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The Napoleon Series > Government > Governments and Politics

Law for Re-establishing Slavery in the French Colonies

May 20, 1802 (30 F1oréa1, Year X).

Duvergier, Lois, XIII, 208.

During the interval between the peace of Amiens and the renewal of the war with England, Napoleon was engaged upon a vast design for the restoration of the once extensive colonial empire of France. His plan included the establishment of French colonies in America, India and Australia. This law was intended to promote the first step towards the realization of the American branch of the scheme, the re-establishment of French authority in San Domingo. It had precisely the opposite effect.

30 Floréal, Year X of the one and indivisible Republic

In the name of the French People.

Bonaparte, First Consul of the Republic,

Proclaims; as Law of the Republic, the following Decree, issued by the Legislature on 30 Floréal, Year X, in accordance with the Government’s proposal made on the 27th of that month, and released to the Court on that day.


Article I. In the colonies returned to France, by execution of the Amiens treaty on 6 Germinal, Year X, slavery shall be maintained in accordance with the laws and regulations in place prior to 1789.

II. The same will be true in the other French colonies, beyond the Cape of Good Hope.

III. The slave trade and the importation of blacks in the colonies will be carried out, in accordance with the laws and regulations that existed prior to the 1789 period.

IV. Notwithstanding all previous laws, the colonies regime is subject, for a period of ten years, to the regulations that will be put in place by the government.

This present law bearing the seal of D – Estol, inserted in the Laws Bulletin, entered in the judicial and administrative authorities’ registers, and the Minister of Justice in charge with monitoring its publication. Paris, 10 Prairial, Year X of the Republic,

By the First Consul

The Secretary of State

The Minister of Justice

The Minister of the Navy and the Colonies

A copy of the original law can be seen at: Law for Re-establishing Slavery in the French Colonies



Placed on the Napoleon Series: July 2000. Updated August 2019


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