Emancipation Day in Trinidad and Tobago in 2020

Emancipation Day in Trinidad and Tobago in 2020
  How long until Emancipation Day?
This holiday next takes place in 313 days.
  Dates of Emancipation Day in Trinidad and Tobago
2021 Aug 1, Aug 2
Trinidad and TobagoMon, Aug 2National Holiday (in lieu)
Trinidad and TobagoSun, Aug 1National Holiday
2020 Trinidad and Tobago Sat, Aug 1 National Holiday
2019 Trinidad and Tobago Thu, Aug 1 National Holiday
2018 Trinidad and Tobago Wed, Aug 1 National Holiday
2017 Trinidad and Tobago Tue, Aug 1 National Holiday
  Summary
The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 ended slavery in the British Empire on 1 August 1834
Related holidays

When is Emancipation Day?

This holiday marks the end of slavery in the British Empire. It is a public holiday in Trinidad and Tobago on August 1st.

Emancipation day has been celebrated in Trinidad & Tobago since 1985 when it became the first country in the world to declare a national holiday to commemorate the abolition of slavery.

Emancipation day replaced Columbus Discovery Day, which marked the arrival of Christopher Columbus on Trinidad on July 31st 1498.

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 1 August 1834.

Celebrations to mark emancipation took place in Trinidad and Tobago in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1939 the Legislative Council replaced Emancipation Day activities with Discovery Day, honouring Christopher Columbus and his journeys to the new world.

In the 1970s, there was a push to replace Discovery Day with Emancipation Day. In 1984, the 150th anniversary of emancipation, the Trinidad and Tobago government declared that 1st August would be made a public holiday from the following year.

Early Emancipation

Before Emancipation was officially declared in 1834, there were two groups who had already gained their freedom living in Trinidad and Tobago.

The first was the Merikins. They were former slaves from the American south who had fought with the British army in 1812 against the former colonies. For their service, they were rewarded with their freedom and land in the Princes Town and Moruga area. 

The other group were Muslim soldiers born in Africa that had served in the British Army between 1793 and 1815. They too were granted their freedom and land in Cumuto, Valencia and Manzanilla.

Translate this page