History

Timelines: Dates for the Abolition of African Slavery in the Americas

Shalom, everyone! By the end of the 19th century, slavery of Africans was abolished in the Americas, at least on paper. Despite abolition/emancipation, Africans were still subjected to racial discrimination and violence, poor working conditions, denial of access to education, capital, and land ownership, and even genocide within some territories wishing to eliminate their black population to replace them with European immigrants (e.g., Argentina). Although no longer chattel slavery on paper, our people still have not reaped the benefits that freedom should bring.

The following is a list of the dates for the abolition of African slavery in the territories of the Americas:


Northern America

Territory Colonial Power Date(s) for the Abolition of Slavery Notes
 Bermuda Great Britain Aug 1, 1834;
Aug 1, 1838
Former slaves were required to serve their masters for an additional period of six years, however, this was ended two years prematurely with the granting full emancipation on August 1, 1838.
 Canada Great Britain Aug 1, 1834;
Aug 1, 1838
Former slaves were required to serve their masters for an additional period of six years, however, this was ended two years prematurely with the granting full emancipation on August 1, 1838.
 United States of America Independent Jan 1, 1863;
Jun 19, 1865
Emancipation was effective on January 1, 1863, however, all slaves were finally freed in the United States on June 19, 1865, after the final defeat of Confederate forces by the Union Army in Texas.

