July 3 – Danish West Indies Emancipation Day

Posted on July 3, 2017

Slavery is an ugly practice, and the African slave trade and slavery-buttressed agriculture and mining in the Americas was particularly ugly.

Notice that I said "the Americas," plural, not "America." I'm talking about the slave trade and slave labor in North and South America, including Central America and the Caribbean. Here are just a few of the countries whose economies once depended partly on African slave labor:

Dominican Republic,
and of course the United States, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The U.S. Virgin Islands used to be the Danish West Indies - three Caribbean islands ruled by Denmark from the mid-1700s to the early 1900s. Danes brought enslaved Africans to the islands to work the sugar plantations. 

The blowing of the conch signaled the
beginning of the rebellion led by Gottlieb.
A freed slave and skilled craftsman named Moses Gottlieb, who lived on St. Croix, went by the name General Buddhoe. Apparently he organized a lot of the slaves on the western end of the island, and together they marched on the town of Fredericksted. This rebellion caused the Governor-General of the Danish colony to emancipate (free) all of the slaves.

Because emancipation was announced in Fredericksted, this town is nicknamed Freedom City. 

Check out Freedom City:

Even though a large part of the economy of the modern
U.S. Virgin Islands is tourism, Fredericksted only
gets around 15 cruise ships in the busiest month of the
year (January), compared to 3 to 8 cruise ships PER
DAY, in January, in nearby St. Thomas!

Stilt walking!


Also on this date:

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