the slave trade end in Britain? Explore Royal

  1. Which means that living British citizens helped pay to end the slave trade. It includes characters based on Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Prince, a former slave who became the first black woman.
  2. Belle explores the life of Dido Elizabeth Belle, an 18th-century black woman raised in an aristocratic family who may have helped influence the British debate over ending slavery
  3. Facts about British Slavery 6: The British Empire. Even though Britain tried to abolish slavery, the countries included in British Empire were not influenced by the act. However, the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 tried to abolish slavery in British Empire. However, Saint Helena, East India Company and Ceylon were not affected by the Act
  4. To transfer huge sums from the public purse to the very wealthy. Sort of Robin Hood in reverse. So the situation was like this. So America was no longer profitable on account of independence. Caribbean was producing less and less as the soil has b..
  5. Vast scale of British slave ownership revealed. 46,000 Britons were slave owners on the day that slavery was abolished in 1833 and all received a share of a £17 billion compensation payout from.
  6. In the end, the final terms resulted in the grant of £20 million in compensation payable by the British taxpayers, 40% of Britain's budget, to slave owners (equivalent to £2.6bn today). Nothing went to the freed slaves to redress the injustices

Some of the first efforts to end slavery began during the Revolutionary War, aided by a few of the Founding Fathers. However, at the end of the war, most of the slaves returned to their former lives. There were slave-owners who realized the hypocrisy of owning slaves while fighting for their own independence and freed their slaves The amount that the plantation owners received depended on the number of slaves that they had. The process of freeing the 768,000 slaves in the British Empire lasted for four years until 1 August 1838. Abolition of slavery marked a new phase in the history of the empire and marked the end of an empire, based on slaves and located in the Americas In the 1840s, his defence of the economic interests of the British planters was again evident in his opposition to the foreign slave trade and slave-grown sugar. By the 1850s, however, he believed that the best way to end the slave trade was by persuasion, rather than by force, and that conviction influenced his attitude to the American Civil War and to British colonial policy The act abolished the Slave Trade in the British colonies. It became illegal to carry slaves in British ships (although many ships tried to evade the ban). The ultimate aim, however, had always been the abolition of slavery itself. The abolitionists had assumed that ending the Slave Trade would eventually lead to the freeing of all enslaved people The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 was the culmination of the dedicated effort of a great many people and marked the end of slave ownership in British colonies. In order to assess and understand the relative influences on the passing of this act we can break them down into three broad categories social, economic and political

Britain's role in slavery was not to end it, but to thwart

  1. Millions of you helped end the slave trade through your taxes. The tweet added an infographic which said: Did you know? In 1833, Britain used £20 million, 40% of its national budget, to buy.
  2. Then, after the abolition of slavery in 1833, British slave owners shared £20m in compensation for the loss of their property, but the smuggling of news slaves did not end
  3. To many, however, the end of slavery in the Caribbean was a big disappointment. On average, the ex-slaves did not become yeomen farmers nor did they improve their income and status as free plantation workers as many had hoped. The abolitionists in Europe and North America, who had fought so gallantly to get slavery abolished, were dismayed
  4. However, slavery continued in other areas of the British Empire including the territories run by the East India Company, Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka) and St Helena. Between 1808 and 1869 the Royal Navy's West Africa Squadron seized over 1,600 slave ships and freed about 150,000 Africans but, despite this, it is estimated that a further 1 million people were enslaved and transported.
  5. g decades Britain's anti-slavery movement abolished slavery throughout the British Empire and helped spur the global abolitionist movement. (Chattel slavery never existed under English or Scottish law—though there were some imported slaves under the guise of domestic work.
  6. If slave-ships were in danger of being captured by the British navy, captains often reduced the fines they had to pay by ordering the slaves to be thrown into the sea. Some people involved in the anti-slave trade campaign such as Thomas Clarkson and Thomas Fowell Buxton , argued that the only way to end the suffering of the slaves was to make slavery illegal
  7. Slavery, alongside the sugar and tobacco trades, brought in vast revenues to the British state, as well as creating many dependant industries: the builders of the giant ocean-going 'Guineamen', the makers of chains and collars, professional companies providing slave ship insurance and legal contracts, and the manufacturers of the goods exchanged for slaves on the African coast

The British government paid out £20m to compensate some 3,000 families that owned slaves for the loss of their property when slave-ownership was abolished in Britain's colonies in 1833 Slavery: An Important Chapter of World History. I had come to West Africa with a purpose: to dig deep into slavery, an important chapter of world history.. After all, it was here in West Africa that slavery reached its height in the 17th century Enslaved women and slavery before and after 1807 Diana Paton, Newcastle University. This year's commemorations of the 200th anniversary of the passage of the British Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade have tended to focus on those exceptional individuals who led movements against the trade and against slavery itself.

