Bussa’s rebellion, the largest enslaved Black rebellion in Barbadian history, is defeated by the colonial militia’s superior firepower.
1816 (Apr 14)
Led by an enslaved man named Bussa (born free in West Africa, captured by African merchants, sold to European slave traders, and transported to Barbados), this revolt took place shortly after the British parliament rejected the imperial registry Bill in November 1815 which would have registered West Indian enslaved persons. Historians believe that enslaved Africans interpreted some of the parliamentary proposals as preparatory to emancipation and took action when emancipation did not take place. In collaboration with other enslaved Blacks of other plantations (Bussa was a driver, giving him access), they decided to revolt on Easter Sunday, April 14th. Bussa, and his collaborators led 400 men and women rebels into battle at Bailey's plantation on Tuesday, April 16th. He was killed in battle; his forces continued the fight until they were defeated by the colonial militia’s superior firepower. The rebellion failed but its influence was significant to the future of Barbados.