Naval Heritage Centenary

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Timeline - What happened after 1807?

1807

Great Britain passes the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act abolishing the Transatlantic slave trade and levying fines on British captains importing slaves of up to £100 per slave.

United States entirely abolishes Slave Trade.

British minister in Lisbon instructed to lobby for Treaty to abolish Portuguese slave trade

1808

British West Africa Squadron is established at Sierra Leone to suppress the British slave trade.

British Minister in Madrid instructed to lobby for Treaty to abolish Spanish slave trade.

1810

Portugal signs Treaty with Great Britain to abolish slave trade gradually, and in the mean time to prohibit it in places where it was discontinued by other powers.

1818

‘Felony Act’ makes Slave Trade a felony. British subjects engaged in it will be punished with transportation or five years imprisonment.

1814

Denmark signs treaty with Great Britain, to prohibit slave trade.

Holland decrees to forbid Dutch slave trade on Coast of Africa.

Austria, Russia, Prussia and France engage at Congress to assist Great Britain in abolishing the slave trade.

Spain signs treaty with Great Britain to permit slave trade solely for the supply of her own possessions.

1815

Great Britain, Austria, France, Portugal, Prussia, Spain and Sweden sign a Declaration denouncing the slave trade at the Congess of Vienna.

Portugal signs treaty with Great Britain declaring Portugal slave trade north of the equator illegal, fixing a period for its entire abolition, and permitting the Trade only for its Transatlantic possessions.

Napoleon issues a decree abolishing all French slave trade

1817

Louis XVIII issues a decree abolishing French slave trade.

Portugal signs treaty with Great Britain conceding the Right of Search (allowing the Royal Navy to search vessels suspected of trading slaves), establishing Mixed Commissions, and regulating Portuguese slave trade south of the equator.

Spain signs treaty with Great Britain abolishing the slave trade north of the equator, conceding Right of Search, establishing Mixed Commissions and commit to abolish the slave trade entirely after 30 May 1820.

1818

Netherlands sign treaty with Great Britain to suppress their slave trade, conceding Right of Search and establishing Mixed Commissions

1820

United States pass law declaring the American slave trade an act of piracy punishable by death.

1822

Spain add an article to the 1817 Treaty, authorising the condemnation of vessels proved to have had slaves on board on the voyage in which they were taken.

Netherlands add an article to the 1818 Treaty for the same purpose.

1823

Netherlands add an article to the 1818 Treaty authorising vessels engaged in the slave trade be condemned for slave trade equipment and broken up.

Portugal add an article to the 1817 Treaty authorising the condemnation of vessels proved to have had slaves on board on the voyage in which they were taken.

Anti-Slavery Committee is formed to campaign for the total abolition of slavery. Members include Thomas Clarkson, Henry Brougham, William Wilberforce and Thomas Fowell Buxton.

1824

Act of Parliament declares the slave trade an act of piracy, punishable by death.

Sweden signs treaty with Great Britain to suppress their slave trade, conceding Right of Search, establishing Mixed Commissions and authorising the condemnation of vessels equipped for the slave trade

Buenos Aires pass law declaring the American slave trade an act of piracy

1825

Buenos Aires and Columbia sign Treaty with Great Britain committing to the total abolition of the slave trade and forbidding it in its own dominions.

1826 Brazil signs treaty with Great Britain to abolish its slave trade in three years,

and in the interim, to adopt the 1817 Treaty between Portugal and Great Britain

Mexico signs Treaty with Great Britain committing to the total abolition of the slave trade and forbidding it in its own dominions.

1827

France passes law to punish those engaged in the slave trade by fine, imprisonment and banishment.

1831

France signs treaty with Great Britain conceding a limited right of search.

Brazil passes decree to punish those engaged in the slave trade by fines and corporal punishment, and declaring that slave vessels arriving in Brazil will be confiscated.

Freed slave Mary Prince publishes The History of Mary Prince, an account of her experiences as a slave.  The book becomes a powerful instrument in the campaign against slavery.

1832

Brazil orders for ships to be searched on their arrival at Rio to enforce the 1831 Decree.

1833

France signs treaty with Great Britain authorising the condemnation of slave vessels equipped for the slave trade.

