Embassy of Saint Lucia celebrates the Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery.
Today, August 1st, Saint Lucia, along with Taiwan's other Caribbean diplomatic allies and the rest of the Caribbean, commemorates the 189th Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery.
In the following video message, Ambassador Edwin Laurent notes the significance of this event as well as introduces the story of "Saint Lucia's Lost Black Freedom Fighters" that was researched by Ms. Fiona Compton of Know Your Caribbean. Text is below.
Saint Lucia’s Lost Black Freedom Fighters - Text
In 1795 Saint Lucia's enslaved people, inspired by the ideals of liberty, fraternity and equality that marked the French Revolution, revolted against the plantation owners who had for generations enslaved and subjected them to abominable cruelty.
On 21st February 1795, the freedom fighters, called Brigands, led by Victor Hugues, expelled the British army and took revenge on the island's plantation owners. The fighters also united with free slaves from St Vincent and Martinique who sailed to Saint Lucia to join the revolution which came to be called L'Année de la Liberté or the Year of Liberty.
In order to crush the rebellion, the British invaded in 1796 with a massive army under the command of Sir Ralph Abercrombie. The Brigands were defeated in fierce fighting, in which many died or were captured. The British then reintroduced slavery.
Those fighters who were captured became prisoners of war or resold into slavery. 106 of them were shipped to Bristol, England onboard a ship called The London. The ship however sank after it got caught in a violent storm upon approaching its destination.
Although the ship's Captain and some of the crew were rescued, the fighters, who had been chained at their ankles, drowned during the storm.
Saint Lucian historian Fiona Compton of Know Your Caribbean is currently working to identify the names of the lost freedom fighters so that they will never be forgotten.
Ms. Compton is currently looking for the names of these Freedom Fighters.