. Finally, on the 28 August 1833, the House of Commons in England approved the Emancipation Bill which was earlier introduced by Thomas Buxton Abolition efforts. A Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was formed in 1787 in respect of the Atlantic slave trade. William Wilberforce played an important role in the cause of abolition of the slavery. By the mid 18th century British ships brought in as many as 50,000 slaves in a year

What was the Atlantic slave trade? The Atlantic slave trade or triangular trade involved the forced enslavement of many millions of Africans and their transport to the Americas, where they were made to work without wages in often inhumane conditions. The trade was at its height during the 18th century when Britain was the most active trading nation. The cost of the slave trade in terms of. Even after the abolition of slave trade by the British Parliament- the end of the trans-Atlantic trade in 1808 and slavery in British territories in 1834- slavery and trade continued in other non-Western parts of the world and the British response to this was gradual and lethargic and conditioned by local political and economic circumstances rather than some amorphous anti-slavery, pro. Britain becomes the dominant slave-trading nation. 1713: Britain wins the right to carry slaves to the Spanish Americas under the Terms of the Treaty of Utrecht (drawn up at the end of the War of the Spanish Succession). They sell the rights to the South Sea Company for £7.5m

The British empire's role in ending slavery British

FRENCH SLAVERY. Recently I read a piece by an American living in Europe, recounting how he had found himself in heated argument with a Frenchman who hammered him with America's rap sheet of historical faults and crimes -- it looked like the usual list, if you're familiar with that dreary experience By the end of the 17th century an enormous amount of slaves were being transported by the British, twice as many slaves as their closest competitors, the Dutch. In the 18th century about 1 100 ships were fitted out in England for the slave trade. There are also estimates that about 3 million people were transported into slavery in the 18th century When the abolitionists realized that it would not lead to end of slavery, they began to push for complete abolition of slavery and came together to form the Anti-Slavery Society in 1823. [4] As Anti-Slavery Societies increased in number and the topic became hotly debated in both the colonies and Britain, Caribbean slaves came together in large numbers in rebellion against the plantation owners Slavery and the Rise of CapitalismOne of the structures that characterizes the modern Western world and separates it from medieval Europe is capitalism. A paramount and distinguishing feature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is the capitalistic development that occurred within the transatlantic economy. Beginning in the late eighteenth century in Britain and then in other countries.

When was slavery abolished in the UK? Britain's role in

Abolition of the Slave Trade. In 1783 in Britain, and most of the world, slavery was an accepted and legal practice. In that year, a case was heard before the British courts. The insurer of the slave ship Zong, which carried African slaves from Africa to the Americas, refused to pay a claim for lost cargo Anti-slavery sentiment grew in the Britain during this same period, with many British and African abolitionists agitating for an end to the trade and abolition of slavery. In 1807, the British. Impact of the Act. Following from the 1793 Act to Limit Slavery, Upper Canada was already moving toward abolition. The Slavery Abolition Act, 1833, did not reference British North America.Rather, its aim was to dismantle large-scale plantation slavery that existed in Britain's tropical colonies, where the enslaved population was usually larger than that of the white colonists

In Cuba, Spain decreed an end to slavery in 1886, under pressure and influence from abolitionists in Spain, the United States, Great Britain, and Cuba as well as in response to a wide range of additional political and economic incentives. See Davis, , Slavery and Human Progress, pp. 285 -91 . These dates are celebrated as the end of a pernicious global system of exploitation and violence, lasting three hundred years, in which approximately eleven million African people were transported across the Atlantic in bondage The End of Slavery in Africa is a sequel to Slavery in Africa, edited by Suzanne Miers and Igor Kopytoff and published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 1977. The contributors explore the historical experiences of slaves, masters, and colonials as they all confronted the end of slavery in fifteen sub-Saharan African societies

