Emancipation Day in Trinidad and Tobago

Next on the unusually long list of public holidays for Trinidad and Tobago is Emancipation Day. Of course as is the custom in TnT, any excuse for a holiday comes with much praise. TnT was the first country to declare the day that slavery was abolished–a national holiday.

Emancipation Day celebrations start about a week in advance leading up to the day and is full of exciting cultural performances in dance, song and music! In recent time the events have attracted many foreign artists and visitors and has lead to Trinidad and Tobago being named the Emancipation Capital of the world!

The well known history of the New World is full of human plunder and atrocious acts unthinkable today. For many who lived in Africa, they found themselves many miles away from the place they called home. They worked under horrendous conditions on the Sugar Plantations of estate owners in the West Indian nations.

By 1802 the slave population of TnT had risen to over 20,000 and consisted mainly of African born persons. The climate was hot and humid. Many died from diseases and others often committed suicide. Thanks to the Humanitarian Movement, much changed in the West Indian colonies. The Emancipation Bill was presented in Parliament by Thomas Buxton in 1833 and the Act came into effect immediately. On August 1st, 1834, full freedom was granted to all slaves in Trinidad and Tobago. Many immediately left the plantations and moved to such places as Belmont and other parts of Port of Spain. Thus began a whole new life in this foreign land called Trinidad and Tobago.


Many families were able to create a normal life in their new homeland, allowing the African culture and traditions to become engrained in TnT’s society.

Emancipation Day celebrations are a great opportunity to experience TnT’s colourful heritage. Definitely recommended if you’re visiting Sweet TnT around this time.

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About Thannas

Thanna's Place is a family-owned bed and breakfast in Belmont, a suburb of Trinidad's capital Port of Spain.
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