Timeline of abolition of slavery and serfdom

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Proclamation of the Abolition of Slavery in the French Colonies 1849, by Francois Auguste Biard. Versailles Palace

The abolition of slavery occurred at different times in different countries. It frequently occurred sequentially in more than one stage - for example, as abolition of the trade in slaves in a specific country, and then as abolition of slavery throughout empires. Each step was usually the result of a separate law or action. This timeline shows abolition laws or actions listed chronologically.

This article also covers the abolition of serfdom.

Although slavery is now abolished de jure in all countries, some practices akin to it continue today in many places throughout the world.

Ancient times

Date Jurisdiction Description
326 BC Vexilloid of the Roman Empire.svg Roman Republic Lex Poetelia Papiria abolishes debt bondage.
3rd century BC Emblem of India.svg Maurya Empire Ashoka abolishes the slave trade and encourages people to treat slaves well in the Maurya Empire, covering the majority of India, which was under his rule.[1]
221–206 BC Qin dynasty (Chinese characters).svg Qin Dynasty Measures to eliminate the landowning aristocracy include the abolition of slavery and the establishment of a free peasantry who owed taxes and labor to the state. They also discouraged serfdom.[2] The dynasty was overthrown in 206 BC and many of its laws were overturned.
9–12 AD Xin Dynasty Wang Mang, first and only emperor of the Xin Dynasty, usurped the Chinese throne and instituted a series of sweeping reforms, including the abolition of slavery and radical land reform from 9–12 A.D.[3][4]

Medieval timeline

N.B.: Many of the listed reforms were reversed over succeeding centuries.
Date Jurisdiction Description
~500 Ireland Slavery (or at least slave trading) ends for a time in Ireland,[5] but resumes by the ninth century.[6]
873 Christendom Pope John VIII commands under penalty of sin that all Christians who hold other Christians as slaves must set them free. [7]
960 Flag of Republic of Venice.svg Venice Doge Pietro IV Candiano reconvenes the popular assembly and had it approve of a law prohibiting the slave trade in the Italian city-state.
1080 Flag of Basse-Normandie.svg Normandy and England William the Conqueror prohibits the sale of any person to "heathens" (non-Christians) as slaves.
1100 Flag of Basse-Normandie.svg Normandy Serfdom no longer present.[8]
1102 Flag of Basse-Normandie.svg England Slave trade and serfdom are condemned by the Church at the Council of London.
1117 Coat of arms of the Icelandic Commonwealth.svg Iceland Slavery abolished.[9] Reintroduced as Vistarband from 1490 to 1894 in various forms.
1214 Korčula The Statute of the Town abolishes slavery.[10]
1215 Haute-Normandie flag.svg England Magna Carta signed. Clause 30, commonly known as Habeas Corpus, would form the basis of a law against slavery in English common law.
~1220 War flag of the Holy Roman Empire (1200-1350).svg Holy Roman Empire The Sachsenspiegel, the most influential German code of law from the Middle Ages, condemns slavery as a violation of man's likeness to God.[11]
1256 War flag of the Holy Roman Empire (1200-1350).svg Holy Roman Empire The Liber Paradisus is promulgated. Bologna abolishes slavery and serfdom and releases all the serfs in its territories.
1274 Blason Norvège.svg Norway Landslov (Land's Law) mentions only former slaves, implying that slavery was abolished in Norway.
1290  England Edward I passes Quia Emptores, breaking any indenture to an estate, on the sale or transfer of the estate.
1315 Flag of France (XII-XIII).svg France Louis X publishes a decree abolishing slavery and proclaiming that "France signifies freedom", that any slave setting foot on French ground should be freed.[12] However some limited cases of slavery continued until the 17th century in some of France's Mediterranean harbours in Provence, as well as until the 18th century in some of France's overseas territories.[13] Most aspects of serfdom are also eliminated de facto between 1315 and 1318.[14]
1335 Shield of arms of Sweden.svg Sweden Slavery abolished (including Sweden's territory in Finland). However, slaves are not banned entry into the country until 1813.[15] In the 18th and 19th Centuries, slavery will be practiced in the Swedish-ruled Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy.
1347 Alex K Kingdom of Poland-flag.svg Poland The Statutes of Casimir the Great issued in Wiślica emancipate all non-free people.[16]
1368 Ming dynasty (Chinese characters).svg Ming Dynasty The Hongwu Emperor abolishes all forms of slavery,[3] but it continues across China. Later rulers, as a way of limiting slavery in the absence of a prohibition, pass a decree that limits the number of slaves per household and extracts a severe tax from slave owners.[17]
1416  Ragusa Slavery and slave trade abolished.
1435 Jean IV de Béthencourt Coat of Arms.png Canary Islands Pope Eugene IV's Sicut Dudum bans enslavement of Christians in the Canary Islands on pain of excommunication.[18] However the non-Christian Guanches can still be enslaved.[13]
1477  Castile Isabella I bans slavery in newly conquered territories.[19]
1486 Catalonia Aragon Ferdinand II promulgates the Sentence of Guadalupe, abolishing Carolingian-remnant serfdom (remença) in Old Catalonia.
1490  Castile The slaves of one particular trader are released by a royal cedula.[19]
1493  Castile Queen Isabella bans the enslavement of Native Americans unless they are hostile or cannibalistic.[19] Native Americans are ruled to be subjects of the Crown. Columbus is preempted from selling Indian captives in Seville and those already sold are tracked, purchased from their buyers and released.

Modern timeline

1500–1700 (Early Modern)

Date Jurisdiction Description
1503  Castile Native Americans allowed to travel to Spain only on their own free will.[20]
1512  Castile The Laws of Burgos establish limits to the treatment of natives in the Encomienda system.
1518 Spanish Empire Spain Decree of Charles V establishing the importation of African slaves to the Americas, under monopoly of Laurent de Gouvenot, in an attempt to discourage enslavement of Native Americans.
1528 Spanish Empire Spain Charles V forbids the transportation of Native Americans to Europe, even on their own will, in an effort to curtail their enslavement.
1530 Spanish Empire Spain Outright slavery of Native Americans under any circumstance is banned. However, forced labor under the Encomienda system continues.
1536 Spanish Empire Spain The Welser family is dispossessed of the Asiento monopoly (granted in 1528) following complaints about their treatment of Native American workers in Venezuela.
1537 New World Pope Paul III forbids slavery of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and any other population to be discovered, establishing their right to freedom and property (Sublimis Deus).[21]
1542 Spanish Empire Spain The New Laws ban slave raiding in the Americas and abolish the slavery of natives, but replace it with other systems of forced labor like the repartimiento. Slavery of Black Africans continues.[13] New limits are imposed to the Encomienda.
1549 Spanish Empire Spain Encomiendas banned from using forced labor.
1552 Spanish Empire Spain Bartolomé de las Casas, who had once defended the importation of African slaves as a way to protect Native Americans, also condemns African slavery.
1569  England An English court case involving Cartwright, who had brought a slave from Russia, is said—on the basis of a summary written more than a century later—to have ruled slavery illegal in England, but appears to have been more about the nature of legally acceptable punishment than slavery per se, and certainly did not soon become a recognized precedent for outlawing slavery as slaves continued to be bought and sold in Liverpool and London markets without legal hindrance into the 18th century. See the article "Slavery at common law".
1574  England Last remaining serfs emancipated by Elizabeth I.[14]
1588 Coat of arms of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.svg Lithuania The Third Statute of Lithuania abolishes slavery.[22]
1590  Japan Toyotomi Hideyoshi bans slavery except as punishment for criminals.[23]
1595  Portugal Trade of Chinese slaves banned.[24]
1609 Spanish Empire Spain The Moriscos, many of whom are serfs, are expelled from Peninsular Spain unless they become slaves voluntarily (known as moros cortados, "cut Moors").[25]
1624  Portugal Enslavement of Chinese banned.[26][27]
1683 Spanish Empire Chile Slavery of Mapuche prisoners of war abolished.[28]
1687 Spanish Empire Florida Slaves fugitive from British colonies are granted freedom in return for conversion to Catholicism and four years of military service.

1701–1799 (Late Modern)

