Emancipation Day is a National Bank Holiday on the first of August. This holiday commemorates the abolition of slavery in Barbados. Barbados became an English colony in the mid-seventeenth century. The island became the main producer of sugar cane and many enslaved persons were brought from Africa to work on the sugar plantations. Even though slave trade was eradicated in 1807, slavery continued until 1833. There were only a few minor revolts in Barbados, until 1816 when the largest, most substantial slave rebellion occurred, involving 20,000 slaves from various plantations.
On National holidays, most businesses are closed with the exception of restaurants and hotels. All schools, Government institutions, banks and supermarkets are closed.