Finally, in 1833, the Slavery Abolition Act was passed, which granted all slaves in British colonies their freedom, albeit after a long period of struggle. However, the Act did not explicitly refer to North American colonies but was aimed at dismantling the large-scale plantation that existed in the Caribbean colonies, where the slave population was larger than that of the white colonists Slavery in the United States. Black slaves played a major, though unwilling and generally unrewarded, role in laying the economic foundations of the United States—especially in the South.Blacks also played a leading role in the development of Southern speech, folklore, music, dancing, and food, blending the cultural traits of their African homelands with those of Europe

Video: Slavery in Britain - Wikipedi

The rise of slavery. The spread of sugar 'plantations' in the Caribbean created a great need for workers. The planters increasingly turned to buying enslaved men, women and children who were brought from Africa. Some 5 million enslaved Africans were taken to the Caribbean, almost half of whom were brought to the British Caribbean (2.3 million) During the 19th century, public and private monuments and statues of campaigners were erected to help commemorate the momentous historic event of abolition. However, no known historic memorials in Britain honour the many Black abolitionists who did so much to end slavery. There is a 2008 monument to Olaudah Equiano in Telegraph Hill Park, Deptford A History of Slavery in the United States A History of Slavery in the United States Use this interactive timeline to provide an overview of slavery as it was implemented and later unraveled in the American colonies, and to encourage student involvement as they research and write about colonial laws and add them to the timeline Slaves were still being ill treated and many of them ran away whenever they could to hide in the forests and mountains. The Slavery Abolition Bill was passed in 1833 under King William IV throughout the British Empire and as such slavery was abolished on the 1st February 1835 in Mauritius. Slaves were freed from their masters and became free men

Timeline of abolition of slavery and serfdom - Wikipedi

Slavery itself was abolished everywhere in the British Empire in 1834. Some Canadian jurisdictions had already taken measures to restrict or end slavery by that time. In 1793 Upper Canada (now Ontario) passed the Anti‐slavery Act In 1833, Britain used £20 million, 40 percent of its national budget, to buy freedom for all slaves in the Empire. The amount of money borrowed for the Slavery Abolition Act was so large that it wasn't paid off until 2015. Which means living British citizens helped pay to end the slave trade On 28 August 1833, the Slavery Abolition Act was given Royal Assent and came into force on the following 1 August 1834. Its full bill title was 'An Act for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Colonies for promoting the Industry of the manumitted Slaves and for compensating the Persons hitherto entitled to the Services of such Slaves' Writer Arthur James Vogan, in his 1890 novel The Black Police: A Story of Modern Australia, included a 'Slave Map of Modern Australia' towards the end of the novel. It was reprinted in the September-October 1891 edition of the British Anti-Slavery Reporter

Sir, Norris Hoyt (letter, March 29) writes that in 1777 the little American state of Vermont preceded Britain by 30 years in abolishing slavery. As his fellow countrymen are fond of saying. Additionally, the role played by many slaves themselves in bringing slavery to an end is often overlooked, adds the British Library website, but resistance among slaves in the Caribbean was. British merchants and bankers lived in Cuba and helped finance the trade. British consuls, or their families, even owned slaves. Similarly, Brazilian mines and plantations that relied on slave labor were financed by British capital. By 1860, British imports from Brazil were worth £4.5 million every year (£99 million in 2005)

BBC - History - British History in depth: British Anti-slavery

The slave rebellions in British Guiana and Jamaica accelerated the end of the slavery in the West Indies. In 1823, rumors of emancipation reached a group of slaves working in the Demerara region of British Guiana. Upon hearing the news, they demanded that their masters grant them freedom immediately At no point, however, did the British declare the end of slavery as a goal of thewar it was always just a military tactic. But if the Brits had won, as they came close to doing,. How the British workers' movement helped end slavery in Square in the town centre in 1986 and the engraving was restored in 2007 for the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Britain Due to his effort, the British parliament passed a law called the Anti-Slave Trade Act on 25th, March 1807. By this act slave trading was made illegal in both Britain and the entire British Empire. However, slave trade continued in other areas. Determined to end slave trade, Britain negotiated for an agreement with Portugal, Spain and France From about the 1770s, there was a growing debate about the slave trade. In 1778 the House of Commons set up a committee to investigate the trade. Growing demand for the end of the trade in slaves led to the first law relating to this. It was called the Dolben Act, and it limited the number of slaves that could be carried on a slave ship

