August 23 : International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

EnglishIn 1998, to pay tribute to those who at the end of the 18th century fought against colonization, slavery and racism on the territory that is now Haiti, UNESCO declared August 23 the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

On the night of August 22-23, 1791, a general slave insurrection broke out in the French colony of Saint-Domingue. This conflagration opened the way to an unprecedented war which ended, in November 1803, with the battle of Vertières that brought the victory of the Indigenous Army over the troops of the Napoleonic army who had come to re-establish slavery abolished since 1793. Giving back to this land its original Taïno name of Haiti announced a deep desire for profound change at the time of the proclamation of Independence on January 1st 1804.

Independence was unacceptable in a world based on slavery and colonialism. The price to pay was heavy for the young republic, and it was even heavier for the inhabitants of the countryside, anonymous heroes and heroines of this war, for whom the notions of freedom, equality, honor and dignity were to find their full meaning in the radical rejection of the old order.

This long history of dehumanization lasted four centuries and still profoundly marks the world today. Over time, the documentation on the slave trade and on slavery has become more and more extensive. Social scientists, historians, geographers, archaeologists and philosophers have delved into it to understand, analyze, compare and branch out the components of this vast global enterprise that was the transatlantic and Indian Ocean slave trade and the enslavement of millions of captives taken from the African continent. The world of creation, from the visual arts to writing, music and dance, has also opened up important insights into the traces left by these crimes, but also into the power of refusal and the strength of emancipatory struggles.

In these dreadful times, when our country is experiencing an extreme level of destructive violence, we must reflect on what that night of August 22-23, 1791 held in promise for a new world, and try to rediscover the deep meaning of these ideas of freedom and equality that are at the very foundation of what Haiti is.



Contact and address

143, Avenue Christophe BP 2720 HT 6112
Port-au-Prince,Haïti | Tel : (509) 2813-1694

logos 3




Key words


Subscribe to Fokal news

Copyright © 2017 FOKAL. | Design by: