Resistance and Abolition


Slave Rebellion

October 1736 - 1761

Tacky's revolt; the largest slave uprising of the century. Many Slaves were killed and it devastated the economy.

Key Abolitionist: Granville Sharp

1765 - 1767

An incident with a slave angers Sharp and his outrage towards slavery increases.

Hope for Slaves

22 June 1772

A slave is granted freedom in England thanks to Granville Sharp.

The Abolitionist Cause

1774 - 1783

John Wesley (father of Methodist movement) became the first major religious leader to denounce slavery.

The "Zong"

29 November 1781 - 1 December 1781

133 slaves were thrown overboard on an off course ship.

The "Zong" goes to court

18 march 1783

The incident was not tried as a murder case - but rather a disputed insurance claim as if the slaves were property.

An Essay Ignites the Anti-Slavery Movement


Thomas Clarksons award winning essay inspired his driving passion to end slavery.

Parliament Gets Involved


MP William Wilberforce is converted to the abolitionist cause, and agrees to lead abolitionists in parliament.

Anti-Slavery Committee is Formed

22 May 1787

The Committee aimed to abolish British slave trade.

Gathering Evidence

June 1787

Thomas Clarkson travels through England gathering evidence on the slave trade. A man shows Thompson how sailors are manipulated into being part of the slave trade. Clarkson is outraged.

An Attempt to Silence

August 1787

Thomas Clarkson escapes officers in Liverpool that intended to kill him. He sees chains, shackles, and other torturous devices used to handle the slaves.

The Abolition Movement through Art

November 1787

Pottery designer Josiah Wedgwood creates a heartwrenching logo for the abolitionist movement.

Black Londoners Thank Granville Sharp

15 December 1787

Twelve black londoners wrote a letter of thanks to Granville Sharp for his anti-slavery work. A former slave named Quobna Ottobah writes a book denouncing slavery, it becomes widespread across England.

Pro Slavery Groups Fight Back

1788 - 1792

Pro slavery groups began to fight back against anti-slavery groups. The cases are brought to Parliament, Clarkson reads excerpts from the testimony from many anti-slave trade witnesses. This later become a best selling nonfiction anti-slavery work of all time.

Abolition Campaign Gains Massive Support

January 1788

20% of inhabitants of Manchester signed the petition against the slave trade.

Propaganda Shocks the Public


An anti-slavery committee created a horrific poster showing how slaves are transported, it shows them lying on the floor and crammed as close together as they could possibly be.

Women Get Involved

1791 - 1792

In an attempt to put pressure on the slave trade industry, (mostly) women stopped buying slave-trade sugar. However, the desired outcome was not achieved.

House of Commons

3 April 1792

Due to pressure from the public, the house of commons voted yes to banning the slave trade. However, it would take several years for the bill to pass and by that time the House of Lords would refuse the bill.

T'oussaint L'Ouverture

1793 - 1798

War between Britain and France broke out, halting abolition movements in Britain. After several years of war, rebel slaves under T'oussaint L'Ouverture forced the British forces out of Haiti, defeating them.

The British & French Slave Trade


Abolitionists, even more than before, began to rise after the war. James Stephen proposed that the British and French should diminish slave trading using British ships. This bill was passed.

Parliament Bans the Slave Trade

February 1807 - March 1807

New Prime Minister, Lord Grenville felt sympathetic to the cause and, with his help, abolitionists succeeded in persuading parliament to ban British participation in the slave trade entirely.

Following Suit

1816 - 1832

The ban in Britain raised hope for slaves all around the world. Slaves began revolting in large numbers, burning down more than 100 plantations. The military had difficulty suppressing this revolt and because of this, Britain become increasingly more afraid of slave uprisings.

Parliament Abolishes Slavery

31 July 1833

British Parliament voted to end slavery.

Freedom at Last?

1 August 1838

Slaves became legally free. Celebration ensued, and slavery was symbolically buried in a coffin.