When did slavery end in the British empire and how did the law change?

THE abolition of slavery was a long time coming in the 18th century, after much resistance put the House of Commons under pressure to end it.

But when did slavery end for good? We take a look below.

Corbis – Getty

Slavery ended in the British Empire after the Slavery Abolition Act came into play in 1833[/caption]

When did slavery end in the British Empire?

Slavery ended in the British Empire after the Slavery Abolition Act came into play in 1833.

Before it was abolished, British sailors became involved in the trade in the 16th century and their involvement increased in the 18th century.

At least 12 million Africans were taken to the Americas as slaves between 1532 and 1832 and at least a third of them in British ships.

The British captured Barbados in the West Indies in 1625, the and in 1655 they captured Jamaica.

English slave traders started supplying African slaves to the English colonies.

Getty – Contributor

At the end of the 18th century, public opinion began to turn against the slave trade in the British Empire[/caption]

How did the law change?

Before this was enforced, the Slave Trade Act 1807 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom prohibiting the slave trade in the British Empire.

Although it didn’t get rid of slavery as a whole, it encouraged British action to press other nation states to abolish their own slave trades.

The Act provided for compensation for slave owners.

At the end of the 18th century, public opinion began to turn against the slave trade.


Some villages attacked British slave ships and set the slaves free which became more and more popular to do as time went on.

In 1787, the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was set up. William Wilberforce represented the committee in Parliament.

The amount of money to be spent on the compensation claims was set to £20million (around £16billion now).

The money was paid out in compensation for the loss of the slaves to the registered owners of the freed slaves.