March 22 - Emancipation Day in Puerto Rico

Posted on March 22, 2020

Puerto Rico is part of the United States - although it is a territory rather than a state.

On January 1, 1863, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves in the states that were in rebellion against the nation. It took until 1865 for slavery to be abolished in the U.S. by a Constitutional Amendment.

So...why wasn't slavery abolished in Puerto Rico until this date in 1873?

The answer, of course, is that Puerto Rico was not a territory of the U.S. until 1898, when the peace treaty that followed the Spanish-American War was signed.

Shortly after slavery was abolished in the United States, Puerto Ricans began to petition for the end of slavery there. After more than six years of abolition efforts, slaves were finally freed, and slave owners were given compensation for each slave that was freed.

Emancipation Day is celebrated with dancing, plena and bomba music, singing, and of course feasting!

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