The Abolition of Slave Act abolishes slavery in all of Great Britain’s colonies.  Twenty million pounds is granted in compensation to slave holders.  The Act declares free all slaves under the age of 6 years.  Former slaves must serve as apprentices for 4 years before being freed.

William Wilberforce dies three days after the Bill is passed by Parliament

1834

Denmark and Sardinia sign treaty with Great Britain and France, agreeing to the terms of the previous treaties between the two nations in 1831 and 1833.

1835

Spain signs treaty with Great Britain entirely abolishing the slave trade, granting the Right of Search, establishing Mixed Commissions, authorising that vessels equipped for the slave trade be condemned and broken up, and declaring that slaves liberated by the Mixed Commission should be delivered to the government whose cruiser made the capture Sweden and Norway add an article to 1824 Treaty, stipulating that vessels condemned for the slave trade should be broken up before sale.

Russia issues a circular withdrawing her protection from slave vessels making use of her flag.

1836

Portugal issues a decree abolishing the slave trade, limiting the number of slaves to be transported by colonists, committing to punish Portuguese slave traders and authorising the condemnation of vessels equipped for the slave trade.

1837

Netherlands add an article declaring that vessels condemned for the slave trade should be broken up before sale.

Bolivia signs treaty with Great Britain to co-operate in the total abolition of the slave trade and prohibiting its subjects engaging in the trade.

Tuscany signs treaty with Great Britain and France agreeing to the terms of the previous treaties between the two nations in 1831 and 1833.

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1838

Naples signs treaty with Great Britain and France agreeing to the terms of the previous treaties between the two nations in 1831 and 1833.

Great Britain pass an Act of Parliament reducing the punishment for the slave trade from that of death to transportation, or imprisonment for three years.

Enslaved people are emancipated in British colonies when the apprenticeship scheme fails.

1839

Chile and Venezuela sign treaty with Great Britain, conceding the Right of Search, the establishment of Mixed Commissions, authorising the condemnation of vessels equipped for the slave trade, and declaring that liberated slaves are to be given over to the government whose cruisers made the capture.

Argentine Confederation and Uruguay sign treaty with Great Britain on the same terms as the 1835 Treaty with Spain.

Act of Parliament passed authorising British cruisers to detain Portuguese slave vessels and British Vice-Admiralty courts to condemn them.

Haiti signs treaty with Great Britain and France agreeing to the terms of the previous treaties between the two nations in 1831 and 1833.

Slaves revolt on board the slave ship Amistad off the coast of Cuba, resulting in the arrest of the Africans on arrival in the United States.  American abolitionists rally to their cause.

Pope Gregory XVI issues a Bull against the slave trade.

1840

Greece issues a decree against the slave trade. 

Bolivia signs treaty with Great Britain on the same terms as the 1835 Treaty with Spain.

1841

Mexico signs treaty with Great Britain declaring slave trade an act of piracy, conceding a Right of Search, authorising that vessels equipped for the slave trade should be condemned and broken up before sale, and declaring that liberated slaves are to be given over to the government whose cruisers made the capture.

Tunis forbids the export of slaves from her possessions and commits to suppress the slave trade.

Austria, France, Prussia and Russia sign treaty with Great Britain for the more effectual suppression of the slave trade, extending the Right of Search, authorising the condemnation of vessels equipped for slave trade. Austria, Prussia and Russia declare the slave trade to be an act of piracy.

1842

Portugal signs a treaty with Great Britain giving British cruisers Right of Search, authorising the condemnation of vessels equipped for slave trade, establishing Mixed Commissions, declaring the slave trade to be an act of piracy, regulating the number of slaves to be carried by Portuguese subjects, declaring that liberated slaves are to be given over to the government whose cruisers made the capture.

United States signs Treaty with Great Britain agreeing to keep a fleet of guns on the Coast of Africa for the suppression of the slave trade.

Chile passes a law declaring the slave trade to be an act of piracy

Tunisia abolishes the slave trade and any children born to slaves are declared free

1843

Acts of Parliament 6 & 7 Vict, c.98 passed for the more effective suppression of the slave trade.

