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Slave Liberation

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"When Israel was in Egypt's land; Let my people go,
Oppress'd so hard they could not stand; Let my people go.
Go down, Moses,
Way down in Egypt's land,
Tell old Pharaoh,
Let my people go."
— Traditional African-American Spiritual

Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil, so let's liberate the slaves!

There are three ways to do this:

  1. Rescue someone else's slaves, usually by force.
  2. Free some slaves you already own or buy some slaves specifically to free them.
  3. Or have the slaves free themselves. This is the Supertrope of Gladiator Revolt. Turned Against Their Masters is also a rough sci-fi version of this trope, though usually a bit less idealistic.

Examples are sorted by type of Slave Liberation.

Slave Liberation is a likely result of being Made a Slave, but if it's combined with Happiness in Slavery or Property of Love it can easily devolve into Activist Fundamentalist Antics. Like Releasing from the Promise, it may lead to some fraught moments about whether the freedman will continue to work with the erstwhile master.

It rarely if ever happens that the slaves want to get full revenge by enslaving their former master(s), probably because this isn't a story idealistic authors like to write.


Examples of Slave Rescue / Slave Rescuer

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Fisher Tiger from One Piece started a campaign to end slavery after being Made a Slave during his journeys. His burning hatred of slavery surpassed his burning hatred of humans so much that he freed all the slaves he could find, regardless of race.
  • In Drifters, Toyohisa and his companions first freed the elves and helped them start a rebellion against the Orte empire. They also liberated the dwarves along their way to conquer Orte.
  • In The Mysterious Cities of Gold, Esteban and the others free the enslaved Indian villagers from the Order of the Hourglass.
  • When Myuu is kidnapped by slavers in Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest, Hajime and company respond in ruthless and decisive fashion, not only destroying the slavers and freeing Myuu but liberating everyone else they'd taken.

    Comic Books 
  • In the ElfQuest elf-troll war arc the Wolfriders free Greymung's trolls so they can help fight against Guttlekraw's trolls who enslaved them. (This dismays Two-Edge, who never dreamed that trolls would fight with elves against trolls.)
  • In Conan the Avenger, Conan and his mercenary allies assault a slave-trading hub and releasing their prisoners in the process. It should be noted they didn't necessarily do it for noble intentions; in reality, they were looking for just one slave who can lead them to a treasure they are looking for. Attacking the hub was the only available option since they didn't have the necessary money to buy her off and even if they had, her owners would have been unwilling to sell her. Surprisingly Realistic Outcome when this action drives the neighboring warring countries to join forces to pursue them because they disrupted their economy, showing that trying to pull a bold stunt like this will lead to a very powerful and angry army breathing down your neck.
  • In Red Hood: The Lost Days Jason's German mentor Egon was selling child slaves. Jason put an end to it by brutally killing all the slave traders and calling the police to where the kids were being held.
  • Blood Ties: In the wake of Fatal Attractions Genosha's mutant slaves have risen up against their human masters, allowing Fabian Cortez to take advantage of the chaos and Klingon Promote himself into Genosha's new president.
  • Fantastic Four's story arc "Planet Skrull" revolves around a group of Skrulls enslaving a whole planet and Reed Richards' family sparking a successful rebellion.
  • Examples from the Superman franchise:
    • As told in The Krypton Chronicles and other Pre-Crisis stories, Kryptonians were conquered and enslaved by the Vrangs until a general revolt led by Superman and Supergirl's ancestor Hatu-El succeeded in kicking the Vrangs out of Krypton. The Vrang revolt was eventually retconned back in the Post-Crisis and Post-Flashpoint continuities.
    • In "The Devil's Brother" Supergirl leads a slave revolt against Dax, overlord of a parallel dimension. After helping them overthrow Dax, Supergirl urges the now-free slaves to never again let someone take their freedom away.
    • In Superboy (1994), the titular hero frees all the slaves on the strange island populated by anthropomorphic animals he washes up on after being struck by lightning.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Given the high number of her villains who forced others into slavery in the Golden Age Sensation Comics and the original Wonder Woman were full of stories of her freeing their slaves, and those under More Than Mind Control could be brought back to themselves by having a wrist wrapped in her lasso or through her own very mild telepathic abilities.
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Di and Steve Trevor lead a Slave Revolt on Saturn and in later diplomatic talks have the Emperor abolish slavery on Saturn and return the abducted slaves to their places of origin in order to enter a treaty with the US.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): After being captured and enslaved by the Sangtee Empire Diana lead a revolt with the slaves kept on the same planet as her that led to a revolution that forced the Empire to abolish slavery altogether.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Boy Behind The Mask, the Free Folk are a people descended from slave-fighters that escaped Constantinople and made a home in the Barbaric Archipelago.
  • It happens several times in A Sticky Situation. The first one is only for a few girls that work for the Dark Acolytes. The second occasion involves freeing almost one hundred Twi'lek women. And a third occasion at the start of chapter 217 involving the slaves of Jabba the Hutt.
  • In the backstory of Survivors, Krypton was invaded by the Vrangs, who enslaved the Kryptonians until a revolt threw them out of the planet.
  • In Eigengrau Zwei: Die Welt Ist Grau Geworden, one of the first things that Istanbull's new management did after ousting King Majid. They've now turned their sights to eliminating slavery in the neighbouring kingdoms.
  • This Bites!: When the Straw Hats and other Supernova crews reach the Sabaody Archipelago, Cross organizes a plan to dismantle the islands' slave trade. The pirates start attacking slave trading houses and freeing every slave they can find, while also having Tashigi arrest all the corrupt high-ranking members of the local government and Marine forces, enabling a coup by anti-slavery factions and empowering the local population (the majority of whom hate slavery) to rise up in revolt, aiding the pirates in driving out the remaining slavers.
  • In the Supernatural fanfic, Maybe Sprout Wings Castiel is the heir to a slaving fortune who has used his assets to fund slave liberation. He owns a rehabilitation center, and he personally takes on Dean as a foster with the intent of setting him free.

