Kingdom Of Tonga Observed Emancipation Day On June 4

First Christian king, King Siaosi Tupou I, abolished serfdom in 1862

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, June 6, 2016) – Today a public holiday was held to celebrate Emancipation Day, the day Tonga’s first Christian king, King Siaosi Tupou I officially abolished serfdom in Tonga on 4 June 1862.  It represented a turning point in Tongan history as commoners were freed from the virtual ownership of chiefs. It is 154 years since the day.

HM Tupou I declared the abolition of serfdom as part of his 1862 Code of Laws, with his official emancipation edict in the1862 Code of Laws:
“All chiefs and people are to all intents and purposes set at liberty from serfdom, and all vassalage, from the institution of this law; and it shall not be lawful for any chief or person, to seize, or take by force, or beg authoritatively, in Tonga fashion, anything from any one.”

Tupou I is credited with bringing Christianity to Tonga as well as establishing Tonga’s first constitution and parliament.

Matangi Tonga Magazine
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