Emancipation Day in Jamaica in 2020

Emancipation Day in Jamaica in 2020
  How long until Emancipation Day?
This holiday next takes place in 287 days.
  Dates of Emancipation Day in Jamaica
2021 Aug 1, Aug 2
JamaicaMon, Aug 2National Holiday (in lieu)
JamaicaSun, Aug 1National Holiday
2020 Jamaica Sat, Aug 1 National Holiday
2019 Jamaica Thu, Aug 1 National Holiday
2018 Jamaica Wed, Aug 1 National Holiday
2017 Jamaica Tue, Aug 1 National Holiday
Marks the end of Slavery across the British Empire on August 1st 1834
  Emancipation Day in other countries
Emancipation Day internationally

Emancipation Day in Jamaica

Emancipation Day officially became a public holiday in Jamaica in 1893. Following independence in 1962, Emancipation Day was replaced by Independence Day, which was observed on the first Monday in August.

In 1998, Emancipation Day was reinstated by Prime Minister PJ Patterson as a public holiday on 1 August 1st, follow a six-year campaign led by the late Professor Rex Nettleford.

Independence Day is now celebrated on August 6th.

When is Emancipation Day?

This holiday marks the end of slavery in the British Empire.

It is a public holiday in several Caribbean countries and although the holiday commemorates events that took place on August 1st 1834, it may be celebrated on different days in these countries.

On this page, we show a list of countries who observe the British Empire version of Emancipation. For a wider view of Emancipation Day holidays, our Day by Day Guide to Emancipation shows the dates for all versions.

History of Emancipation Day

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 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 August 1st 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.

Did you know?

The first country in the world to observe a public holiday for Emancipation Day was Trinidad and Tobago, when Emancipation Day replaced Discovery Day in 1985.

Related Holidays

Emancipation Day is a public holiday in Tonga. It is celebrated on or around June 4th 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.

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