The town of
Ouidah in the early 18th Century
grew in importance due to the slave
The first slaves were taken from the
“Slave Coast” to the New World as
far back as 1502, following a royal
edict from the King of Spain.
The New World was in fact the
Dominican Republic and Haiti as we
know them today.
On February 4th 1794, the Slave
Trade was officially abolished, but
the trading continued.
At last by 1851 an end was brought
to this shameful traffic. Those
displaced will be forever searching
for their origins.
In 1685, King Louis XIV of France
published a list of rules regulating
the conduct of slaves and their
masters in the colonies. (A few are
listed below.) Popularly known as
the Code Noir (Black Code), the
rules were intended to protect
slaves from harsh treatment.
Although they were more often
ignored than enforced, they did show
that some people cared about the
Slaves had the right to marry (with
the master’s content), have a fair
trial when charged with criminal
offenses, stay with their families,
and be baptized and practice
Slaves did not have the right to
carry weapons, hold meetings,
testify against their masters, run
business or leave the plantations,
or practice voodoo or other native
Freed slaves had the right to the
same respect and privileges as a man
born free, including the right to
own land or a business and to move
from place to place.
Masters were required to feed,
clothe, house, and care for their
Masters did not have the right to
marry or have a relationship with a
slave woman, mutilate or torture a
slave, or punish a slave with death.