Date Jurisdiction Description
1706  England In Smith v. Browne & Cooper, Sir John Holt, Lord Chief Justice of England, rules that "as soon as a Negro comes into England, he becomes free. One may be a villein in England, but not a slave."[29][30]
1723  Russia Slavery abolished but serfdom retained.[31]
1723-1730 Seal of Qing dynasty.svg Qing Dynasty The Yongzheng emancipation seeks to free all slaves to strengthen the autocratic ruler through a kind of social leveling that creates an undifferentiated class of free subjects under the throne. Although these new regulations freed the vast majority of slaves, wealthy families continued to use slave labor into the twentieth century.[17]
1706 British-Red-Ensign-1707.svg Georgia Province established without black slavery in sharp contrast to neighboring Carolina. In 1738, James Oglethorpe warns against changing that policy, which would "occasion the misery of thousands in Africa."[32] Native American slavery is legal throughout, however, and black slavery is later introduced in 1749.
1712  Spain Moros cortados expelled.[33]
1715 British-Red-Ensign-1707.svg North Carolina
British-Red-Ensign-1707.svg South Carolina
Indian slave trade in the American Southeast reduces with the outbreak of the Yamasee War.
1738 Spain Florida Fort Mose, the first legal settlement of free blacks in the modern territory of the United States, is established. Word of the settlement sparks the Stono Rebellion in South Carolina the following year.
1761  Portugal The Marquis of Pombal bans the importation of slaves to metropolitan Portugal[34]
1766 Bandera de España 1760-1785.svg Spain Muhammad III of Morocco purchases the freedom of all Muslim slaves in Seville, Cadiz and Barcelona.[35]
1772  Great Britain Somersett's case rules that no slave can be forcibly removed from Great Britain. This case was generally taken at the time to have decided that the condition of slavery did not exist under English law in England and Wales, and emancipated the remaining ten to fourteen thousand slaves or possible slaves in England and Wales, who were mostly domestic servants.[36]
1773  Portugal A new decree by the Marquis of Pombal, signed by the king Dom José, emancipates fourth-generation slaves[34] and every child of a slave mother born (the child) after the decree was published.[37]
1775  Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Abolition Society formed in Philadelphia, the first abolition society within the territory that is now the United States of America.
1775-1783 US flag 13 stars – Betsy Ross.svg United States Atlantic slave trade banned or suspended.[38]
1777 Portugal Madeira Slavery abolished.[39]
1777 Flag of the Vermont Republic.svg Vermont The Constitution of the Vermont Republic partially bans slavery,[39] freeing men over 21 and women older than 18 at the time of its passage.[40] The ban is not strongly enforced.[41]
1778  Scotland Joseph Knight successfully argues that Scots law cannot support the status of slavery.[42]
1780  Pennsylvania An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery passed, freeing future children of slaves. Those born prior to the Act remain enslaved for life. The Act becomes a model for other Northern states. Last slaves freed 1847.[43]
1783  Russia Slavery abolished in the recently annexed Crimean Khanate.[44]
1783  Massachusetts Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules slavery unconstitutional, a decision based on the 1780 Massachusetts constitution. All slaves are immediately freed.[45]
1783 Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg Habsburg Monarchy Joseph II abolishes slavery in Bukovina.[46]
1783  New Hampshire Gradual abolition of slavery begins.
1784  Connecticut Gradual abolition of slavery, freeing future children of slaves, and later all slaves.[47]
1784 Seal of Rhode Island.svg Rhode Island Gradual abolition of slavery begins.
1786 Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg New South Wales A no slavery policy is adopted by governor-designate Arthur Phillip for the soon-to-be established colony.[48]
1787 US flag 13 stars – Betsy Ross.svg United States The United States in Congress Assembled passes the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, outlawing any new slavery in the Northwest Territories.
1787 Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg Sierra Leone Founded by Great Britain as a colony for emancipated slaves.[49]
1787  Great Britain Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade founded in Great Britain.[39]
1788  Great Britain Sir William Dolben's Act regulating the conditions on British slave ships enacted.
1788 Kingdom of France France Abolitionist Society of the Friends of the Blacks founded in Paris.
1789 Kingdom of France France Last remaining seigneurial privileges over peasants abolished.[50]
1791  France Emancipation of second generation slaves in the colonies.[35]
1792  Denmark-Norway Transatlantic slave trade declared illegal after 1803, though slavery continues in Danish colonies to 1848.[51]
1793 Flag of Haiti (1791-1789).svg Saint-Domingue Commissioner Leger-Felicite Sonthonax abolishes slavery in the northern part of the colony. His colleague Etienne Polverel does the same in the rest of the territory in October.
1793 Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg Upper Canada Importation of slaves banned by the Act Against Slavery.
1794  France Slavery abolished in all French territories and possessions.[52]
1794 US flag 13 stars – Betsy Ross.svg United States The Slave Trade Act bans both American ships from participating in the slave trade and the importation of slaves by foreign ships.[38]
1798 France Occupied Malta Slavery banned in the islands after their capture by Napoleon.[53]
1799 Flag of New York (1778-1901).svg New York Gradual emancipation act freeing the future children of slaves, and all slaves in 1827.[54]
1799  Scotland The Colliers (Scotland) Act 1799 ends the legal slavery of coal miners that had been established in 1606.[55]

