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Abolition Day

Abolition Day 2020, 2021 and 2022 in Guadeloupe

In Guadeloupe, Abolition Day is a public holiday observed every 27 May, when the final abolition of slavery was proclaimed and enforced in Guadeloupe in 1848.

202027 MayWedAbolition Day
202127 MayThuAbolition Day
202227 MayFriAbolition Day

France had colonised Guadeloupe in the 1600’s, and it soon became a centre of slavery and of the slave trade. As early as 1794, a declaration ending slavery was proclaimed and supposed to apply throughout all French colonies.

But then, slavery was reinstituted in 1802 when Guadeloupe’s plantation owners threatened to secede and join the British Empire, which still allowed the slave trade at the time. When slavery was again established after eight years of freedom, a rebellion broke out on the island, but it was suppressed.

Napoleon again abolished slavery throughout all French domains in 1815, but this was not enforced. Plus, Napoleon was soon out of power. On 27 April, 1848, slavery was abolished in Guadeloupe yet again, but this abolition was not immediately enforced. It wasn’t until 27 May that same year that the slaves were finally permanently freed and the slave trade ended once and for all.

One of the most popular places to visit on Abolition Day in Guadeloupe is the Monument to Abolition of Slavery, the earliest monument ever erected to the abolition of slavery in modern times.