Slavery in Great Britain: History & Timeline Study

Abolition: How Britain Resisted the End of Slavery. Scintillating. In twenty brisk, gripping chapters, Taylor charts the course from the foundation of the Anti-Slavery Society in 1823 to the final passage of the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833 1550 Slaves are depicted as objects of conspicuous consumption in much Renaissance art. 1641 Massachusetts becomes the first British colony to legalize slavery. The Age of Abolition. 1781 Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II abolishes serfdom in the Austrian Habsburg dominions. 1787 The Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade is founded in Britain The news of the slave trade ban in Britain raised a great amount of hope for slaves around the world - but little changed. Frusterated, slaves began to take matters into their own hands and revolt. These uprising climaxed in the largest slave revolt ever seen in British territory (1831-1832), wherein over 20,000 slaves lead by Samuel Sharpe burned more than 100 plantations Click here to read more about this amazing Christian History Bible study series:

The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 formally freed 800,000 Africans who were then the legal property of Britain's slave owners. What is less well known is that the same act contained a provision for the financial compensation of the owners of those slaves, by the British taxpayer, for the loss of their property Slavery in the British Colonies. The transport of slaves to the American colonies accelerated in the second half of the 17th century. In 1660, Charles II created the Royal African Company to trade in slaves and African goods. His brother, James II, led the company before ascending the throne Abolition of slavery in British colonies Slavery Abolition Act, (1833), in British history, an act of Parliament that abolished slavery in most British colonies. Several factors led to the Act's passage. Britain's economy was in flux at the time, and, as a new system of international commerce emerged, its slave holding Caribbean colonies which were largely focused on sugar production could. The end of slavery in the British Empire didn't change much in Canada. They'd already abolished slavery 40 years earlier, in 1793, all as a part of one man's efforts to save a single woman named Chloe Cooley. Chloe Cooley was an African slave whose owner intended to sell her in the US The slave-produced goods were shipped back to Britain — the Mother Country — where they were manufactured or refined (if necessary) and then either sold domestically or re-exported at a vast profit. The slave trade brought in huge amounts of money to Britain, and few people even knew what was going on in the plantations, let alone cared

Great Britain and the End of the Slave Trade Two hundred years ago, Great Britain outlawed the African slave trade throughout its massive empire. Events are being held all month to mark the. William Wilberforce, a member of Parliament, was crucial to abolishing slavery in Britain.He believed that he had been ordained by God to end slavery in Britain. So he joined the abolitionist movement in 1786 at the behest of abolitionists like Thomas Clarkson, who encouraged him to promote antislavery bills in Parliament In Britain, it seems like the end of the transatlantic slave trade was seen as the forerunner of the end of slavery in general. I'm just wondering what you think accounts for that difference In 1859, he led an armed uprising in Harpers Ferry, Virginia aiming to free slaves and end the practice. He was executed for his attempted uprising. William Lloyd Garrison (1805 - 1879) - A prominent anti-slavery campaigner, Garrison founded the journal 'The Liberator' and made the radical call for immediate emancipation of slaves

BBC - History - British History in depth: British Slaves

The End of Serfdom in Britain. Henry Marsh describes how England and Scotland became the first European countries to begin freeing their serfs, towards the close of the twelfth century. Henry Marsh | Published in History Today Volume 24 Issue 2 February 1974 William Wilberforce was the leader of the British Campaign to abolish slave trade. Effects of Slave Trade in Nigeria. It is without doubt to note from the beginning the bad effects slave trade in Nigeria must have had on the human race. Even though I was not born then, reading about the events that unfolds brought tears to my eyes But that, by no means, was the end of the Portuguese. They continued buying slaves some two decades after the legal abolition of slavery in Portugal in 1836. Actually Britain had tried to cajole Portugal to agree to abolish the trade much earlier, but the Portuguese did it only half-heartedly Abolition of Slavery. British Empire 1834. Synopsis. The British Parliament, under the leadership of Prime Minister Earl Grey's Whig government, abolished slavery in the British Empire in 1833, although the slaves were not actually freed until the following year. This act was the culmination of decades of struggle by British abolitionists as well as by rebellious slaves

