Exactly 185 years ago (August 1) today in Britain, an act of Parliament came into force abolishing slavery in most British colonies, freeing more than
800,000 enslaved Africans in the Caribbean and South Africa as well as a small number in Canada.
The act had received a Royal Assent on August 28, 1833, but only took effect on this day the following year (1834).
The Act also made Canada a free territory for enslaved American blacks. Thousands of fugitive slaves and free blacks subsequently arrived on Canadian soil between 1834 and the early 1860s.