A People's Historical Journey to Self Determination & Decolonization

The Ay Ay Islands, (f.k.a.) The Danish West Indies, (n.k.a.) Virgin Islands of the United States

D.W.I.'s Slave Code 0f 1733


§1 The main leaders of Negroes that have run away or are running away are to be pinched three times with a glowing iron and then hanged.

§2 Participants in a plot shall lose a leg unless their owners will pardon them by letting them lose an ear and get 150 lashes.

§3 Participants in a plot who do not reveal it to a White person shall be branded on the forehead and be given 100 lashes.

§4 The person who informs on a plot by Negroes shall get 10 piastres for every Negro found guilty, and his name shall remain secret.

§5 A Maroon of 8 days shall be punished with 150 lashes, a Maroon of12 weeks shall lose a leg and Maroons of 6 months shall forfeit their life unless their master will pardon them with the loss of a leg.

§6 A Negro who has stolen to the value of 4 rixdaler shall be pinched and hanged. Lesser thefts shall be punished with branding on the forehead and from 100-150 lashes.

§7 Slaves who deal in stolen goods or participate in this shall be branded and given 150 lashes.

§8 Those who deal with Maroon-Negroes will be punished likewise.

§9 The Negro who with ill intent raises his hand against a White or threatens him or gives him abusive words shall without mercy be pinched 3 times and then hanged, if the White person demands it, if not, he shall lose a hand.

§10 One upright White witness is enough against a Negro and if there were suppositions in the case, the Negro has to be tortured.

§11 A Negro who meets a White on the road has to go to the side of the road and stand still till the White person has passed – he will otherwise get a lash from the White.

§12 No Slave must be seen in town with a stick or a knife; they also must not use these for fights among themselves, lest they get 50 lashes.

§13 Witchcraft among the Negroes is to be punished with a severe beating.

§14 The Negro who can be persuaded to have been of a mind to conceal somebody shall be pinched 3 times with a glowing iron and then put on the rack to be broken and put on stilts alive.

§15 A free Negro who either assists a Maroon or a thief or a dangerous Negro shall lose his freedom, his property and with a beating be ordered out of the country.

§16 All dances, feasts, gambling or such like are absolutely forbidden for Negroes unless it happens with their master’s or overseer’s permission and presence.

§17 No Negro may sell any foods from animals or other unless permitted by his master.

§18 No field Negro must be found in the town after the curfew tattoo or he will be brought to the fort and given a beating.

§19 The crown solicitor shall strictly adhere to these articles, whereby free Negroes and slaves shall be judged in a court of law; and this declaration shall be publicised 3 times every year by drumbeat.


Philip Gardelin, Governor

St. Thomas, Danish West Indies

September 15th, 1733