Great Britain: Colonial Slavery Abolished Throughout Dominions

Great Britain: Colonial Slavery Abolished Throughout DominionsGreat Britain: Colonial Slavery Abolished Throughout Dominions
Form: Circular
By: Designed by C.F. Carter / made by J. Davis
Date: 1834
Ref:  BHM: 1668; Eimer: 1275; Laidlaw: 0249d;
51 mmWhite Metal41.5 gm$300

Edge: Plain.

Obverse: African male standing, front, both arms raised in thanksgiving. Discarded manacles at feet. Palm trees left and leafy plant right. A windmill in the left background. Legend around: “ENGLAND I REVERE. GOD I ADORE. NOW I AM FREE.”. In the exergue: “MDCCCXXXIV”.

Reverse: Within a floral wreath tied at the foot with Queen's crown at the top, across: “COLONIAL SLAVERY (in an arc) / ABOLISHED / THROUGHOUT THE / BRITISH DOMINIONS. / AUGUST I. 1834. / IN THE REIGN / OF / WILLIAM THE IV. (in an arc)”.

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.