Contemporary Timeline

1800–1829

Illustration from the book: The Black Man's Lament, Or, How to Make Sugar by Amelia Opie. (London, 1826) 
Date Jurisdiction Description
1800  United States American citizens banned from investment and employment in the international slave trade in an additional Slave Trade Act.
1802  France Napoleon re-introduces slavery in sugarcane-growing colonies.[56]
1802 United States Ohio State constitution abolishes slavery.
1803  Denmark-Norway Abolition of transatlantic slave trade takes effect on January 1.
1804  New Jersey All the Northern states abolished slavery; New Jersey in 1804 was the last to act. None of the Southern or border states abolished slavery before the American Civil War.[57]
1804  Haiti Haiti declares independence and abolishes slavery.[39]
1804-1813 FLAG Topola.gif Serbia Local slaves emancipated.
1805  United Kingdom A bill for abolition passes in House of Commons but is rejected in the House of Lords.
1806  United States In a message to Congress, Thomas Jefferson calls for criminalizing the international slave trade, asking Congress to "withdraw the citizens of the United States from all further participation in those violations of human rights … which the morality, the reputation, and the best of our country have long been eager to proscribe."
1807  United States International slave trade made a felony in Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves; this act takes effect on 1 January 1808, the earliest date permitted under the Constitution.[58]
1807  United Kingdom Abolition of the Slave Trade Act abolishes slave trading in British Empire. Captains fined £120 per slave transported.
1807 Poland Warsaw Constitution abolishes serfdom.[59]
1807  United Kingdom Patrols sent to the African coast to arrest slaving vessels. The West Africa Squadron (Royal Navy) is established to suppress slave trading; by 1865, nearly 150,000 people freed by anti-slavery operations.[60]
1807  Prussia The Stein-Hardenberg Reforms abolish serfdom.[59]
1807 United States Michigan Territory Judge Augustus Woodward denies the return of two slaves owned by a man in Windsor, Upper Canada. Woodward declares that any man "coming into this Territory is by law of the land a freeman."[61]
1808  United States Importation and exportation of slaves made a crime.[62]
1810 Bandera de la Nueva España.svg New Spain Independence leader Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla demands the abolition of slavery.
1811  United Kingdom Slave trading made a felony punishable by transportation for both British subjects and foreigners.
1811  Spain The Cadiz Cortes abolish the last remaining seigneurial rights.[35]
1811  Chile The First National Congress approves a proposal of Manuel de Salas that declares Freedom of Wombs, freeing the children of slaves born in Chilean territory, regardless of their parents' condition. The slave trade is banned and the slaves who stay for more than six months in Chilean territory are automatically declared freedmen.
1812  Spain The Cadiz Constitution gives citizenship and equal rights to all residents in Spain and her territories, excluding slaves. Deputies José Miguel Guridi y Alcocer and Agustín Argüelles argue for the abolition of slavery unsuccessfully.[35]
1813 Bandera de la Nueva España.svg New Spain Independence leader José María Morelos y Pavón declares slavery abolished in the documents Sentimientos de la Nación.
1813 Flag of Belgrano (1812).svg La Plata Law of Wombs passed by the Assembly of Year XIII. The law states that those born after 31 January 1813 will be granted freedom when contracting matrimony, or on their 16th birthday for women and 20th for men, and upon their manumission will be given land and tools to work it.[63]
1814 Flag of Belgrano (1812).svg La Plata After the occupation of Montevideo, all slaves born in modern Uruguayan territory are declared free.
1814  Netherlands Slave trade abolished.
1815  Portugal Slave trade banned north of the Equator in return for a £750,000 payment by Britain.[64]
1815  United Kingdom
 Portugal
Swedish and Norwegian merchant flag 1818-1844.svg Sweden-Norway
Bourbon Restoration France
Austria Austria
 Russia
 Spain
 Prussia
The Congress of Vienna declares its opposition to slavery.[65]
1816 Eestimaa värvid.svg Estonia Serfdom abolished.
1817 Flag of the Courland Governorate.svg Courland Serfdom abolished.
1817  Spain Ferdinand VII signs a cedula banning the importation of slaves in Spanish possessions beginning in 1820,[35] in return for a £400,000 payment from Britain.[66] However, some slaves are still smuggled in after this date.
1817 Bandera de Angostura (20 de noviembre de 1817).svg Venezuela Simon Bolivar calls for the abolition of slavery.[35]
1817 Flag of New York (1778-1901).svg New York 4 July 1827 set as date to free all ex-slaves from indenture.[67]
1817 Flag of Argentina (alternative).svg La Plata Constitution supports the abolition of slavery, but does not ban it.[35]
1818  United Kingdom
 Spain
Bilateral treaty abolishing the slave trade.[68]
1818  United Kingdom
 Portugal
Bilateral treaty abolishing the slave trade.[68]
1818 Bourbon Restoration France Slave trade banned.
1818  United Kingdom
 Netherlands
Bilateral treaty taking additional measures to enforce the 1814 ban on slave trading.[68]
1819 Livonian colours.svg Livonia Serfdom abolished.
1819 United Kingdom Upper Canada Attorney-General John Robinson declares all black residents free.
1819  Hawaii The ancient Hawaiian kapu system is abolished during the ʻAi Noa, and with it the distinction between the kauwā slave class and the makaʻāinana (commoners).[69]
1820  United States The Compromise of 1820 bans slavery north of the 36º 30' line.
1820 Indiana-StateSeal.svg Indiana The supreme court orders almost all slaves in the state to be freed in Polly v. Lasselle.
1820  Spain The 1817 abolition of the slave trade takes effect.[1][70]
1821 Flag of the Three Guarantees.svg Mexico The Plan of Iguala frees the slaves born in Mexico.[35]
1821 Flag of Peru (1821 - 1822).svg Peru Abolition of slave trade and implementation of a plan to gradually end slavery.[35]
1821  Gran Colombia Emancipation for sons and daughters born to slave mothers, program for compensated emancipation set.[71]
1822 Haiti Haiti Jean Pierre Boyer annexes Spanish Haiti and abolishes slavery there.
1822 United States Liberia Founded by the American Colonization Society as a colony for emancipated slaves.
1822 Flag of Greece (1822-1978).svg Greece Slavery abolished with independence.
1823  Chile Slavery abolished.[39]
1823  United Kingdom The Anti-Slavery Society is founded.
1824  Mexico The new constitution effectively abolishes slavery.
1824 Flag of the Federal Republic of Central America.svg Central America Slavery abolished.
1825 Flag of the Treinta y Tres.svg Uruguay Importation of slaves banned.
1825 Haiti Haiti France, with warships at the ready, demanded Haiti compensate France for its loss of slaves and its slave colony
1827  United Kingdom
Swedish and Norwegian merchant flag 1818-1844.svg Sweden-Norway
Bilateral treaty abolishing the slave trade.[68]
1827 Flag of New York (1778-1901).svg New York Last vestiges of slavery abolished. Children born between 1799 and 1827 are indentured until age 25 (females) or age 28 (males).[72]
1828  Illinois In Phoebe v. Jay, the Illinois Supreme Court rules that indentured servants in Illinois cannot be treated as chattel and bequeathing them by will is illegal.[73]
1829  Mexico Last slaves freed just as the first president of partial African ancestry (Vicente Guerrero) is elected.[39]

