Emancipation Day is observed in many former European colonies in the Caribbean and areas of the United States on various dates to commemorate the emancipation of slaves of African descent.
The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 that abolished slavery throughout the British Empire came into force the following year, on 1 August 1834.
Only slaves below the age of six were freed. Enslaved people older than six years of age were redesignated as "apprentices" and required to work, 40 hours per week without pay, as part of compensation payment to their former owners. Full emancipation was finally achieved at midnight on 31 July 1838.
On August 1, 1985, Trinidad and Tobago became the first independent country to declare a national holiday to commemorate the abolition of slavery.