1845

Brazil announce that Convention of 1817 to cease, signifying the end of the Right to Search, and issues powers for negotiation of a new treaty.

Bolivia passes a law in Congress making the slave trade an act of piracy.

Venezuela issues a law entirely prohibiting the import of slaves and declaring them free on reaching Venezuelan territories.

Germany passes Resolution to prohibit the slave trade and to punish it as piracy or kidnapping.

Austria, Great Britain, Prussia and Russia authorise the detention of vessels having a larger quantity of water in casks than required for the use of the crew

Turkey abolishes its slave markets at Constantinople and the Sultan prohibits the import of slaves to ports in the Persian Gulf, and orders a squadron for that purpose

1847

Borneo signs a treaty with Great Britain for the suppression of the slave trade.

The independent chiefs of the Persian Gulf make treaties with Great Britain for the suppression of the slave trade.

New Grenada passes law prohibiting import and export of slaves.

1848

Persian prohibits import of slaves by sea.

Portugal appoints a Commission for inquiring into means of abolishing slave trade in Portuguese colonies.

Venezuela prohibits import of slaves.

France emancipates their slaves.

1849

Belgium signs to Treaty of 1841 between Great Britain, Austria, France, Prussia and Russia for suppression of African slave trade.

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1851

Brazil closes its slave depots south of Rio.

New Grenada signs treaty with Great Britain for the suppression of the slave trade and passes law for the total abolition of slavery in New Grenada.

Mexico passes law declaring slave trade to be an act of piracy.

Peru and Brazil add articles to treaties forbidding the introduction of negroes by land.

Sardinian government declare conviction of slave trading will be punished by fifteen years’ hard labour and fine of 24 000 lire.

1853 Brazil issues a decree for emancipation of slaves after 14 years’ service

Uruguay declare the slave trade to be an act of piracy

1853 – 1856

Crimean War breaks out and the Royal Navy’s strongest ships are withdrawn from both sides of the Atlantic, leading to an increase in the slave trade.

1854

Venezuela passes law entirely abolishing the slave trade.

1855

Brazil issues a decree declaring that Captains and Masters conveying slaves from one province to another without passports, to be punished by fine and imprisonment.

Egypt prohibits the import of slaves from Abyssinia.

Portugal passes laws for eventual abolition of slave trade in Ambriz, Cabenda and Molembo on the west coast of Africa and Macao dependencies, and granting freedom to all slaves arriving in Portugal or its colonies.

1857

Turkey sanctions the abolition of Negro slavery.

Portugal abolishes slave trade at St Vincent.

1858

Portugal issues decree abolishing slavery in Portuguese transmarine provinces in 20 years and prohibits the transfer of slaves to San Antao and San Nicolau, Cape Verde.

1859

United States introduce a Bill for the more effective suppression of the slave trade by the U S government.

Spain issues orders against the slave trade at Fernando Po.

1861

Comoro Islands make agreement with Great Britain on the abolition of the slave trade.

American Civil War begins, prompted by the north-south divide over slavery.

1862

United States signs treaty with Great Britain for the suppression of the slave trade.

1863

United States adds article to treaty extending the right of search to the coast of Madagascar.

1865

United States abolishes the slavery at the end of the American Civil War, with the introduction of the 13th Amendment.

1869

Portugal is the last European country to abolish the slave trade.

1886 Cuba abolishes slavery.

1888 Brazil abolishes slavery.

Sources:

Denman, J - Instructions for the Suppression of the Slave Trade: Chronology of treaties 1865

Lloyd, C - The Navy and the Slave Trade London: Longmans Green, 1949

Timeline on National Maritime Museum website: http://www.nmm.ac.uk/freedom/viewTheme.cfm/theme/timeline

‘Royal African Company Established’, Africans in America website, PBS. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1p269.html

Slavery author Brycchan Charey’s timeline on slavery and abolition. http://www.brycchancarey.com/slavery/chrono1.htm

New Internationalist, ‘History of Slavery’ http://www.newint.org/issue337/history.htm

Encyclopaedia of Slavery: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAslavery.htm

Understanding Slavery website: http://www.understandingslavery.com/

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