1830–1849

An anti-slavery map with an unusual perspective centered on West Africa, which is in the light, and contrasting the U. S. and Europe in the dark. By Julius Rubens Ames, 1847 
Date Jurisdiction Description
1830 Flag of Coahuila y Tejas.svg Coahuila y Tejas Mexican President Anastasio Bustamante attempts to implement the abolition of slavery. To circumvent the law, Anglo-Texans declare their slaves "indentured servants for life."[74]
1830  Uruguay Slavery abolished.
1831 Flag of Bolivia (state, 1826-1851).svg Bolivia Slavery abolished.[39]
1831 Empire of Brazil Brazil Law of 7 November 1831, abolishing the maritime slave trade, banning any importation of slaves, and granting freedom to slaves illegally imported into Brazil. The law was seldom enforced prior to 1850, when Brazil, under British pressure, adopted additional legislation to criminalize the importation of slaves.
1834  United Kingdom The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 comes into force, abolishing slavery throughout most of the British Empire but on a gradual basis over the next six years.[75] Legally frees 700,000 in the West Indies, 20,000 in Mauritius, and 40,000 in South Africa. The exceptions are the territories controlled by the East India Company and Ceylon.[76]
1834 France France French Society for the Abolition of Slavery founded in Paris.[77]
1835  Serbia Freedom granted to all foreign slaves that cross the autonomous principality's borders.[78]
1835  United Kingdom
France France
Bilateral treaty abolishing the slave trade.[68]
1835  United Kingdom
 Denmark
Bilateral treaty abolishing the slave trade.[68]
1835  Peru A decree of Felipe Santiago Salaverry re-legalizes the importation of slaves from other Latin American countries. The line "no slave shall enter Peru without becoming free" is taken out of the Constitution in 1839.[79]
1836  Portugal Transatlantic slave trade abolished.
1836 Flag of the Republic of Texas (1836-1839).svg Texas Slavery made legal again with independence.
1836  Portugal Prime Minister Sá da Bandeira bans the importation and exportation of slaves from or to the Portuguese colonies south of the equator.
1837  Spain Slavery abolished outside of the colonies.[35]
1838  United Kingdom All slaves in the colonies become free after a period of forced apprenticeship following the Slavery Abolition Act 1833.
1839  United Kingdom The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society (today known as Anti-Slavery International) replaces the Anti-Slavery Society.
1839 Flag of the British East India Company (1801).svg East India Company The Indian indenture system is abolished in territories controlled by the Company, but this is reversed in 1842.
1840  United Kingdom
 Venezuela
Bilateral treaty abolishing the slave trade.
1840  United Kingdom First World Anti-Slavery Convention meets in London.
1841  United Kingdom
 France
 Russia
 Prussia
Austrian Empire Austria
Quintuple Treaty agreeing to suppress the slave trade.[39]
1841  United States United States v. The Amistad finds that the slaves of La Amistad were illegally enslaved and were legally allowed, as free men, to fight their captors by any means necessary.
1842  United Kingdom
 Portugal
Bilateral treaty extending the enforcement of the slave trade ban to Portuguese ships south of the Equator.
1842  Paraguay Law for the gradual abolition of slavery passed.[35]
1843 Flag of the British East India Company (1801).svg East India Company The Indian Slavery Act, 1843, Act V abolishes slavery in territories controlled by the Company.
1843  United Kingdom
 Uruguay
Bilateral treaty abolishing the slave trade.[68]
1843  United Kingdom
 Mexico
Bilateral treaty abolishing the slave trade.[68]
1843  United Kingdom
 Chile
Bilateral treaty abolishing the slave trade.[68]
1843  United Kingdom
Flag of Bolivia (state, 1826-1851).svg Bolivia
Bilateral treaty abolishing the slave trade.[68]
1845  United Kingdom 36 Royal Navy ships assigned to the Anti-Slavery Squadron, making it one of the largest fleets in the world.
1845 Seal of Illinois.svg Illinois In Jarrot v. Jarrot, the Illinois Supreme Court frees the last indentured ex-slaves in the state who were born after the Northwest Ordinance.[73]
1846  Tunisia Ahmad I ibn Mustafa abolishes the slave trade under British pressure, but this is later reversed by his successor, Muhammad II ibn al-Husayn.[80]
1847  Ottoman Empire Slave trade from Africa abolished.[81]
1847 Unofficial flag of Saint-Barthélemy.png Saint Barthélemy Last slaves freed.[82]
1847  Pennsylvania The last indentured ex-slaves, born before 1780 (fewer than 100 in the 1840 census[83], but over than 60 and also over than 25) are freed.
1848 Austrian Empire Austria Serfdom abolished.[84][85][86]
1848  France Slavery abolished in the colonies. Gabon is founded as a settlement for emancipated slaves.
1848 Denmark Danish West Indies Slavery abolished.[39][82]
1848  United Kingdom
Muscat and Oman Muscat and Oman
Bilateral treaty abolishing the slave trade.[68]
1849  United Kingdom
 Trucial States
Bilateral treaty abolishing the slave trade.[68]
1849 Coat of Arms of Cecil Calvert.svg Maryland Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery in Dorchester County.
1849 United Kingdom Sierra Leone The Royal Navy destroys the slave factory of Lomboko.

