avril 15, 2024

History : on January 23, 1846, Tunisia abolishes slavery

On January 23, 1846, Tunisia witnessed a historic event: slavery was officially abolished by the decree of Ahmed Bey. This visionary act made Tunisia the first country in the Arab-Muslim world to support the abolitionist cause. Ahmed Bey, influenced by the liberal ideas of his time, made this decision even before France.

Tunisia was then a hub of intellectual exchanges, where new ideas circulated under the leadership of Ahmed Bey.

The abolition of slavery also had a religious foundation, supported by a fatwa from the scholars Ibrahim Riahi and Bayrem of the Zitouna. This decision integrated 167,000 slaves into Tunisian society, although some regions resisted this change.

Ahmed Bey’s gesture symbolizes an openness of mind and modernization of the state, marking the beginning of a social transformation in Tunisia and contributing to the country’s outlook in the face of upcoming changes, notably the French protectorate in 1881. Former slaves later benefited from economic and family rights through a colonial decree in 1890, extending the reformist impact initiated by Ahmed Bey. Today, a commemorative plaque on the tomb of Thomas Reade recalls this historic moment in Tunisia.

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