Napoleon's Decree Abolishing the Slave Trade
29 March 1815
Following a peace with Britain that culminated in the Treaty of Amiens (1802), Napoleon initiated an ambitious project to re-establish the French overseas empire. One element of this scheme was the re-establishment of slavery, which had been abolished during the French Revolution, in France's Caribbean colonies, including Saint-Domingue (Haiti). The failure of the French campaign in Haiti and the breakdown of peace with Britain, dashed Napoleon's colonial dreams. After his return from exile on Elba, Napoleon desired to recreate his rule as a new "liberal" empire. One element of this effort was abolishing the slave trade. The slave trade in the British Empire was abolished in 1807, although slavery wasn't eradicated in the British West Indies until 1833.
Napoleon, Emperor of the French,
We have decreed, and do decree as follows: —
By the Emperor,
Dated March 29th, 1815.
Southey, Thomas, Capt. Chronological History of the West Indies. In three volumes. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1827.
Placed on the Napoleon Series 9/00
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