1850–1899

Medical examination photo of Gordon showing his scourged back, widely distributed by Abolitionists to expose the brutality of slavery 
Date Jurisdiction Description
1850  United States The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 requires the return of escaped slaves to their owners regardless of the state they are in.
1850 Empire of Brazil Brazil Eusébio de Queiróz Act (Law 581 of 4 September 1850) criminalizing the maritime slave trade as piracy, and imposing other criminal sanctions on the importation of slaves (already banned in 1831).
1851 Empire of Brazil Brazil

 Uruguay

Bilateral treaty of October 12th, Uruguay accepts returning to Brazil the escaped slaves from that country.
1851 Flag of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.svg Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Slavery abolished along with opium, gambling, tobacco, alcohol, polygamy, prostitution and foot binding.[87][88][89]
1851 Flag of New Granada.svg New Granada Slavery abolished.[71]
1851  Ecuador Slavery abolished.[90]
1852 Hawaii Hawaii Slavery abolished.[91]
1853 Argentine Confederation Argentina Slavery abolished.[92]
1854  Peru Slavery abolished.[39]
1854  Venezuela Slavery abolished.[39][71]
1855  Moldavia Slavery abolished.
1856  Wallachia Slavery abolished.
1857  United States Dred Scott v. Sanford rules that black slaves and their descendants can't gain American citizenship and that slaves aren't entitled to freedom even if they live in a free state for years.
1859 Atlantic Ocean Definitive suppression of the transatlantic slave trade.
1859  United States The Wyandotte Constitution establishes the future state of Kansas as a free state, after four years of armed conflict between pro-slavery and anti-slavery groups in the territory. Southern dominance in the Senate of the United States delays the admission of Kansas as a state until 1861.
1860  United Kingdom British Raj Indian indenture system abolished.
1861  Russia The Emancipation reform of 1861 abolishes serfdom.[93]
1861  United States The election of Abraham Lincoln leads to the attempted secession of several slaveholding states and the American Civil War.
1862  United States
 United Kingdom
Bilateral treaty abolishing the slave trade (African Slave Trade Treaty Act).[68]
1862 Spain Cuba Slave trade abolished.[39]
1863  Netherlands Slavery abolished in the colonies, emancipating 33,000 slaves in Surinam, 12,000 in the Dutch Antilles,[94] and an indeterminate number in Indonesia.
1863  United States Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves in Confederate-controlled areas. Most slaves in "border states" are freed by state action, and a separate law frees the slaves in Washington, D.C.
1864 Military ensign of Vistula Flotilla of Congress Poland.svg Poland Serfdom abolished.[95]
1865  United States Slavery abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment, excluding convicted criminals. It affects 40,000 remaining slaves.[96]
1865  Spain Spanish Abolitionist Society founded in Madrid by Julio Vizcarrondo, José Julián Acosta and Joaquín Sanromá.[35]
1866 United States Indian Territory Slavery abolished.[97]
1867  Spain Law of Repression and Punishment of the Slave Trade.[35]
1867  United States Peonage Act of 1867, mostly targeting use of Native American peons in New Mexico Territory.
1868 Spain Cuba Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and other independence leaders free their slaves and proclaim the independence of Cuba, starting the Ten Years War.
1869  Portugal Louis I abolishes slavery in all Portuguese territories and colonies.
1870  Spain Amidst great opposition from the Cuban and Puerto Rican planters, Segismundo Moret drafts a "Law of Free Wombs" that frees the children of slaves, the slaves older than 65 years and the slaves serving in the Spanish Army, beginning in 1872.[35]
1871 Empire of Brazil Brazil Rio Branco Law (Law of Free Birth) makes the children born to slave mothers free.[98]
1873 PR Flag of 1873.jpg Puerto Rico Slavery abolished.
1873  United Kingdom
Flag of the Sultanate of Zanzibar.svg Zanzibar
Merina Kingdom flag.svg Madagascar
Triple treaty abolishing the slave trade.[68]
1874  Gold Coast Slavery abolished.[99]
1879 Bulgaria Bulgaria Slavery abolished with independence. The Constitution states that any slave that enters Bulgarian territory is immediately freed.
