The Slavery Abolition Act 1833
Long Title: An Act for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Colonies; for promoting the Industry of the manumitted Slaves; and for compensating the Persons hitherto entitled to the Services of such Slaves.
This Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom expanded the jurisdiction of the Slave Trade Act 1807
, which made the purchase of slaves but not slavery itself illegal, and made the purchase or ownership of slaves illegal within the British Empire. However, this only applied to the Caribbean, Mauritius and the Cape Colonies. The Territories in the Possession of the East India Company
", Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and Saint Helena were not included in the Act.
Slaves were not freed immediately and were required to work for four to six years as 'apprentices' so as to 'learn' how to labour. the British naval forces also 'liberated' several Africans who were being transported to the colonies by Spanish Portuguese and French ships. These so called liberated Africans were then 'recruited' as indentured servants.
The British government borrowed £20 million to compensate slave owners, which amounted to a massive 40 percent of the Treasury’s annual income or about 5 percent of British GDP equivalent to approximately £17 billion in todays money. The loan was one of the largest in history.
It was not until 2015 that British taxpayers finished 'paying off' the debt which the British government incurred in order to compensate British slave owners.