|Indian Slavery Act, 1843|
|Governor-General of India, Lord Ellenborough, in Council|
|Enacted by||Governor-General of India, Lord Ellenborough, in Council|
|Enacted||7 April 1843|
The Indian Slavery Act, 1843, also known as Act V of 1843, was an act passed in British India under East India Company rule, which outlawed many economical transactions associated with slavery.
The act states how the sale of any person as a slave was banned, and anyone buying or selling slaves would be booked under the Indian Penal Code with an offence carrying strict punishment.
Some East India Company officials opposed the act, citing Hindu and Muslim customs and maintaining the fact that the act would be seen as interference in traditional social structures.Evangelical politicians who had led successful slavery abolition campaigns in the West Indies prevailed and the Act was implemented.
Historians are divided on whether the Act was able to exclude caste and slavery.The condition of workers in tea plantations in Tamil Nadu and Assam were compared to that of African, West Indian counterparts who worked in sugar plantations. Lack of alternatives meant tea plantation workers had become indentured labourers despite the Act, which historian Amalendu Guha maintained was a new form of slavery.
A 1996 Human Rights Watch report refers to Manjari Dingwaney's book, Unredeemed Promises: The Law and Servitude, and states -
Various forms of debt bondage co-existed with formal slavery, and while the British abolished slavery legislatively through the Anti-Slavery Act of 1843, large numbers of former slaves traded their status for that of perpetually bonded servitude. This was in part due to the fact that the British did not abolish debt-bondage; instead, they regulated it.
Abolitionism, or the abolitionist movement, was the movement to end slavery. This term can be used both formally and informally. In Western Europe and the Americas, abolitionism was a historic movement that sought to end the Atlantic slave trade and set slaves free. King Charles I of Spain, usually known as Emperor Charles V, was following the example of Louis X of France, who had abolished slavery within the Kingdom of France in 1315. He passed a law which would have abolished colonial slavery in 1542, although this law was not passed in the largest colonial states, and it was not enforced as a result. In the late 17th century, the Roman Catholic Church officially condemned the slave trade in response to a plea by Lourenço da Silva de Mendouça, and it was also vehemently condemned by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839. The abolitionist movement only started in the late 18th century, however, when English and American Quakers began to question the morality. James Oglethorpe was among the first to articulate the Enlightenment case against slavery, banning it in the Province of Georgia on humanitarian grounds, and arguing against it in Parliament, and eventually encouraging his friends Granville Sharp and Hannah More to vigorously pursue the cause. Soon after his death in 1785, Sharp and More united with William Wilberforce and others in forming the Clapham Sect.
Debt bondage, also known as debt slavery or bonded labour, is the pledge of a person's services as security for the repayment for a debt or other obligation, where the terms of the repayment are not clearly or reasonably stated, and the person who is holding the debt and thus has some control over the laborer. Freedom is assumed on debt repayment. The services required to repay the debt may be undefined, and the services' duration may be undefined, thus allowing the person supposedly owed the debt to demand services indefinitely. Debt bondage can be passed on from generation to generation.
Slavery in the colonial history of the United States, from 1600 to 1776, developed from complex factors, and researchers have proposed several theories to explain the development of the institution of slavery and of the slave trade. Slavery strongly correlated with Europe's American colonies' need for labor, especially for the labor-intensive plantation economies of the sugar colonies in the Caribbean, operated by Great Britain, France, Spain, and the Dutch Republic.
An indentured servant or indentured laborer is an employee (indenturee) within a system of unfree labor who is bound by a signed or forced contract (indenture) to work without pay for the owner of the indenture for a period of time. The contract often lets the employer sell the labor of an indenturee to a third party. Indenturees usually enter into an indenture for a specific payment or other benefit, or to meet a legal obligation, such as debt bondage. On completion of the contract, indentured servants were given their freedom, and occasionally plots of land. Indentured servitude was often brutal, with a high percentage of servants dying prior to the expiration of their indentures. In many countries, systems of indentured labor have now been outlawed, and are banned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a form of slavery.
The Barbados Slave Code of 1661 was a law passed by the colonial English legislature to provide a legal basis for slavery in the Caribbean island of Barbados. The code's preamble, which stated that the law's purpose was to "protect them [slaves] as we do men's other goods and Chattels", established that black slaves would be treated as chattel property in the island's court. These codes identified Irish indentured servants working in Barbados providing stark contrast to the actual slaves "imported from the Americas and Africa." The Irish were to work a period for 2 years up to 7 years only. At such point the Irish would have the ability to buy and own property and pursue life with all liberties afforded them. The slaves imported from the Americas and Africa were enslaved for life as were all of their offspring and all in their lineage in perpetuity.
The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 abolished slavery throughout the British Empire. This Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom expanded the jurisdiction of the Slave Trade Act 1807 which made the purchase or ownership of slaves illegal within the British Empire, with the exception of "the Territories in the Possession of the East India Company", Ceylon, and Saint Helena. The Act was repealed in 1997 as a part of wider rationalisation of English statute law; however, later anti-slavery legislation remains in force.
