Great Britain: Slavery Abolished: "Am I not a Woman and a Sister?"

Great Britain: Slavery Abolished: "Am I not a Woman and a Sister?"Great Britain: Slavery Abolished: "Am I not a Woman and a Sister?"
Form: Circular
By: T. Halliday, Birmingham
Date: 1834
Ref:  BHM: 1669; Laidlaw: 1150;
42 mmBronze$300

Edge: Plain.

Obverse: Justice, holding palm frond and scales, reaching out to kneeling African woman with wrists chained. Legend: "AM I NOT A WOMAN AND A SISTER?" Signed, round lower righT rim: "HALLIDAY F." In the exergue: "LET US BREAK THEIR BANDS / ASUNDER AND CAST AWAY / THEIR CORDS / PSALM.II.3".

Reverse: Within a closed floral wreath: "TO THE / FRIENDS / OF / JUSTICE / MERCY / AND / FREEDOM". On a ribbon entwined in the wreath: "PENN / GRANVILLE SHARP / WILBERFORCE / BENEZET / CLARKSON / TOUSSAINT LOUVERTURE / STEPHEN / D. BARCLAY".

Notes: The terms of Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 became law on 1st August 1834 throughout most of the British Empire. In South Africa this was delayed until 1st December 1834. Under the Act slave ownership was abolish and replace by a transitional period of paid apprenticeships whereby freed slaves were to continue working for their past masters who were compensated by the Government for the imposed financial losses. A sum of 20,000 pounds sterling was allocated for this purpose.

The social and financial adjustments in a country like South Africa where slavery was commonplace were substantial. The Act exacerbated the existing resentment against British rule by the people of Dutch descent and was a major factor contributing to the decision by thousands of these people to leave the Cape Colony for the north in an exodus later known as the Great Trek. The 'voortrekkers' settled in territories which became the Boer Republics of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal.