V.I. Emancipation Day in US Virgin Islands in 2021

V.I. Emancipation Day in US Virgin Islands in 2021

  How long until V.I. Emancipation Day?
This holiday next takes place in 360 days.
  Dates of V.I. Emancipation Day in US Virgin Islands
2022 US Virgin Islands Sun, Jul 3 Public Holiday
2021 US Virgin Islands Sat, Jul 3 Public Holiday
2020 US Virgin Islands Fri, Jul 3 Public Holiday
2019 US Virgin Islands Wed, Jul 3 Public Holiday
Commemorates the emancipation of slaves in the Danish West Indies on July 3rd 1848

When is V.I. Emancipation Day?

V.I. Emancipation Day is an official public holiday in the US Virgin Islands on July 3rd each year.

This holiday commemorates the emancipation of the slaves on the islands on this day in 1848.

History of V.I. Emancipation Day

Across the Caribbean, many countries mark the emancipation of the slaves brought by the colonial powers to work the land, as a public holiday. The most common date is August 1st, which is the anniversary of the abolition of slavery across the British Empire in 1834.

In the US Virgin Islands, the story of their Emancipation Day is a bit different - it's not about some colonial power finally realising that they shouldn't do slavery. 

The Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix) had been under Danish control since the middle of the 18th century. The islands were suited to sugar plantations, which meant they also need a large workforce, which was provided by slaves from Africa. The slaves vastly outnumbered the Danish settlers. Indeed, one of the first slave rebellions in the New World took place on St. John in 1733, when slaves took over the island for six months. The rebellion was quashed with help from the French.

As mentioned, the British had abolished slavery in 1834. The French followed suit in 1848. News of the emancipation of slaves in nearby French islands no doubt spread to the Virgin Islands and a non-violent slave rebellion erupted on St. Croix. Overwhelmed by 9,000 slaves demanding their freedom, the Danish Governor Peter von Scholten freed the slaves, stating that "all unfree in the Danish West Indies are from today emancipated," despite the Danish Crown having said that the last slaves would be emancipated in 1859. 

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