The fugitive slave laws were laws passed by the United States Congress in 1793 and 1850 to provide for the return of slaves who escaped from one state into another state or territory. The idea of the fugitive slave law was derived from the Fugitive Slave Clause which is in the United States Constitution. It was thought that forcing states to deliver escaped slaves to slave owners violated states' rights due to state sovereignty and was believed that seizing state property should not be left up to the states. The Fugitive Slave Clause states that escaped slaves "shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due", which abridged state rights because retrieving slaves was a form of retrieving private property. The Compromise of 1850 entailed a series of laws that allowed slavery in the new territories and forced officials in free states to give a hearing to slaveholders without a jury.
The Indian indenture system was a system of indentured servitude, by which 2 million Indians were transported to labour in European colonies, as a substitute for slave labour, following the abolition of the trade in the early 19th century. The system expanded after the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in 1833, in the French colonies in 1848, and in the Dutch Empire in 1863. Indian indentureship lasted till the 1920s. This resulted in the development of a large Indian diaspora in the Caribbean, Natal, Réunion, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Myanmar, to Fiji, as well as the growth of Indo-Caribbean, Indo-African, Indo-Fijian, Indo-Malaysian, and Indo-Singaporean populations.
Slavery in India was an established institution in ancient India by the start of the common era, or likely earlier. However, its study in ancient times is problematic and contested because it depends on the translations of terms such as dasa and dasyu.
Slavery in Great Britain existed and was recognised from before the Roman occupation until the 12th century, when chattel slavery disappeared, at least for a time, after the Norman Conquest. Former slaves merged into the larger body of serfs in Britain and no longer were recognized separately in law or custom.
Historically, the enslavement of African people in the United States began in New York as part of the Dutch slave trade. The Dutch West India Company imported 11 African slaves to New Amsterdam in 1626, with the first slave auction being held in New Amsterdam in 1655. The last slaves were freed on July 4, 1827. Some younger black New Yorkers born to slave mothers continued to serve indentures into their 20s.
When the Dutch and Swedes established colonies in the Delaware Valley of what is now Pennsylvania, in North America, they quickly imported African slaves for workers; the Dutch also transported them south from their colony of New Netherland. Slavery was documented in this area as early as 1639. William Penn and the colonists who settled Pennsylvania tolerated slavery, but the English Quakers and later German immigrants were among the first to speak out against it. Many colonial Methodists and Baptists also opposed it on religious grounds. During the Great Awakening of the late 18th century, their preachers urged slaveholders to free their slaves. High British tariffs in the 18th century discouraged the importation of additional slaves, and encouraged the use of white indentured servants and free labor.
The Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the full title of which is the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery, is a 1956 United Nations treaty which builds upon the 1926 Slavery Convention, which is still operative and which proposed to secure the abolition of slavery and of the slave trade, and the Forced Labour Convention of 1930, which banned forced or compulsory labour, by banning debt bondage, serfdom, child marriage, servile marriage, and child servitude.
Slavery in Virginia dates to 1619, soon after the founding of Virginia as an English colony by the London Virginia Company. The company established a headright system to encourage colonists to transport indentured servants to the colony for labor; they received a certain amount of land for people whose passage they paid to Virginia.
Slavery in the Madras Presidency during the British Raj affected close to 20% of the population. The landlords were predominantly higher caste individuals. When those from the lower castes borrowed money against their land and defaulted, they entered a life of debt bondage. The slaves formed 12.2% of the total population in 1930.
Slavery in international law is governed by a number of treaties, conventions and declarations. Foremost among these is the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (1948) that states in Article 4: “no one should be held in slavery or servitude, slavery in all of its forms should be eliminated.”
Abolitionism in the United Kingdom was the movement in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to end the practice of slavery, whether formal or informal, in the United Kingdom, the British Empire and the world, including ending the Atlantic slave trade. It was part of a wider abolitionism movement in Western Europe and the Americas.
Indentured servitude in the Americas was a means by which immigrants, typically young Europeans under 25, came to the Americas from the early 17th to the early 20th centuries. Immigrants would contract to work for an employer for a certain time period, usually between one and seven years, in exchange for the employer paying for their passage to the Americas. The employers provided subsistence for their indentured servants, but no wages. They could restrict some of the servants activities such as marriage, could sell or transfer the contracts to other employers, and could seek legal sanctions, such as prison, if the servants ran away. At the end of the agreed time period, the servant would be free to go their own way or demand wages for their work. In some cases, the newly freed servants also received items of value such as parcels of land or new clothes.
The Truth and Justice Commission of Mauritius was an independent truth commission established in 2009, which explored the impact of slavery and indentured servitude in Mauritius. The Commission was tasked to investigate the dispossession of land, and “determine appropriate measures to be extended to descendants of slaves and indentured laborers.” It was “unique in that it [dealt] with socio-economic class abuses" and explored the possibility of reparations. The inclusion of reparations, whether for individuals or communities, was a controversial decision within the country which aimed to correct inequality. The Commission attempted to cover more than 370 years, the longest period of time that a truth commission has ever covered.
The Indian community in the United States Virgin Islands is made up of Indo-Caribbeans, Indian Americans and other persons of Indian origin. The first Indians in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) arrived in the Danish colony of Saint Croix in June 1863 as indentured workers. However, all of the nearly 325 Indians who came to Saint Croix left the island by the 1870s. Nearly two-thirds returned to India, while the others emigrated to Trinidad. Some settled in that country, while others returned to India from Trinidad.