International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition – August 23, 2022

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is observed annually on August 23. This day raises awareness about the horrifying nature of the slave trade and reminds people about the transatlantic slave trade and its implications. Did you know that the transatlantic slave trade affected over 15 million people, including children, for more than 400 years? This day is observed in memory of all victims of the slave trade and also aspires to promote critical examinations of such behaviors that could lead to modern forms of exploitation and slavery.

History of International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

The transatlantic trading patterns were established in the mid-17 century. It involved trading ships from Europe, sailing from Europe with manufactured goods to the west coast of Africa, where the goods would be exchanged for people captured by African traders. The transatlantic slave trade benefited the colonial powers of Western Europe primarily. The slave trade brought men, women and children who had been kidnapped, mainly from Africa, to labor as slaves in colonial settlements in Haiti, the Caribbean, and other regions of the world in inhumane conditions. During the final leg of the route, these ships returned home with cargoes of sugar, rum, tobacco, and other items.

More than 480,000 people were enslaved in the British Colonies by the 1790s. Enslaved people were forced to toil on plantations in the Caribbean and the Americas. These plantations produced products such as sugar or tobacco meant for consumption in Europe.

Towards the end of the eighteenth century, people started campaigning against slavery. Still, as it made significant contributions to the country’s economy, these Abolitionists (people who campaigned for the abolition of the slave trade) were fiercely opposed by the pro-slavery West Indian lobby. These enslaved people themselves resisted the end of slavery. Resistance for commons in the Caribbean and the slaves in the French colony of St. Domingue seized control of the island and was declared the Republic of Haiti. In 1807, the British government passed an Act that abolished the slave trade throughout the British Empire, but slavery persisted in the colonies until it was finally abolished in 1838. International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is observed to commemorate the uprising on August 23, 1791, in Santo Domingo, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic today, which played a crucial role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition timeline

1791
Uprising in Haiti

The uprising in Haiti plays a crucial role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

1807
Abolition of Slave Trade

The British government passes an Act that abolishes the slave trade throughout the British Empire, but slavery persists in some colonies.

1998
First Celebration of This Day

On August 23, 1998, people celebrate International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition for the first time.

1998
UNESCO Takes Charge

The UNESCO Executive Board adopts a resolution to invite all member states to organize events to mark August 23 every year.

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition FAQs

Why is this day celebrated?

The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade celebrates people’s fight to get freedom from slavery.

When was the Abolition of the International Slave Trade?

The Abolition of the International Slave Trade happened on March 25, 1807.

Which country abolished slavery first?

Haiti was the first country to ban slavery, and it was the first country to abolish the slave trade.

How to Observe International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

  1. Learn history

    Learn about the history of the slave trade and its negative consequences. Find out when and why it began.

  2. Spread awareness

    Spread awareness about the horrifying history of the slave trade. Let people know how people fought against which led to its abolishment.

  3. Attend events

    Many countries hold various events on this day, such as seminars, plays, poetry events, etc. Attend these events and learn more about the day.

5 Facts About International Day For The Remembrance Of The Slave Trade And Its Abolition

  1. Slave trade began much earlier

    The Slave trade started way earlier when the Portuguese began trafficking African captives in the 1440s.

  2. The U.S. was not a major destination

    Less than 5% of people ended up in the U.S., whereas most were enslaved in the Caribbean or Brazil (45% each).

  3. It lasted long

    Even though the British abolished it in 1807, it continued till 1850, and the last known slave ship is said to have sailed in 1866.

  4. The number of people remains unknown

    The number of persons transported from Africa is uncertain due to a lack of reliable records, although it is estimated to be between 9 and 11 million.

  5. Push for Abolition Came from the Church

    In the late 1700s, Christians in North America and Western Europe began rallying to abolish the transatlantic slave trade.

Why International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is Important

  1. It celebrates freedom

    This day celebrates the freedom of people enslaved. It also remembers and honors all the victims of this terrible practice of slavery.

  2. It is a celebration of human rights

    This day is a celebration of human rights. This day is proof that people eventually do get justice.

  3. It brings people together

    This day brings people together to fight for a common goal. People come together to fight for justice and the greater good.

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition dates

YearDateDay
2022August 23Tuesday
2023August 23Wednesday
2024August 23Friday
2025August 23Saturday
2026August 23Sunday

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