Abolition Day (Saint Martin) 2024: Activities, FAQs, Dates, History, and Facts about Saint Martin

Saint Martin celebrates Abolition Day on May 28, 2024, with pageantry, events, and closure of businesses, schools, and other establishments, marking the anniversary of enslavement in all French colonies.

Abolition Day (Saint Martin) 2024: On May 28, the Caribbean island of Saint Martin commemorates the anniversary of the abolition of enslavement. People in Saint Martin observe Abolition Day with a great deal of pageantry and commemorative events, just like all French colonies that have adopted this law. This national holiday closes businesses, schools, and other establishments. In previous years, we have also conducted week-long celebrations during this period.

Abolition Day (Saint Martin): History

Like many Caribbean islands that were French possessions, Saint Martin has a long history of slavery and forced labor. When Christopher Columbus first visited Saint Martin, then called “Soualiga” or “Island of Salt,” indigenous people lived there. He quickly claimed it as Spanish possession, even though the Spanish established more profitable and affluent colonies. The Spanish originally brought slaves to the island, but the numbers were minimal since they focused on other regions.

French and Dutch colonists wanted to settle many Caribbean islands, and this mostly uninhabited island attracted their attention. Saint Martin was a convenient midpoint between their colonies. By 1648, the Spanish had left, and the French and Dutch each claimed part of the island after territorial conflicts.

Every intriguing piece of history is also associated with a legend, and this division of land is no exception. The narrative states that the two factions competed in a competition where one combatant from each side had to walk simultaneously in either direction. They would possess the land they had occupied for a specified duration.

The story ends with the Frenchman taking a detour to expand his domain and the Dutchman becoming distracted, giving the French more of Saint Martin. The French military’s vessels’ size and closeness certainly helped them take more land, and this was widely reported at the time. Until 1815, the French and Dutch engaged in many border conflicts, after which they officially split the island.

This period saw cotton, tobacco, and sugar production double on the island. Production also boosted labor demand, notably indentured labor. The number of slaves working on these farms rapidly outnumbered the slave proprietors. Slaves in this colony, like others, revolted against their owners’ abuse and oppression.

When they abolished servitude in the 19th century, the French likewise applied this law to Saint Martin. Dutch slaves on Saint Martin demanded their freedom and threatened to leave France if their demands were not satisfied. Local authorities eventually allowed island emancipation. It took 15 years for the Dutch to abolish slavery in all their colonies, freeing the island’s slaves.

Georgia Independence Day 2024 (Georgia): A History of Struggle and Resilience

Abolition Day (Saint Martin) 2024: FAQs

For what reason is St. Martin a blend of French and Dutch?

The colonists who settled on Saint Martin in the 1600s have co-governed the island ever since, which is why it is still half-French and half-Dutch.

By what name are individuals from St. Martin referred to?

Individuals from Saint Martin may identify as Saint Martins, Saint-Martinois for the French side, or Sint Maarten for the Dutch side.

Which side of St. Martin is superior: the Dutch or the French?

This is entirely contingent upon the individual. Individuals who favor a more hurried vacation are likely to favor the Dutch side, while those who enjoy leisurely activities will appreciate the French side.

Five Interesting Facts about Saint Martin

Two names for a single island

To establish a unique identity, the French referred to their side of the island as “St. Martin,” while the Dutch referred to their side as “Sint Maarten.”

It is the earliest open border in the world.

The Dutch and French sides of the frontier have been open since the Treaty of Concordia in 1648, making them the oldest open-border countries in the world.

The sole Caribbean island that hosts two carnivals

The Dutch commemorate their carnival in April, while the French celebrate theirs in February.

Their primary occupation is tourism.

The Dutch started in the 1950s, while the French began several decades later. However, both parties are currently concentrating on tourism as a means of bolstering their economies.

The shores on the Dutch side are renowned.

St. Maarten holds the world title for having the highest number of beaches on a small surface.

World Hunger Day 2024: FAQs, Dates, Activities, and History

Abolition Day (Saint Martin) 2024: Activities

Participate in commemorative festivities

All over the globe, the festival has been celebrated in a variety of ways, and Saint Martin is no exception. From speeches and lectures on civil rights to awareness marches, concerts, parades, and more, you have the option to participate in person or virtually.

Discuss the topic of slavery.

Initiate a conversation regarding the history of servitude in Saint Martin and around the world. Additionally, encourage additional individuals to participate in this discourse.

Acquire knowledge regarding the consequences of enslavement

Engage in a dialogue regarding the consequences of slavery throughout history. Investigate and comprehend the lessons that the years of enslavement have imparted to the world, as well as how they have influenced us.

Abolition Day (Saint Martin) Dates

2024May 28Tuesday
2025May 28Wednesday
2026May 28Thursday
2027May 28Friday
2028May 28Sunday

Geek Pride Day 2024: Celebrating the Rise of Geek Culture

Share your love