In April 1816, the largest slave revolt in Barbadian history, Bussa’s Rebellion, took place. It was the first of three significant rebellions that eroded public support of slavery, thereby resulting in its abolition in 1834, when more than 80,000 British Empire slaves were emancipated.
After emancipation, labor contracts provided freed slaves with the opportunity to work as indentured servants. Unfortunately, these labor contracts had 12-year terms, as well as ridiculously low wages. Some former slaves were forced to work 45-hour weeks without pay in exchange for sparse accommodations. Also, indentured servants in Barbados were barred from receiving an education.
So, although emancipated, many of these freed slaves were still not free. It wasn’t until 1838, with the passage of the Masters and Servant Act (a.k.a. the Contract Law), that discrimination against people of color was prohibited, and these former enslaved were finally free.