Caribbean

Territory Colonial Power Date(s) for the Abolition of Slavery Notes
 Anguilla (UK) Great Britain Aug 1, 1834;
Aug 1, 1838
Former slaves were required to serve their masters for an additional period of six years, however, this was ended two years prematurely with the granting full emancipation on August 1, 1838.
 Antigua and Barbuda Great Britain Aug 1, 1834;
Aug 1, 1838
Former slaves were required to serve their masters for an additional period of six years, however, this was ended two years prematurely with the granting full emancipation on August 1, 1838.
 Aruba (Neth.) Netherlands Jul 1, 1863;
Jul 1, 1873
Former slaves in the Dutch colonies were forced to serve an unpaid apprenticeship of an additional ten years, with full emancipation occurring on July 1, 1873.
 Bahamas, The Great Britain Aug 1, 1834;
Aug 1, 1838
Former slaves were required to serve their masters for an additional period of six years, however, this was ended two years prematurely with the granting full emancipation on August 1, 1838.
 Barbados Great Britain Aug 1, 1834;
Aug 1, 1838
Former slaves were required to serve their masters for an additional period of six years, however, this was ended two years prematurely with the granting full emancipation on August 1, 1838.
 Bonaire (Neth.) Netherlands, The Jul 1, 1863;
Jul 1, 1873
Former slaves in the Dutch colonies were forced to serve an unpaid apprenticeship of an additional ten years, with full emancipation occurring on July 1, 1873.
 British Virgin Islands (UK) Great Britain Aug 1, 1834;
Aug 1, 1838
Former slaves were required to serve their masters for an additional period of six years, however, this was ended two years prematurely with the granting full emancipation on August 1, 1838.
 Cayman Islands (UK) Great Britain Aug 1, 1834;
Aug 1, 1838
Former slaves were required to serve their masters for an additional period of six years, however, this was ended two years prematurely with the granting full emancipation on August 1, 1838.
 Cuba Spain Oct 7, 1886 Slavery abolished by Spanish royal decree. Cuba was the last territory in the Caribbean to abolish slavery.
 Curaçao (Neth.) Netherlands, The Jul 1, 1863;
Jul 1, 1873
Former slaves in the Dutch colonies were forced to serve an unpaid apprenticeship of an additional ten years, with full emancipation occurring on July 1, 1873.
 Dominica Great Britain Aug 1, 1834;
Aug 1, 1838
Former slaves were required to serve their masters for an additional period of six years, however, this was ended two years prematurely with the granting full emancipation on August 1, 1838.
 Dominican Republic Spain Feb 9, 1822 Slavery finally abolished with the annexation of the Dominican Republic (Spanish Haiti) to French Haiti on February 9, 1822 by Haitian President Jean-Pierre Boyer.
 Grenada Great Britain Aug 1, 1834;
Aug 1, 1838
Former slaves were required to serve their masters for an additional period of six years, however, this was ended two years prematurely with the granting full emancipation on August 1, 1838.
 Guadeloupe (Fr.) France May 28, 1848 Abolition of slavery in the French colonies is credited to the 1848 Revolution and the Abolition Laws of the Second Republic.
 Haiti France Jul 7, 1801;
Jan 1, 1804
Slavery outlawed by the leader of the Haitian Revolution Toussaint L’Ouverture on July 7, 1801, however, former slaves were forced to work by revolutionary soldiers to prop up the plantation economy. Slaves fully freed on January 1, 1804, after Haiti defeated the French and declared independence.
 Jamaica Great Britain Aug 1, 1834;
Aug 1, 1838
Former slaves were required to serve their masters for an additional period of six years, however, this was ended two years prematurely with the granting full emancipation on August 1, 1838.
 Martinique (Fr.) France May 28, 1848 Abolition of slavery in the French colonies is credited to the 1848 Revolution and the Abolition Laws of the Second Republic.
 Montserrat (UK) Great Britain Aug 1, 1834;
Aug 1, 1838
Former slaves were required to serve their masters for an additional period of six years, however, this was ended two years prematurely with the granting full emancipation on August 1, 1838.
 Puerto Rico (US) Spain Mar 22, 1873 Slavery abolished by the Spanish Nation Assembly.
 Saba (Neth.) Netherlands Jul 1, 1863;
Jul 1, 1873
Former slaves in the Dutch colonies were forced to serve an unpaid apprenticeship of an additional ten years, with full emancipation occurring on July 1, 1873.
 Saint Barthelemy France May 28, 1848 Abolition of slavery in the French colonies is credited to the 1848 Revolution and the Abolition Laws of the Second Republic.
 Saint Kitts and Nevis Great Britain Aug 1, 1834;
Aug 1, 1838
Former slaves were required to serve their masters for an additional period of six years, however, this was ended two years prematurely with the granting full emancipation on August 1, 1838.
 Saint Lucia Great Britain Aug 1, 1834;
Aug 1, 1838
Former slaves were required to serve their masters for an additional period of six years, however, this was ended two years prematurely with the granting full emancipation on August 1, 1838.
 Saint Martin (Fr.) France May 28, 1848 Abolition of slavery in the French colonies is credited to the 1848 Revolution and the Abolition Laws of the Second Republic.
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Great Britain Aug 1, 1834;
Aug 1, 1838
Former slaves were required to serve their masters for an additional period of six years, however, this was ended two years prematurely with the granting full emancipation on August 1, 1838.
 Sint Eustatius (Neth.) Netherlands, The Jul 1, 1863;
Jul 1, 1873
Former slaves in the Dutch colonies were forced to serve an unpaid apprenticeship of an additional ten years, with full emancipation occurring on July 1, 1873.
 Sint Maarten (Neth.) Netherlands, The Jul 1, 1863;
Jul 1, 1873
Former slaves in the Dutch colonies were forced to serve an unpaid apprenticeship of an additional ten years, with full emancipation occurring on July 1, 1873.
 Trinidad and Tobago Great Britain Aug 1, 1834;
Aug 1, 1838
Former slaves were required to serve their masters for an additional period of six years, however, this was ended two years prematurely with the granting full emancipation on August 1, 1838.
 Turks and Caicos Islands (UK) Great Britain Aug 1, 1834;
Aug 1, 1838
Former slaves were required to serve their masters for an additional period of six years, however, this was ended two years prematurely with the granting full emancipation on August 1, 1838.
 US Virgin Islands (US) Denmark Jul 3, 1848 Slaves were freed on July 3, 1848, after a non-violent revolt in which enslaved Africans threatened to burn down the town of Frederiksted. Denmark had originally intended to maintain slavery until 1859. The US Virgin Islands were a colony of Denmark until 1917, when the United States purchased the islands for $25 million.

