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The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition has been recognized annually since 1998, marking the start of the Haitian slave rebellion. Also known as the Haitian Revolution, African men and women revolted against being sold into slavery and helped push along an end to the cruel transatlantic slave trade.

Between August 22 and 23 in 1791, the slaves gathered in revolt against the French colonizers in Saint-Domingue, which is now known as Haiti. The revolution wasn’t without heavy casualties as 200,000 Haitians perished in comparison to 75,000 French troops and 25,000 white colonists. Around 45,000 British troops were also killed. The clashes raged on until the country ousted France occupation in 1804.

UNESCO began the day to commemorate the start of the uprising, which called to global attention the horrors of the slave trade and the great cost of life as a result of its practice. The day of remembrance first took place in Haiti, then was recognized the following year in Senegal.

In several nations around the globe, the day is marked by gatherings and related events to the uprising and the abolishing of the transatlantic slave trade.

PHOTO: Engraving of Toussaint L’Ouverture Public Domain

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