Who abolished slavery in France?

By Ritesh|Updated : September 4th, 2022

The first elected Assembly of the Republic under Maximilien Robespierre’s leadership on February 4, 1794, abolished slavery in France. It was restored by Napoleon to maintain French sovereignty in its colonies. To overcome the labor shortage on the plantations, the triangular slave trade between Africa, Europe, and the Americas began in the 17th century.

Slavery in France

  • French traders sailed from the ports of Nantes or Bordeaux to the African coast, where they purchased slaves from local chiefs. Shackled and branded, the slaves were tightly packed into ships for the three-month voyage across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. There they were sold to plantation owners. The slave trade was thus deeply rooted in France.
  • There was little criticism of slavery in France during the 18th century. The National Assembly had long debates about whether human rights should be extended to all French subjects, including those in the colonies.
  • However, she did not pass any laws because she feared opposition from merchants whose income depended on the slave trade. Finally, the convention enacted in 1794 the emancipation of all slaves in France's overseas possessions. However, this did not last long.
  • After ten years, Napoleon reintroduced slavery in 1804, which was finally abolished in the French colonies in 1848.
  • Jacobin was a member of the Jacobin Club, a revolutionary political movement that was the most famous political club during the French Revolution. The club took its name from a meeting in the Jacobin monastery in the Dominican rue Saint-Honoré.


Who abolished slavery in France?

From the first elected Assembly of the Republic on 4 February 1794, Maximilien Robespierre abolished slavery in France.


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