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CHRONOLOGY OF abolitions
Abolition of slavery in Vermont (USA).
Gradual emancipation of slaves in Pennsylvania (USA).
Gradual emancipation of slaves in Massachusetts and New Hampshire (USA).
Gradual emancipation of slaves in the states of Rhode Island and Connecticut (USA).
26 août 1789
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, France.
Commissioner Sonthonax abolishes slavery in the French possession of Saint-Domingue.
The Convention passes the Decree on the Abolition of Slavery, which broadens Sonthonax’s abolition to include the other French colonies.
Napoleon Bonaparte re-establishes slavery and the slave trade in accordance with the law in force prior to 1789.
Denmark prohibits the slave trade.
Haïti abolishes slavery.
Great Britain prohibits British subjects from engaging in the slave trade.
Prohibition of the importation of captives and slaves by the United States. Great Britain prohibits the slave trade on the coast of Africa. Abolition of slavery in Prussia.
Prohibition of the slave trade by the United States.
Prohibition of the slave trade by the Netherlands.
At the Congress of Vienna, a commitment is made by the principal European powers (the Austrian Empire, Great Britain, France, Portugal, Russia and Sweden) to put an end to the slave trade. An illegal trade nevertheless continues. During the Hundred Days, Napoleon I prohibits the slave trade by decree.
French law abolishing the slave trade. It repeats this on 25 April 1827 and 22 February 1831.
Peru: freeing of the children of slaves born from this date on, gradual emancipation of those born beforehand and outlawing of the slave trade.
Abolition of slavery in Santo Domingo. The state of Liberia is founded in West Africa by an American colonisation society to install freed black slaves there.
Abolition of slavery in Chile.
Abolition of slavery in Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Belize, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Abolition of slavery in Bolivia.
Second French law prohibiting the slave trade.
Abolition of slavery in Mexico.
Abolition of slavery in Uruguay.
Promulgation of the Abolition Bill, providing for the progressive abolition of slavery in the British colonies (West Indies, British Guyana, Mauritius and India).
Complete abolition of slavery in the British colonies. Abolition of slavery in Nicaragua.
1840 & 1843
The World Anti-Slavery Convention meets in London.
Abolition of slavery in Uruguay and Paraguay.
Abolition of slavery in Tunisia.
Abolition of slavery in the colonies of the Danish West Indies: Saint Thomas, Saint John and Santa Cruz.
Abolition of slavery in the Swedish colony of Saint Barthélemy.
Decree of 27 April 1848 abolishing slavery in the French colonies (Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Réunion).
Ofﬁcial abolition of the slave trade in Brazil. An illegal trade nevertheless persists.
Abolition of slavery in Colombia and Ecuador.
Abolition of slavery in Argentina.
Abolition of slavery in Venezuela, Jamaica and Peru.
Prohibition of serfdom in Russia.
Abolition of slavery in the Dutch colonies of the Caribbean and the East Indies.
The United States promulgates the 13th amendment prohibiting slavery.
Spanish decree prohibiting the slave trade.
Portugal abolishes slavery in its colonies.
Abolition of slavery in Puerto Rico, at that time a Spanish colony.
Abolition of slavery in Turkey.
The Berlin Conference takes measures against slavery in Africa.
Abolition of slavery in Cuba.
Effective abolition of slavery in Brazil.
Brussels Conference and General Act on slavery and the slave trade in Africa.
Abolition of slavery in Korea.
Abolition of slavery in Madagascar.
International Anti-Slavery Congress held in Paris.
Abolition of slavery in Kenya.
Abolition of slavery in China.
In Morocco, automatic emancipation of all fugitive slaves.
Abolition of slavery in Afghanistan.
The Geneva Convention of the League of Nations condemning slavery is ratiﬁed by 44 countries. Abolition of slavery in Nepal.
Abolition of slavery in Iran.
Forced Labour Convention of the International Labour Organisation.
Abolition of slavery in Bahrain.
Abolition of slavery in Ethiopia.
Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations, conﬁrmed by the convention of 1956.
Abolition of slavery in Kuwait. United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Trafﬁc in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.
Abolition of slavery in Qatar.
Adoption by the UN of the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery.
Abolition of Forced Labour Convention of the International Labour Organization.
Abolition of slavery in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
Abolition of slavery in Oman.
The UN sets up a Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery within the framework of the Commission on Human Rights.
Abolition of slavery in Mauritania.
The United Nations adopts the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Abolition of slavery in Pakistan.
Launch of the UNESCO “Slave Route” Project.
First European Union communication on trafﬁcking in human beings.
Coming into force of Convention 182 of the International Labour Organisation on “the prohibition of the worst forms of child labour”.
The European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights prohibits slavery, forced labour and trafﬁcking in human beings.
French Law of 21 May 2001 recognising slavery and the slave trade as crimes against humanity. The United Nations World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (Durban, South Africa) acknowledges that ‘slavery and the transatlantic slave trade are a crime against humanity’.
Adoption by the French National Assembly of a law “to combat trafﬁcking in human beings”.
United Nations International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition.
2 December, International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.
Declaration by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon: “The slave trade was abolished formally 200 years ago, but this ﬂagrant human rights violation persists, fuelled by a continuing lack of respect for the dignity of human beings, a denial of their humanity and desperate poverty.”
The United Nations and the International Labour Organization estimate that modern slavery and forced labour involve at least 200 to 250 million people, of which a high proportion are children. The illicit nature of these crimes precludes more accurate statistics, and it is probable that the phenomenon is unfortunately more widespread.