1882  Ottoman Empire A firman emancipates all slaves, white and black.[100]
1884  Cambodia Slavery abolished.
1885 Empire of Brazil Brazil Sexagenarians Law (a.k.a. Saraiva-Cotegipe Act) passed, freeing all slaves over the age of 60 and creating other measures for the gradual abolition of slavery, such as a Manumissions Fund administered by the State.
1886 Spain Cuba Slavery abolished.[39]
1888 Empire of Brazil Brazil Golden Law decreeing the total abolition of slavery with immediate effect, without indemnities to slave owners, but the financial aid to the freedmen planned by the monarchy never takes place due to a military coup that establishes a Republic in the country.[101]
1889 Kingdom of Italy Italy An Italian court finds that Josephine Bakhita was never legally enslaved according to Italian, British or Egyptian law and is a free woman.
1890  United Kingdom
 France
Germany Germany
 Portugal
Congo Free State Congo
Kingdom of Italy Italy
 Spain
 Netherlands
 Belgium
 Russia
 Austria-Hungary
Union Jack of Sweden and Norway (1844-1905).svg Sweden-Norway
 Denmark
 United States
 Ottoman Empire
Flag of the Sultanate of Zanzibar.svg Zanzibar
Tricolour Flag of Iran (1886).svg Persia
Brussels Conference Act – a collection of anti-slavery measures to put an end to the slave trade on land and sea, especially in the Congo Basin, the Ottoman Empire, and the East African coast.
1894 Korean Empire Korea Slavery abolished, but it survives in practice until 1930.[102]
1895 Flag of Muhammad Ali.svg Egypt Slavery abolished.[103]
1896 Flag of the Madagascar Protectorate (1885-1896).svg Madagascar Slavery abolished.
1897 Flag of Zanzibar Under British Rule.svg Zanzibar Slavery abolished.[104]
1897 Thailand Siam Slave trade abolished.[105]
1899 France Ndzuwani Slavery abolished.

1900–1949

Date Jurisdiction Description
1900 United States Guam Slavery abolished February 22, 1900, by proclamation of Richard P. Leary.[106]
1902 Ethiopian Empire Ethiopia Slavery abolished.citation needed
1904  United Kingdom
 Germany
 Denmark
 Spain
 France
Kingdom of Italy Italy
 Netherlands
 Portugal
 Russia
International Agreement for the suppression of the White Slave Traffic signed in Paris. Only France, the Netherlands and Russia extend the treaty to the whole extent of their colonial empires with immediate effect, and Italy extends it to Eritrea but not to Italian Somaliland.[107]
1906  Qing Dynasty Slavery abolished beginning in 31 January 1910. Adult slaves are converted into hired laborers and the minors freed upon reaching age 25.[31]
1912 Thailand Siam Slavery abolished.[105]
1922  Morocco Slavery abolished.[108]
1923  Afghanistan Slavery abolished.[109]
1923  Florida Convict lease is abolished following the death of Martin Tabert the previous year, as a result of being whipped for being too ill to work.
1924 Kingdom of Iraq Iraq Slavery abolished.citation needed
1924  League of Nations Temporary Slavery Commission appointed.
1926    Nepal Slavery abolished.citation needed
1926  League of Nations Convention to Suppress the Slave Trade and Slavery.
1927  Spain 1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1928 Flag of Persia (1910-1925).svg Persia Slavery abolished.[110]
1928 Flag of Sierra Leone 1916-1961.gif Sierra Leone Abolition of domestic slavery practised by local African elites.[111] Although established as a place for freed slaves, a study found practices of domestic slavery still widespread in rural areas in the 1970s.citation needed
1928  Alabama Convict lease abolished, the last state in the Union to do so.
1930  League of Nations Forced Labour Convention.
1935 Ethiopian Empire Ethiopia The invading Italian General Emilio De Bono claims to have abolished slavery in the Ethiopian Empire.[112]
1936 Flag of the Northern Nigeria Protectorate.svg Northern Nigeria Slavery abolished.[113]
1941  United States Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Circular 3591 abolishing all forms of convict leasing.
1946 Merchant Flag of Germany (1946-1949).svg Occupied Germany Fritz Sauckel, Nazi official responsible for procuring forced labor in occupied Europe during World War II, is convicted of crimes against humanity and hanged.citation needed[114]
1948  United Nations Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares slavery contrary to human rights.[115]

