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The State Opening of Parliament 

The UK general election took place on Thursday 4 July 2024. The new Parliament met on Tuesday 9 July 2024 for the election of the Speaker and swearing-in of MPs and Lords. The State Opening of Parliament and The King’s Speech will take place on Wednesday 17 July 2024.

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Parliament and the British Slave Trade: Key dates


Petition sent to the House of Lords to recover costs involved in a business venture in the West Indies


Earliest document found in the Parliamentary Archives relating to Africa is laid before the House of Lords


A Bill to incorporate the Royal Africa Company receives its first reading in the House of Lords


The Lord Great Chamberlain issues a certificate granting permission to make coffee near the Court of Wards in the Palace of Westminster


The monopoly of the Royal Africa Company is ended and opened
up to private traders

Copper miners send a petition to the House of Lords against the Trade with Africa Bill, which proposes regulations they believe will damage the industry


An account of sales of enslaved Africans is presented to the House of Lords


Ignatius Sancho is born


Olaudah Equiano is born


Britain gains Dominica, Grenada, St Vincent and Tobago during the Seven Years War


William Wilberforce, the abolitionist, is born


Thomas Clarkson, the abolitionist is born


The Somerset case is heard by Lord Mansfield in Westminster Hall, who rules that the enslaved African in question cannot be forced to go back to the Americas, now he is in England


Ignatius Sancho buys a shop at 19 Charles Street, Westminster


The Zong case, when the owners of a British slave ship sought compensation for the loss of cargo, when over a hundred enslaved Africans were thrown overboard


William Wilberforce buys the lease of a house in Old Palace Yard, Westminster


Thomas Clarkson begins his campaign to abolish the slave trade


William Pitt, the Prime Minister, states his intention in the Commons to raise the issue of the slave trade. Sir William Dolben introduces his Bill to regulate the trade.


Publication of Olaudah Equiano's autobiography

Report of the Privy Council committee enquiry into the slave trade is presented to both Houses. William Wilberforce makes his case for abolition in a speech to the Commons


James Towne, a carpenter on slave ships, gives evidence to a House of Commons Select Committee on the slave trade


More than 2,000 people in Manchester sign a petition in favour of the Foreign Slave Trade Abolition Bill


The Act to abolish the British slave trade receives Royal Assent


An Act for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Colonies is passed by Parliament

Historic Hansard

Read House of Commons Historic Hansard for debates from 1803-2005

The Parliamentary Archives

The Parliamentary Archives

Access details of millions of records from both Houses and other historical material relating to Parliament.

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