Emancipation Day is an official public holiday in Saint Kitts and Nevis, as in many other nations and dependencies across the Caribbean. the dual-island nation celebrates the day on the first Monday of August, even though the actual date of emancipation was 1 August. The first Tuesday in August is also a holiday to give more time to celebrate and party during the festive events of “Culturama”.
|2019||5 Aug||Mon||Emancipation Day|
|2020||3 Aug||Mon||Emancipation Day|
For the British Caribbean colonies, the end of slavery came gradually at first. The direct slave trade was abolished in 1807, and in 1812, it became illegally to buy slaves from other European powers as well. Then followed a series of acts of Parliament that gave certain rights to slaves and demanded planters treat them with a degree of respect, within limits.
But this was not enough. And rebellion broke out in Jamaica in 1831 and led to much bloodshed. At this point, the colonies themselves began to willingly press for abolition to avoid further revolts, but they demanded compensation. Finally, on 1 August, 1832, slavery was abolished in all British realms, the final bill having been drafted by a former resident of Saint Kitts named James Stephen.
Tensions continued as the former slaves were still bound as indentured servants for another six years and social tolerance and equality had yet to be achieved. But emancipation was a major breaking point that has led to further positive changes over the years, and it is a time of great celebration and jubilation in Saint Kitts and Nevis.