Slave Trade Act 1807 - Wikipedi

anti-slavery resistance in the early modern period necessitates that scholars understand the end of slavery in Britain as the accomplishment of many grassroots movements rather than that of a single, monolithic organization of middling reformers. The abolition of slavery in the British Atlantic took place in three phases Slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire by the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, black history month looks at the history of slavery The vast majority of slaves transported to the New World were Africans from the central and western parts of the continent, sold by Africans to European slave traders who then transported them to the colonies in North and South America The British slave trade had ended in 1807, and enslaved populations increasingly comprised local-born people, growing numbers of whom were Christians. Chapels, slave preachers, the Bible (with its powerful imagery of freedom and salvation) and huge gatherings of enslaved people away from plantations combined to create a radicalising brew Britain's role in slavery was not to end it, but to thwart abolition at every turn Michael Taylor Contrary to our view of history, pro-slavery thinking in the 1820s and 30s was the norm, from politicians to monarch At the end of the American Revolutionary War, in 1783, Britain had lost thirteen of its mainland colonies, which became the United States. However, the territories in the Caribbean were retained within the empire. Like the other British-Caribbean colonies, Jamaica was a slave society

Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries Parliament significantly shaped the progress and development of the transatlantic slave system. The Act of Parliament to abolish the British slave trade, passed on 25 March 1807, was the culmination of one of the first and most successful public campaigns in history One idea to end slavery gradually was that newborn babies should be born free. In that way slavery would eventually cease even though people already enslaved would not obtain their freedom. In the end, all slaves in the British Empire were freed on 1 December 1834. Emancipation did not mean immediate freedom for slaves British history is connected to slavery, to India, to the whole history of the Empire. That imperial history has consequences for what kind of society we are. it's not something that's separate American independence also reduced the number of slaves in the British Empire, making it easier to abolish slavery. While humanitarian motives were present, and no doubt served as the impetus for some to advocate the abolition of slavery, it is clear that economic factors were responsible for the end of slavery in the British West Indies Slavery Timeline 1401-1500: a detailed chronology of slavery and the slave trade in the British Isles during the fifteenth century. Home Slavery Resources British Abolitionists Olaudah Equiano Ignatius Sancho Ottobah Cugoano Places Bookshop Contact marking the end of La Reconquista, the war between Moors and Spaniards in the Iberian peninsular The Slave Trade Act of 1807 officially ended the slave trade in Britain, but did not end slavery for the people already enslaved there. What did Great Britain do to end slavery? The British empire.

The “Act for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Colonies for promoting the Industry of the manumitted Slaves and for compensating the Persons hitherto entitled to the Services of such Slaves” was given assent by the British Royalty on this day in history, and came into force the following August 1, 1834.

By this act, more than 800,000 enslaved Africans in the Caribbean and South Africa as well as a small number in Canada were freed. The Act specifically excluded, however, territories in the possession of the East India Company, or the Islands of Ceylon [Sri Lanka] and Saint Helena.

A bronze sculpture representing an African couple and their child in Rock Hall Freedom Village in Barbados. CreditGina Francesca for The New York Times

Because the act made Canada a free territory, thousands of fugitive American slaves headed for Canada. A PBS online history reports that some thirty thousand (a conservative estimate) reached Canada between 1800 and 1860.

In 1998, the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 was repealed. Slavery was still illegal of course but the prohibition was incorporated into the Human Rights Act of 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights both of which prohibit the holding of any person as a slave.

Unless we’re telling these stories, people don’t know – Romero

But any uncomplicatedly celebratory narrative of ‘we freed slaves’ is one that deserves challenging. Like many on Twitter, Romero feels frustrated that the British public too often simply don’t know the real stories about our own shameful past – that, historically, we haven’t been told by our politicians, through our education systems, or through our art.