Central America

Territory Colonial Power Date(s) for the Abolition of Slavery Notes
 Belize Spain,
Great Britain
Aug 1, 1834;
Aug 1, 1838
Belize was a colony of Spain from 1509 until 1862, when it became a British colony. Former slaves were required to serve their masters for an additional period of six years, however, this was ended two years prematurely with the granting full emancipation on August 1, 1838.
 Costa Rica Spain,
Federal Republic of Central America
Apr 17, 1824 Slavery abolished by decree of the Constituent Assembly of the Federal Republic of Central America on April 17, 1824.
 El Salvador Spain,
Federal Republic of Central America
Apr 17, 1824 Slavery abolished by decree of the Constituent Assembly of the Federal Republic of Central America on April 17, 1824.
 Guatemala Spain,
Federal Republic of Central America
1823 Second country in the Americas after Haiti to abolish slavery.
 Honduras Spain,
Federal Republic of Central America
Apr 17, 1824 Slavery abolished by decree of the Constituent Assembly of the Federal Republic of Central America on April 17, 1824.
 Mexico Spain,
Independent
Feb 14, 1829 Lead to the breakaway and independence of Texas in 1833 by slaveowners who wished to keep their slave holdings.
 Nicaragua Spain,
Federal Republic of Central America
Apr 17, 1824 Slavery abolished by decree of the Constituent Assembly of the Federal Republic of Central America on April 17, 1824.
 Panama Spain,
Colombia
May 21, 1851;
Jan 1, 1852
Slavery abolished in Panama while a province of Colombia. Abolition was proclaimed by Colombian Liberal President José Hilario López on May 21, 1851, effective January 1, 1852.

South America

Territory Colonial Power Date(s) for the Abolition of Slavery Notes
 Argentina Spain May 1, 1853;
Dec 12, 1861
Abolished on May 1, 1853, by the Argentine National Constitution, everywhere except the State of Buenos Aires. Slavery abolished in Buenos Aires with the joining of Buenos Aires to the Argentina Republic on December 12, 1861. Black population in Argentina subjected to genocide under the presidency of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, 1868 – 1874, and replaced by European immigrants.
 Bolivia Spain 1831; 1861 Slavery abolished on paper by the Free Womb Law in 1831, declaring that all children born to a slave mother would be free, however, this law was not enforced. Children were forced to serve an apprenticeship period until the age of 20. Total abolition of slavery occurred in 1861.
 Brazil Portugal May 13, 1888 Brazil was the last territory in the Americas to abolish slavery.
 Chile Spain 1811; 1823 Slavery abolished on paper by the Free Womb Law in 1811, declaring that all children born to a slave mother would be free, however, this law was not enforced. Full emancipation did not occur until 1823.
 Colombia Spain May 21, 1851;
Jan 1, 1852
Free Womb Law passed in 1821. Abolition was proclaimed by Liberal President José Hilario López on May 21, 1851, effective January 1, 1852.
 Ecuador Spain Jul 25, 1851;
Sep 18, 1852
Abolished by the signing of the Urbina Decree on July 25, 1851. Ratified by the Convention of Guayaquil on September 18, 1852.
 French Guiana (Fr.) France May 28, 1848 Abolition of slavery in the French colonies is credited to the 1848 Revolution and the Abolition Laws of the Second Republic.
 Guyana Great Britain Aug 1, 1834;
Aug 1, 1838
Former slaves were required to serve their masters for an additional period of six years, however, this was ended two years prematurely with the granting full emancipation on August 1, 1838.
 Paraguay Spain 1842;
Sep 6, 1866
Free Womb Law enacted in 1842, declaring that all children born to a slave mother would be free, however, males were obligated to serve until the age of 24, females until the age of 23. Slavery officially abolished on September 6, 1866.
 Peru Spain 1855 Former colony of Spain, gained independence in 1824. Slavery abolished by decree in 1855.
 Suriname Netherlands, The Jul 1, 1863;
Jul 1, 1873
Former slaves in the Dutch colonies were forced to serve an unpaid apprenticeship of an additional ten years, with full emancipation occurring on July 1, 1873.
Uruguay Spain 1825, 1842, 1853 Free Womb Law passed in 1825, declaring that all children born to a slave mother would be free, however, this law was not enforced. Slavery was abolished on paper in 1842, however, former slaves were forced to continue to serve their masters under the system of patronato until 1853.
 Venezuela Spain 1812, 1816, 1821;
Mar 24, 1854
Revolutionary leader Simon Bolivar declared the abolition of slavery in 1812, and again in 1816, during Venezuela’s War of independence from Spain from 1810 to 1823. Slaves, however, were conscripted into Bolivar’s revolutionary army. “Ley de Vientre” (“Law of the Womb”) passed in 1821. Slavery officially abolished by President General José Gregorio Monagas on March 24, 1854.
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