On August 1st 2021 Nova Scotia formally recognized Emancipation Day, the day named to commemorate the anniversary of British parliament abolishing slavery across its empire in 1834, freeing about 800,000 enslaved people of African descent throughout its British colonies. Recognizing the existence of slavery in Nova Scotia’s past, how it shaped centuries of our history, and its continued resonance today is vital.
Nova Scotia Archives is home to many records documenting the history of slavery across the province (including in Halifax, Annapolis and Sable Island among others). The documents collected in this resource build context around the recognition of Emancipation Day – including Nova Scotia’s history of slavery, the experience of enslaved people, the contemporary reaction to Emancipation (primarily from newspapers), and records of life after emancipation.
Newspaper coverage of the debate on "Colonial Slavery"
Date: 15 August 1833
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives The Novascotian, or Colonial Herald, Volume VI, Number XXXIII, Halifax, 15 August 1833
Newspaper article "Slavery in the West Indies"
Date: 27 August 1833
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives The Colonial Patriot, Volume VI, Number XXXV, Pictou, 27 August 1833
Newspaper article "Negro Emancipation Bubble"
Date: 14 September 1833
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Acadian Recorder, Number 37, Volume 21, Halifax, 14 September 1833
An Act to prevent the Clandestine Landing of Liberated Slaves and other Persons mentioned, from Vessels arriving in this Province.
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Nova Scotia Statutes 1834 Library J104 H6 1832-34
Newspaper article describing Emancipation Day in Bermuda and Montreal
Date: 21 August 1834
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives The Novascotian, or Colonial Herald, Volume VII Number XXXIV, Halifax, 21 August 1834
Newspaper article 'The West Indies'
Date: 4 September 1834
Reference: Nova Scotia Archives The Novascotian, or Colonial Herald, Volume VII, Number XXXVI, Halifax, 4 September 1834
Nova Scotia Archives — https://archives.novascotia.ca/african-heritage/results/
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