UCL Institute of the Americas


The Apprenticeship System in the Caribbean: The World of the Apprentices

26 October 2022, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

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An event part of the UCL Institute of the Americas Caribbean Seminar Series

This event is free.

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UCL Institute of the Americas

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Unfree labor did not come to an end in the Anglophone Caribbean in 1834. Although the enslaved were declared legally free on August 1, they were obliged to serve a period of Apprenticeship to their former masters. This meant that ex-slaves were legally obligated to work without compensation for their former masters for up to forty-five hours per week. Their term of continued compulsory labor depended on their status: former field slaves (praedials) were to be apprenticed for six years while skilled apprentices and domestics (non-praedials) were to be fully free after four years. Apprentices resisted the system at its outset; subsequently, they attempted to assert their rights as much as possible during the Apprenticeship period, even in the face of a highly oppressive system. This paper seeks to recreate aspects of their world and understand how apprentices sought to use Apprenticeship to improve their lives.

About the Speaker

Professor Gad Heuman

Professor Emeritus at University of Warwick

Gad Heuman is one of the convenors of the Caribbean Seminar at the Institute of the Americas. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Warwick and a former Director of the Centre for Caribbean Studies at Warwick. He is the author of Between Black and White, The Killing Time and The Caribbean: A Brief History and has edited books on Slave Resistance, Labour, The History of Slavery, and the Post-Emancipation Caribbean. He is the editor of the journal Slavery & Abolition.

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