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Emancipation Day
The Bahamas

Emancipation Day 2019 and 2020

The first Monday in August is Emancipation Day in the Bahamas to commemorate the end of slavery in the Bahamas Islands in 1834.

YearDateDayHoliday
20195 AugMonEmancipation Day
20203 AugMonEmancipation Day

However, even though the Abolition Act had abolished slavery in the British Empire formally on 1 August 1834, it took until 1838 until all the slaves were actually freed. This was due not only to slow communications in those days but also because “former” slaves had to work so many extra years to compensate their “former” master for the “loss” of them once they went free.

Slavery had been in existence in Bahamas since the English settled the islands in the mid-1600’s. But it finally ended after 200 years of oppression. And additionally, over 400 slaves were freed off US ships that ported or shipwrecked in Bahamas in the decades after slavery was abolished in the British Empire but before it was abolished in the United States.

On Emancipation Day, the main events take place in the village of Fox Hill on the island of Nassau. At the Fox Hill Festival you will find many people singing, dancing, eating, and having fun. There is also a regatta at Black Point by Staniel Cay, and there are other smaller events throughout the islands.

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