Subject: Social Studies
Date: October 2020
The word Emancipation means the fact or process of being set free from legal, social, or political restrictions; liberation; In essence it mean to be freed. Enslaved people constantly rebelled against slavery and fought for their emancipation. The most effective slave revolts occurred during the 18th and 19th centuries, which included the: 1.Tacky’s rebellion in 1760s Jamaica, 2. the Haitian Revolution (1789) 3. Fedon’s 1790s revolution in Grenada, 4. the 1816 Barbados slave revolt led by Bussa, 5. and the major 1831 slave revolt in Jamaica led by Sam Sharpe. Even influential people in Britain began to use their voice to, highlighting the poor conditions of enslaved people. As the slavery abolition movement was growing, so was the opposition by those with financial interests in the Caribbean. August 1, 1834 marked a special day for Africans in British colonies as it was the day they received freedom from slavery. In Jamaica, the Emancipation Declaration was read from the steps of the Old Kings House in Spanish Town, St Catherine, the country’s capital back then. Although, the enslaved did not receive full freedom until four years later, as all slaves over six years old were subjected to a mandatory six-year period of apprenticeship. The ex-slaves would work – without pay – for their former masters for three-quarters of the week (40 hours), in exchange for lodging, food, clothing, medical attendance and grounds on which they could grow their own provisions. Emancipation Day was officially announced as a public holiday in Jamaica in 1893. The ‘First of August’ celebrations, however, were discontinued in 1962, when Jamaica gained independence. It was replaced by Independence Day, which back then was celebrated on the first Monday in August. Emancipation Day was re-instituted in 1997 by then Prime Minister PJ Patterson as a national holiday celebrated on August 1 and Independence Day was also set at August 6.