Abolition Day in Reunion Date in the current year: December 20, 2016

Abolition Day in Reunion Abolition Day is a public holiday in Réunion, the overseas department of France. This holiday celebrates abolition of slavery on December 20, 1848.

The first European settlers came to the island of Réunion at the beginning of the 16th century. The island came to the French possession in 1642 and it became a major stopover on the East Indies trade route. Many slaves were needed to work at the coffee plantations of the island. During two centuries France imported African, Chinese and Indian workers to the island, and from 1690 all non-Europeans were enslaved.

Slavery was abolished in the colony on December 20, 1848. Abolition of slavery lead to the lack of working power, that is why foreign workers were demanded. Since 1848 they were coming to the island as indentured workers.

Celebration of Abolition Day is a major event in the cultural life of the islanders. Various events are held throughout the island, uniting all islanders from different cultures and ethnicities in a unique moment of sharing.

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Public Holidays




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