Emancipation Day in Trinidad and Tobago in 2019

Emancipation Day in Trinidad and Tobago in 2019
  How long until Emancipation Day?
This holiday next takes place in 15 days.
  Dates of Emancipation Day in Trinidad and Tobago
2021Aug 1, Aug 2
Trinidad and TobagoMon, Aug 2National Holiday (in lieu)
Trinidad and TobagoSun, Aug 1National Holiday
2020Trinidad and Tobago Sat, Aug 1National Holiday
2019Trinidad and Tobago Thu, Aug 1National Holiday
2018Trinidad and Tobago Wed, Aug 1National Holiday
2017Trinidad and Tobago Tue, Aug 1National Holiday
  Summary
The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 ended slavery in the British Empire on 1 August 1834

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 1 August.

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 31 July 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 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.

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.

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