EMANCIPATION




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The Abolition of Slavery


From 1770s onward, several influential pressure groups arose in England and France for an end to the slave trade and slavery. They became known as abolitionists. These abolitionists were religious humanitarians (Quakers, Methodists, Evangelical Anglicans, Baptists and Moravians), intellectuals, workers and a few former slaves. They pushed the popular opinion, using mass meetings and petitions. The most notable of the abolitionists were Granville Sharp, William Wilberforce, John Wesley and Thomas Buxton.


Emancipation in Trinidad


On 1 August 1838 full freedom was granted to the slaves. In both Trinidad and Tobago, many of the ex-slaves moved off the plantations. They did not want any reminders of their former masters. They set up villages close to the sugar estates, but not on the planters' land. Villages such as Belmont, Arouca, and Laventille were formed. Land was available and many of the ex-slaves bought or rented land and made a living by growing their own crops. Other slaves gravitated towards Port of Spain and San Fernando where they became artisans, craftsmen, builders and domestics.


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