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The Demise of Slavery in the Caribbean

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The Demise of Slavery in the Caribbean

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The demise of slavery in the Caribbean was due to a number of factors, including the smallpox vaccine, which was introduced by Onesimus. Other factors that contributed to the demise of slavery in the Caribbean include the abolition of the slave trade by the British in 1807, and the Haitian Revolution of 1804.

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The first evidence is the introduction of the smallpox vaccine by Onesimus, a slave from Boston. In 1721, Cotton Mather heard about the African practice of inoculation and asked Onesimus to teach him the technique (Blackemore n.p). Mather then convinced Boston doctors to try inoculation on smallpox patients. This led to the widespread use of the smallpox vaccine, which eventually led to the demise of the disease. As a result, the slave population was immunized against the disease, which led to a decrease in the mortality rate. The second evidence is the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804 (Roitman 20). The Haitian Revolution was the largest and most successful slave uprising in the Americas and it had a significant impact on the abolition movement in the United States and Europe. After the Haitian Revolution, many Europeans began to question the morality of slavery and the slave trade (Caribbean Atlas n.p). The slave trade was also discouraged by the British government, which passed the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807.

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The demise of slavery in the Caribbean was led by many factors such as the smallpox vaccine. The French Revolution led to the abolition of slavery in all French colonies in 1794, while the Haitian Revolution resulted in the freedom of all slaves in Haiti in 1804.

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Works Cited

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Blakemore, Erin. “How an Enslaved African Man in Boston Helped Save Generations from Smallpox.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 1 Feb. 2019, https://www.history.com/news/smallpox-vaccine-onesimus-slave-cotton-mather.

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Caribbean Atlas. Abolitions of slavery. http://atlas-caraibe.certic.unicaen.fr/en/page-117.html.

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Roitman, Jessica Vance. “Land of hope and dreams: slavery and abolition in the Dutch Leeward islands, 1825–1865.” Slavery & Abolition 37.2 (2016): 375-398. https://doi.org/10.1080/0144039X.2016.1140457

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