1950–present

Date Jurisdiction Description
1952  Qatar Slavery abolished.citation needed
1953  Australia
 Canada
 Liberia
 New Zealand
 South Africa
  Switzerland
 United Kingdom
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1954  Afghanistan
 Austria
 Cuba
 Denmark
 Egypt
 Finland
 India
 Italy
 Mexico
 Monaco
 Sweden
 Syria
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1955  Ecuador
Kingdom of Greece Greece
Kingdom of Iraq Iraq
 Israel
 Netherlands
 Pakistan
 Philippines
 Republic of China
 Turkey
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1956  United Nations Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery.
1956 Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic Byelorussia[116]
 Soviet Union
United States United States
 South Vietnam
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1957  United Nations The Abolition of Forced Labour Convention eliminates some exceptions admitted in the 1930 Forced Labour Convention.
1957  Albania
 Libya
 Myanmar
 Norway
 Romania
 Sudan
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1958  Bhutan Slavery abolished.citation needed
1958  Hungary
 Ceylon
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1959  Jordan
 Morocco
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic Ukraine[117]
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1960  Niger Slavery abolished.[118]
1961  Ireland
 Nigeria
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1962  Saudi Arabia Slavery abolished.citation needed
1962  North Yemen Slavery abolished.citation needed
1962  Belgium
 Sierra Leone
 Tanganyika
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1963  Algeria
 France
 Guinea
 Kuwait
   Nepal
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1964  Trucial States Slavery abolished.citation needed
1964  Jamaica
 Madagascar
 Niger
 Uganda
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1964  United States The Civil Rights Act equalizes the rights of all citizens nationwide.
1965  Malawi 1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1966  Brazil
 Malta
 Trinidad and Tobago
 Tunisia
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1966  United States Lyndon B. Johnson abolishes involuntary servitude.
1968  Mongolia 1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1969 Ethiopian Empire Ethiopia
 Mauritius
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1970  Oman Slavery abolished.citation needed
1972  Fiji 1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1973  West Germany
 Mali
 Saudi Arabia
 Zambia
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1974  Lesotho 1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1976  Bahamas
 Barbados
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1981  Mauritania Slavery abolished.[119][120][121]
1981  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
 Solomon Islands
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1982  Papua New Guinea 1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1983  Bolivia
 Guatemala
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1984  Cameroon 1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1985  Bangladesh 1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1986  Cyprus
 Mauritania
 Nicaragua
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1987  North Yemen 1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1990  Bahrain
 Saint Lucia
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1992  Croatia 1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1993  Bosnia and Herzegovina 1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1994  Dominica 1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1995  Chile 1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1996  Azerbaijan 1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
1997  Kyrgyzstan
 Turkmenistan
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
2001  Serbia and Montenegro
 Uruguay
1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
2003  Niger Slavery criminalized.[118]
2006  Montenegro 1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
2007  Mauritania Slavery criminalized.[122]
2007  Paraguay 1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
2008  Kazakhstan 1926 Slavery Convention ratified.
2009  United Kingdom Section 71 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.[123]
2015  United Kingdom Modern Slavery Act 2015.[124]
2017 Navajo flag.svg Navajo Nation Criminalization of Human Trafficking[125]
Present Worldwide Although slavery is now abolished de jure in all countries,[126][127] de facto practices akin to it continue today in many places throughout the world.[128][129][130][131]

See also

References

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Further reading

  • Bales, Kevin. "Disposable People" (University of California Press, 2012)
  • Campbell, Gwyn. The Structure of Slavery in Indian Ocean Africa and Asia (Frank Cass, 2004)
  • Drescher, Seymour. Abolition: A History of Slavery and Antislavery (Cambridge University Press, 2009)
  • Finkelman, Paul, and Joseph Miller, eds. Macmillan Encyclopedia of World Slavery (2 vol 1998)
  • Gordon, M. Slavery in the Arab World (1989)
  • Hinks, Peter, and John McKivigan, eds. Encyclopedia of Antislavery and Abolition (2 vol. 2007) 795pp; ISBN 978-0-313-33142-8
  • Lovejoy, Paul. Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa (Cambridge UP, 1983)
  • Morgan, Kenneth. Slavery and the British Empire: From Africa to America (2008)
  • Rodriguez, Junius P., ed. The Historical Encyclopedia of World Slavery (1997)
  • Rodriguez, Junius P., ed. Encyclopedia of Emancipation and Abolition in the Transatlantic World (2007)

External links