Formal end of slavery in Canada commemorated during ceremony in Halifax

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HALIFAX — Politicians and dignitaries gathered in Halifax today to commemorate Emancipation Day, the anniversary of the British Parliament's decision to abolish slavery across its empire in 1834.

By some estimates, more than 15 million African women, men and children were victims of the transatlantic slave trade.

There were about 400 enslaved Black people among the nearly 3,000 residents of Halifax in 1750.

The Slavery Abolition Act, which took effect on Aug. 1, 1834, freed about 800,000 enslaved people of African descent throughout the British colonies.

The federal government designated Aug. 1 as Emancipation Day in March 2021, and the Nova Scotia government did the same a month later.

Pat Dunn, Nova Scotia's minister responsible for African Nova Scotian affairs, says it has not always been fully acknowledged that people of African descent were enslaved in Nova Scotia.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 1, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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