BBC HomeExplore the BBC

1 October 2014
Accessibility help
Text only

BBC Homepage
Scotland
Scotland Education
14+
History


Abolition of the Slave Trade


Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 

Timeline 1770-1807

1770s

The abolitionist campaigner Granville Sharpe collects evidence to show that slavery is not compatible with English Law.

1772

The Somersett legal case in London: Chief Justice Lord Mansfield rules that slaves in England cannot be forced to return to the West Indies.

1776-1783

American War of Independence.

1778

The Knight vs Wedderburn legal case in Edinburgh rules that slavery is not compatible with Scots law.

1781-1783

The Zong case: 131 African captives were thrown overboard from the slave ship Zong and drowned. The case is heard as an insurance dispute not a murder trial and this strengthens the abolition campaign.

1786

Thomas Clarkson’s 'An essay on the slavery and commerce of the human species’ is published.

1787

The Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade is founded.

'Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery' by Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, an ex-slave, is published.

1788

The Dolben Act limits the number of captives a ship is permitted to carry but conditions remain appalling.

1789

French Revolution.

'The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African’ is published.

1791

William Wilberforce presents the first Bill to abolish the slave trade to the House of Commons, but it is not passed.

A slave revolt on the French-controlled island of Saint Domingue is led by Toussaint Breda or L'Ouverture.

1792

House of Commons votes in favour of the abolition of the slave trade but Wilberforce’s Bill is rejected by the House of Lords.

1793

Outbreak of French Revolutionary War between Britain and France delays the campaign for the abolition of the slave trade.

1794

France abolishes slavery and frees all slaves in her colonies.

US Congress forbids American ships from being used in the slave trade.

1795-1796

Second Maroon War in Jamaica ends in defeat for the Maroons.

Fédon’s slave revolt in Grenada is defeated by British troops in 1796.

Slave revolt in St Vincent results in expulsion of Black Caribs from the island in 1796.

1796

Napoleon seizes power in France and restores slavery in the French colonies.

1802-1803

Toussaint L’Ouverture, leader of the Haitian Revolution, is taken prisoner by French and dies in captivity.

1804

On 1st January Saint Domingue is declared the republic of Haiti, the first independent black state outside Africa.

Denmark passes a law against the slave trade.

1807

Britain passes a law declaring the buying, selling and transporting of slaves illegal (but slave ownership continues).

The USA bans the slave trade.

Britain declares Sierra Leone in West Africa a colony.



The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy