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Timeline of abolition of slavery

Howard Dodson (l), Director, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture & Ban Ki-moon at exhibition ‘Lest We Forget - The Triumph Over Slavery’, on 200th Anniv of Abolition of Transatlantic Slave Trade, UN,1 Mar 07.
Howard Dodson (l), Director, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture & Ban Ki-moon at exhibition ‘Lest We Forget - The Triumph Over Slavery’, on 200th Anniv of Abolition of Transatlantic Slave Trade, UN,1 Mar 07. UN Photo/Mark Garten

1791 August: Slave rebellion in Saint-Domingue (Haiti).

1793: Abolition of slavery in Saint-Domingue (Haiti).

1794 - 4 February: Decree of the Convention abolishing slavery on 16 Pluviôse Year II.

1802 - 20 May: Law of 30 Floréal Year X, re-establishing slavery in the French colonies according to the previous legislation of 1789.

1803: Prohibition of the slave trade by Denmark.

1807: Prohibition of the slave trade by Great Britain.

1807: Prohibition of the importation of captives and slaves by the United States.

1814: Prohibition of the slave trade by the Netherlands.

1815 – February: Congress of Vienna: The European powers (Great Britain, France, Austria, Russia, Prussia, Sweden, and Portugal) commit themselves to prohibit the slave trade.

1815 – 29 March: During Napoleon’s Hundred Days, Napoleon I decree prohibiting the slave trade.

1818 - 15 April: The first French law prohibiting the slave trade.

1821: Creation, in Paris, of the Society of Christian Morals (Société de la Morale Chrétienne).

1822: Creation by the Society of Christian Morals of its Committee for the abolition of the slave trade and slavery.

1822: Abolition of slavery in Santo Domingo.

1823: Abolition of slavery in Chile.

1826: Abolition of slavery in Bolivia.

1827 - 25 April: The second French law prohibiting the slave trade.

1829: Abolition of slavery in Mexico.

1831 - 22 February: The third French law prohibiting the slave trade.

1833 – 1838: Abolition of slavery in the British colonies of the West Indies, British Guyana, and Mauritius.

1834: Creation of the French Society for the Abolition of Slavery in Paris.

1839: Creation of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society in London which published the Anti-Slavery Reporter. At present, it continues its activities under the name of Anti-Slavery International and publishes The Reporter.

1846 – 1848: Abolition of slavery in the Danish Virgin Islands.

1846: Abolition of slavery in Tunisia.

1848: Abolition of slavery in the French colonies.

1851: Abolition of slavery in Colombia.

1852 – February: The first French decrees for the recruitment of free workers on contract in Africa, then in India, for the Caribbean colonies.

1853: Abolition of slavery in Argentina.

1854: Abolition of slavery in Venezuela.

1855: Abolition of slavery in Peru.

1863: Abolition of slavery in the Caribbean colonies of the Netherlands.

1863 – 1865: Abolition of slavery in the United States.

1866: Spanish decree prohibiting the slave trade.

1873: Abolition of slavery in Puerto Rico.

1876: Abolition of slavery in Turkey.

1880 – 1886: Gradual abolition of slavery in Cuba.

1885: Measures for the repression of slavery in Africa taken at the Berlin Conference.

1888: Abolition of slavery in Brazil.

1890: Brussels Conference on Slavery in Africa.

1896: Abolition of slavery in Madagascar.

1980: Abolition of slavery in Mauritania.

Source: UNESCO: Struggles against Slavery – International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition, 2004.

Cleophas Tsokodayi is the author of Namibia’s Independence Struggle

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