Upper Canada passes British Empire’s first legislation against slavery
July 9, 1793
On July 9, 1793, the Act Against Slavery was passed, beginning the gradual abolition of slavery in Upper Canada and prohibiting the importation of slaves into the province. The act was Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe’s response to an incident in which Chloe Cooley, an enslaved Black woman in Queenston, Upper Canada, fiercely resisted being transported by force across the Niagara River and into the hands of her American owner. The act was the first legislation to limit slavery in the British Empire.
Each day for 150 days leading up to the opening of the Canadian History Hall, we’re presenting one moment among the many that have shaped our country. Discover more of Canada’s significant historical events in the new Canadian History Hall, opening July 1, 2017.