African Slave Refuge Founded in Sierra Leone

African refuge for former slaves was Freetown, Sierra Leone, founded in 1787 by the English social activist Granville Sharp, who had helped to bring about the abolition of slavery in Britain in 1772. The site was purchased from the ruler of Sierra Leone’s Temne tribe. Freetown took in members of the Black Poor, destitute former slaves who had been emancipated in Britain. Other people who were resettled in Freetown included Africans rescued from slave ships, “maroons” (escaped slaves) from Britain’s colony in Jamaica, blacks who had fought on the British side during the rebellion of its American colonists, and former slaves of American loyalists from South Carolina who had fled to Nova Scotia, Canada, during the Revolutionary War.

      1787, 1772
      Granville Sharp
      social activist
      Freetown, Sierra Leone

Additional Information:

  • Slave Trade Act 1807 – Wikipedia
    Slavery on English soil was unsupported in English law and that position was confirmed in Somerset’s case in 1772, but it remained legal in most of the British Empire until the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833.
  • Somerset v Stewart – Wikipedia
    Somerset v Stewart (1772) 98 ER 499 is a famous judgment of the Court of King’s Bench in … Slavery had never been authorized by statute in England and Wales, and Lord Mansfield’s … The Somerset judgment, even if limited to prohibiting the forcible removal of slaves from England, established a radical precedent. It went …
  • Abolitionism in the United Kingdom – Wikipedia
    Lord Mansfield (1705–1793), whose opinion in Somerset’s Case (1772) was widely taken to have held that there was no basis in law for slavery in England. Abolitionism in the United Kingdom was the movement in the late 18th and early 19th centuries … He continued to campaign for the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, …
  • Slave or Free? – The National Archives
    … of enslaved Africans in Britain before the abolition of slavery was ambiguous, and … The celebrated Somerset ruling of 1772 concerned a slave’s liberty and …
  • Somerset Case – University of Tennessee
    Between 1771 and 1772, British courts dealt with the Somerset Case, whereby … Sharp (a noted abolitionist) attended the case with aims to abolish slavery.
  • The Somerset Case and the Abolition of Slavery in England
    quently, northern courts, particularly, interpreted the 1772 English deci … 8 Roger Anstey, The Atlantic Slave Trade and British Abolition – 1760-1810 (1975), p.

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