Celebrating Freedom

Special Friday Edition: Let’s celebrate Juneteenth, which commemorates the abolition of slavery in the United States! How about we look at the timeline of freedom in this hemisphere. We’ll check the history of our neighbors in the Americas. The Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries of Central and South America departed from our model of the way to enact emancipation. Many liberated the children of slaves first, and their parents years later. Quite a few linked independence from Spain to new Constitutional rights for all.

The Dominican Republic was first to grant freedom to all enslaved Africans, 41 years before the United States. Brazil was last, twenty five years after the US. The South American giant was not the nation I expected to be the slowest to abolish slavery! Could it be that the countries with the largest slave populations had the most to lose by granting freedom to their unpaid laborers? What inferences do you make from the chronology below?

End of Slavery – Timeline of Freedom

Dominican Republic 1822 *

Chile 1823

Costa Rica 1824

El Salvador 1824

Guatemala 1824

Honduras 1824

Nicaragua 1824

Mexico 1824 – 1829

Bolivia 1831

Canada 1834

Uruguay 1842

Colombia 1851

Panamá 1851

Ecuador 1851

Argentina 1853

Perú 1854 *

Venezuela 1854

United States 1863

Paraguay 1869

Puerto Rico 1873

Cuba 1886

Brazil 1888

*Special Notes

  • The Dominican Republic was annexed by the other side of the island, Haiti from 1822 to 1844. Haiti’s African slaves had liberated themselves from bondage in 1804.
  • In Perú, the government bought each slaves’ freedom.

Were there any surprises as to which countries abolished slavery first, or very late in the list above?

Gracias for visiting Fake Flamenco! I appreciate your comments! ¡Olé! –Rebecca


Rebecca Cuningham

13 thoughts on “Celebrating Freedom

  1. Like Canada, slavery ended in then British Guiana in 1834, following the Abolition of Slavery Act passed by the British Parliament. I have no doubt that my African slave ancestors would have much preferred to have never been sold into slavery in the first place.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s complicated. 😉

    “The abolition of slavery in Latin America took place between the Wars of Independence of the 1810s and 1820s and the 1880s when slavery was finally suppressed in Cuba (in 1886) and Brazil (in 1888). Abolition thus coincided with the fight for (and the formation of) independent states in Latin America in the 19th century. Historians have paid increasing attention to this convergence, moving from economic and legal explanations to a focus on the conflicts not only over slavery but also over political and civil rights in emergent and consolidating national states. Within this broad framework, scholarship has concentrated on various topics, including slave agency, British pressure to suppress the slave traffic from Africa, abolitionism, and the transition from slavery to new labor regimes. In studying abolition, scholars need to keep in mind how much slavery varied across Latin America, including during the century of its demise. In the 19th century, the Wars of Independence in Spanish America, combined with British efforts to abolish the transatlantic slave trade, considerably weakened slaveholders and empowered slaves and supporters of abolition. In contrast, in Brazil and the Spanish Caribbean, the slave trade, which was illegal for much of the era, escalated, and plantation slavery spread at an incredible rate, especially in west-central Cuba and Brazil’s Paraíba Valley. Slavery persisted several decades longer in these places, and the struggles to abolish it were more complex. The scholarship is also more ample, so the reader will note that there are more works on abolition in Cuba and Brazil than in Mexico, Colombia, or other Spanish American countries.”


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your scholarship and research, Carolyn. Although it is true that the British banned slavery in their colonies in 1834, that was not an extremely early date as we see from the list. I think the article might have a bit of a bias toward England. Thanks for your comments, Rebecca


  3. Great post. I was also surprised by Brazil considering how large its Afro Brazilian population is. The rest of the list is not too surprisingand and had Simón Bolívar lived, I belive thatt he would have welcomed each nation eliminating the slave trade. in the wake of the explusion of the Spanish Empire.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the compliment. I appreciate your comments. You’ve got me thinking with your comment about Simón Bolívar. I’m going to write a post on him soon. From what I’ve read today, in 1816 he spoke out for the abolition of slavery! Thanks, Rebecca

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Just remembered Bolivar died in 1830 so he may have seen some of the early nations move towards ending the practice. However, being in exile and then contracting the illness that took his life may have proved to be obstacles in keeping up with all that was taking place at the time.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s