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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

The Liberation of the Enslaved People of the Danish West Indies

On July 2, 1848, the enslaved inhabitants of the Danish West Indies liberated themselves from the brutality of the Danish system of slavery. The enslaved people gave Governor Peter von Scholten a 4 p.m. deadline to liberate them. After seeing more than 8,000 enslaved people gathered and silently awaiting his decision, he knew any refusal or delay would mean destruction of the towns and plantations and many would be killed. He had no choice and declared, "Alle unfrie paa de Danske Vestindiske oer ere fra dags dato frigivne." "All unfree in the Danish West Indies are from today free." This resulted in the Emancipation Proclamation issued by then Governor Peter Von Scholten on July 3, 1848.