golden law

Article

May 23, 2022

The Golden Law (Imperial Law No. 3353), signed on May 13, 1888, was the law that abolished slavery in Brazil. It was preceded by Law No. 2040 (Law of the Free Belly) of September 28, 1871, which freed all children born of slave parents, and by Law No. 3270 (Law Saraiva-Cotejipe (pt) or Law of the Sixties), of September 28, 1885, which regulated "the gradual extinction of the servile element". It was signed by Isabella of Braganza, Imperial Princess of Brazil, and by the Minister of Agriculture at the time, Councilor Rodrigo Augusto da Silva (pt). Councilor Rodrigo Silva was part of the ministerial cabinet chaired by João Alfredo Correia de Oliveira (pt), of the Conservative Party (pt) and called "Cabinet of March 10". Dona Isabel signed the Golden Law in her third and last regency, while Emperor Dom Pedro II of Brazil was traveling abroad. The bill that abolished slavery in Brazil was presented to the General Chamber (the current Chamber of Deputies), by Minister Rodrigo Augusto da Silva (pt) on May 8, 1888. It was voted on and approved there on May 9 and May 10, 1888. The law consisted of only two paragraphs: From the date of this law, slavery is abolished in Brazil. Any provision to the contrary is repealed. The Golden Law was solemnly presented to the Imperial Senate by Minister Rodrigo A. Da Silva on May 11. It was debated in the sessions of 11, 12 and 13 May. Voted and approved in a first vote on May 12, it was voted and definitively approved a little before one o'clock on May 13, 1888 and, the same day, presented for the signature of the Princess Regent. It was signed at the Imperial Palace by Dona Isabel and by Minister Rodrigo Augusto Da Silva at three o'clock the same day. The process of abolition of slavery in Brazil had been gradual and had begun with the Eusébio de Queirós Law of 1850, followed by the Free Belly Law of 1871, the Sixties Law of 1885 before ending with the Law of gold in 1888. Brazil was the last independent country on the American continent to abolish slavery. The last country in the world to do so was Mauritania which waited for November 9, 1981 and Decree No. 81234.

Notes and References

(pt) This article is partially or totally taken from the Wikipedia article in Portuguese entitled “Lei Áurea” (see the list of authors).

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