Amma Asante’s 2013 film Belle featured the Zong insurance case, which had helped publicise the horrors of the middle passage

The story behind The Whip “speaks to me as a journalist because I like to investigate, to uncover what has been buried for political expediency,” Romero says she used to work for the BBC, and has reported from Ethiopia, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. “You have to wonder how much it was supressed. You have to ask, how come your tax money was paying off this compensation, and you didn’t know about it, never learned about it in school…”

An estimated 2.3 million African slaves were sent to the British Caribbean, but compared to narratives about the US, these stories have been rarely told. There are some obvious historical reasons for that: US slavery took place on home turf, and therefore has a more visible ongoing legacy, whereas for Britons it happened thousands of miles away.

There is a much more high-profile body of work exploring US slave stories, from hit TV series Roots to 12 Years a Slave and The Underground Railroad

But Romero believes it’s also, in more recent times, to do with who gets to tell what stories on the global stage. “We hear about black Americans, but we don’t hear the British stories. About 30 million slaves were uprooted from Africa and sold in the new world, the Caribbean and the Americas, but what a lot of people don’t know is that only something like 5% of those slaves went to America,” she points out 55% were sold to Brazil and Spanish South America and 35% were sold in the West Indies. “And yet the American narrative is first and foremost. That’s because of Hollywood – unless we’re telling these stories, people don’t know.”

There is a much more high-profile body of work exploring slavery in the US – and its ongoing after-effects, from globally best-selling novels like Toni Morrison’s Beloved to seminal TV shows such as Roots to Oscar-winning movies like 12 Years a Slave. Then there are more recent works such as Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer-winning novel The Underground Railroad and the just-released The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, to Harriet in cinemas and even Slave Play on Broadway.

A dialogue with the past

But Britain’s involvement is now starting to be subject to greater attention: these stories are beginning to nudge their way into the public consciousness too. The Whip is, in fact, one of several British slavery narratives to get a high-profile airing.

Andrea Levy’s novel The Long Song looked at the final years and aftermath of slavery in Jamaica – it was made into a BBC drama in 2018

Andrea Levy’s 2010 novel The Long Song was made into a BBC drama at the end of 2018 it looked at the final years of slavery in Jamaica and life there after abolition. Meanwhile Sara Collins’s The Confessions of Frannie Langton – a gothic novel about a slave on a Jamaica plantation who’s later sent to London – just won the Costa first novel award.

The Whip is far from the only story making it to the stage either – in fact, there’s a welcome wave of work by black British creatives looking at Britain’s colonial legacy. Selina Thompson’s fantastic play salt., in which she recounts a journey she took in a cargo ship, retracing one of the routes of the transatlantic slave triangle, was seen at Edinburgh and then the Royal Court last year and has recently toured Canada and New York.

Phoenix Dance Theatre’s new show Black Waters explores the Zong massacre through contemporary dance

Renowned British playwright Winsome Pinnock’s new play, Rockets and Blue Lights, is at the Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre from March, and takes another look at the Zong massacre – offering a contemporary take on it too. It was the subject of a painting by JMW Turner in 1840, entitled The Slave Ship. In Pinnock’s play, the action moves between the Victorian era and the present day, and features Turner, a black sailor, and a frustrated 21st-Century actress, promising to “ask what is chosen to be represented and what is denied”. And the same incident is the partial inspiration, too, for Phoenix Dance Theatre’s new show, Black Waters, at Sadler’s Wells in March, exploring the same disgraceful event through contemporary dance.

Later in the year, National Theatre of Scotland tells the astonishing true story of Joseph Knight in May Sumbwanyambe’s Enough of Him. An African slave, taken to Jamaica and then to Edinburgh, Knight challenged his status at a court in Perth in 1774 – and not only won his freedom but also helped make slavery illegal in Scotland.

Winsome Pinnock’s new play Rockets and Blue Lights features the character of JMW Turner, whose painting The Slave Ship concerned the Zong massacre

These narratives are often grounded in facts and real-life events and accounts. As such, they will no doubt be uncomfortable – but they’re also remarkable stories. The sorts of stories that you might expect to feature more prominently in our account of ourselves as a country. But at a time when ideas of Britain as an island, and as a nation, feel so unstable, there’s never been a better moment to reconsider the forgotten abuses of the British Empire.

For Romero, this is one of the points of art: to help us face up to our own part in slavery and its legacy, and a powerful way to reveal, and explore, our past. “With this story, we wanted to tell the British angle – this is British history,” says Romero of The Whip. “We’re in constant dialogue with our past: we have to be.”

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Watch the video: The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 (August 2022).