Anse Cafard Slave Memorial, Martinique
When is Emancipation Day?
How long until Emancipation Day*?
|This holiday next takes place in 73 Days.|
|Marks the end of Slavery across the British Empire on 1 August 1834|
|* days until the main observed date of 1st August|
This holiday marks the end of slavery in the British Empire.
It is a public holiday in several Caribbean countries and though the holiday commemorates events that took place on 1 August 1834, it may be celebrated in different days in these countries.
History of the holiday
The British like other colonial powers had allowed the widespread practice of slavery to take place during the time of expansion to the new world. In 1772, the ruling in the case of the case of Somerset v Stewart determined that slavery was unsupported by the common law in England and Wales. While the ruling was not clear on the situation in other parts of the Empire, this case was seen as a key turning point in the change towards emancipation.
Slavery was finally abolished throughout the British Empire by the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, which came into effect on 1 August 1834. The territories controlled at that time by the East India Company, Ceylon (modern-day Sri Lanka) and St. Helen's were excluded. Slavery was not abolished in these regions until 1843.
Emancipation Day is a public holiday in Tonga. It is celebrated on or around 4 June to mark the abolition of the serf system in Tonga by King George Tupuo on 4 June 1863.
In the United States of America, Emancipation Day is a state holiday in Washington DC and is celebrated on the weekday closest to April 16th. As it can fall close to the annual tax return date, Emancipation Day can often lead to a delay in the date that Americans need to file their tax returns.