slavery abolition act

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August 1st 1834: Britain abolishes slavery

On this day in 1834, slavery was abolished in the British Empire as the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act came into force. Britain had dominated the Atlantic slave trade for hundreds of years, with millions of people being forcibly taken from Africa to the Americas while businessmen in Britain profited from their plight. The campaign for abolition began in the late eighteenth century, countering claims that slaves were content with the brutal reality of life aboard a slave ship and toiling in a plantation. One of the primary actors in the movement to abolish the slave trade was freed slave Olaudah Equiano, whose eloquent autobiography articulated the horrors of slavery. The slave trade was thus banned in 1807, and this was enforced by the British navy on the West African coast, but the practice continued and captains would throw slaves overboard to avoid fines. The Anti-Slavery Society was formed in 1823 to campaign for the complete abolition of slavery in the British Empire, led by the politician William Wilberforce. The abolition movement was partly fueled by humanitarian concern, but also changing economic interests, as the newly industrial Britain no longer relied on slave-based goods, and slave rebellions in Haiti and Jamaica indicated that slavery was becoming unprofitable. The 1833 act was passed by the House of Commons and the House of Lords, before receiving Royal Assent from King William IV in August; Wilberforce died three days after hearing that the bill would pass. Due to come into effect a year later, it provided for the eventual emancipation of slaves in the British Empire (they were to become ‘apprentices’ for six years before freedom), while providing £20 million (nearly £70 billion in modern currency) in compensation for slaveowners. Whilst this act ostensibly ended slavery, it did not completely eradicate the practice, as some areas of the British Empire were initially exempt and others continued to secretly sell slaves throughout the nineteenth century.

37 Things that make Yorkshire the greatest place on Earth

What better way to celebrate Yorkshire Day than to make a list about God’s County:-

1.  We love a good debate

No matter how long or short it might be.

2.  We love to have a moan every now and again

Doncaster’s Jeremy Clarkson has a common characteristic of people from Yorkshire.

3.  But overall we’re a friendly bunch of people

We think it’s rude if you don’t say hello and goodbye to complete strangers in the street.

4.  We have our own language

The letter ‘T’ is normally added to every word and we like to be more efficient with our use of language by missing words out of our sentences.

5.  And our own tea

You just can’t beat a proper brew of Yorkshire Tea.

6.  And we made Sunday Lunch even more amazing

Yorkshire Puddings are the show-stoppers to every Sunday lunch.

7.  We won more gold medals than Brazil at London 2012

The 2016 hosts didn’t stand a chance against our competitive streak.

8.  And we’ve got the best county cricket team in the country

Hoooowwwwzzzaatt?

9.  We’ve got The Bronte’s 

Haworth’s Bronte sisters were the cornerstone of Victorian literature.

10.  And the Brownlee’s

Bike, swim and run - the Brownlee brothers have owned the most gruelling form of athletics all over the world.

11.  And Bean

If you need a Yorkshireman a little rough around the edges to play a part then look no further than Sheffield’s Sean Bean.  Let’s hope he doesn’t get killed off in his next role.

12.  Huddersfield is officially grander than Paris 

The town of Huddersfield has more listed buildings per square metre than the famous city of Paris.

13.  But a 15 minute drive from any city centre and you are in rolling countryside

With so much green on our doorstep you can understand why were such a happy bunch.

14.  It’s so great around here we have even got our own dog breed

Active, curious and love attention - Yorkshire Terriers are very similar to their Yorkshire companions.

15.  When it rains, it proper rains

When it rains, it rains cats and dogs.

16.  But we love spending time in the garden

Ilkley’s Alan Titchmarsh typifies how most Yorkshire folk enjoy the sun on their back and their hands in the dirt.

17.  We fight for equality

Without Hull’s William Wilberforce Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela wouldn’t have been able to achieve what they did with racial equality.  Wilberforce was a social activist who spent twenty six years to pass the Slavery Abolition Act through British Parliament, which abolished slavery across most of the British Empire.  He died three days after the act had being passed but left a resounding legacy.

18.  Cos we love keeping company

Whippets, ferrets, pigeons or kestrels we love to be in the company of our furry or feathered friends.

19.  And enjoying some of the finest Ales known to man

Rumour has it that The Wars of the Roses started because the Longnecks of Lancashire tried to steal Tetley’s secret beer recipe.

20.  We’ve got a knack for politics

Harold Wilson. Herbert Asquith and Roy Hattersley to name a few - we love to get involved in a political debate.

21.  We love adventure

Sheffield’s Helen Sharman was the first Briton in space and the first woman to visit the MIR space station in 1989.

22.  And discovery

Marton’s Captain James Cook was the first European to discover Hawaii and Australia.

23.  So much so that one of our folk even discovered oxygen

Hailing from Birstall, chemist Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen in 1774 and invented soda water.

24.  We’re amazingly inventive

Son of Halifax, Percy Shaw, invented the cats eye for improving road safety in the dark.  Ironically he stumbled upon the idea while driving home from the pub in the dark.

25.  And one of us made some reet nice furniture

Otley’s Thomas Chippendale was a cabinet maker that set the tone for English Rococo design around the world.

26.  While some of us are pretty decent Thespians

Sir Ben Kingsley, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Patrick Stewart all hail from Yorkshire and have gone on to join the knights of the realm for their services to the performing arts.

27.  We serve proper portions of Fish and Chips

We don’t do things by half.

28.  We created Rugby for the working man

The George Hotel in Huddersfield was the birthplace of Rugby League when the RFU refused to compensate players for time off work to play rugby.  Most northern teams were full of working class players and a little too successful for their southern counterparts.

29.  And we’ve made some decent music

Batley’s Robert Palmer went onto world recognition for his music making and gave the Back to the Future soundtrack a distinctive beat.

30.  We make the best Pork Pies in the world

Andrew Jones Pies is just one of many local pie-makers that have got a list of awards longer than their arms.

31.  And the best curries

A trip to Yorkshire wouldn’t be complete without visiting the famous Akbar’s in Bradford for a ‘Ruby’.

32.  One of our lot had a night named after him

Not quite a club night in Ibiza but a national night named after a mischievous little bugger from York, Guy Fawlkes.

33.  And another one taught us how to fly

Considered one the most important people in aeronautical engineering, Scarborough’s Sir George Cayley designed the first manned glider and is commonly called 'the Daddy of Aerodynamics’.

35.  We can’t always count

35.  But we have a greeeaattt sense of humour

Ernie Wise, Michael Palin, Adrian Edmondson, Leigh Francis…..the list goes on.  Basically we like to a have a giggle.

36.  We know how to throw a good party

Sheffield’s Lord Sebastian Coe organised the most spectacular Olympic opening ceremony the world has ever seen.

37.  And we don’t mind boasting about it all every now and again 

If we’re good at something we don’t mind letting other folk know about it.