  • Django Unchained revolves around an escaped slave named Django, who was rescued by the bounty hunter Schultz after killing some slave traders, because Django can identify several men he's trying to track down for a large bounty. After working together to collect on some of his former tormentors, Django and Schultz go off on a quest to free the former's wife Broomhilda from a distant plantation. At first they try to legally (but deceptively) buy her freedom, but after that plan gets scuttled to hell thanks to the machinations of Stephen, Candie's head house slave, Candie extorts a huge sum from them for her. They're willing to pay the price regardless, but Schultz' disgust with Candie gets the better of him as they are about to close the deal, with deadly consequences for many of the people involved. In the end, Django is left with no option but to save Broomhilda by force.
  • The first we see of Conan as an adult in the reboot of Conan the Barbarian (2011) is him leading a raid to liberate a bunch of slaves from some pirates. The fact that a solid chunk of the slaves are topless, nubile women is, of course, just a happy coincidence.
  • Tarl does this in the film version of Gor. This is not at all complicated, since the films really don't have anything to do with the books they claim to be based on, which go more on the pro-slavery side, particularly as the series goes on.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Indiana frees scores of children who were enslaved and forced to dig to find the Sankara stones.
  • Both Matia and Susan Gail are freed from slavery by Donald O'Shea in Five Weeks in a Balloon.
  • Mythica: Dagen and Thane succeed in freeing Marek by forcing Peregus to sell her to them.
  • L3-37 in Solo incites a revolution among the slaves on Kessel. She liberates a droid who is in the way of her accessing a control panel with a dismissive "You're free. Go release everyone else." That droid releases other droids who release other droids and other slaves until a full-blown slave revolt happens.
  • The entire second act of Harriet focuses on this, as Harriet repeatedly travels south to rescue enslaved people and guide them to freedom in the north.
  • Conquest of the Planet of the Apes is set in a dystopian future where humans keep apes as slaves. The story follows Caesar, an unusually intelligent chimpanzee (whose parents came back in time from the future where apes rule and humans are the animals) as he gradually realizes the need to overthrow humanity and liberate his people.
  • Sodom and Gomorrah: The Hebrews permit escaped slaves freedom if they reach their camp, while Ishmael also tries to rescue many more later but fails. Lot and the Hebrews later liberate dozens of slaves from a pen to go with them while leaving the city of Sodom.
  • Spartacus: Spartacus and the other gladiators free themselves through revolt, then many more slaves. However, most are killed while fighting the Romans. Those who remain are crucified as they refuse to turn in Spartacus for their own lives, but still die free in their way.

  • In Dragon Bones, Ward is informed that an escaped slave fled to his land, and the nobles who inform him about this would like to have her back. He refuses, and invokes an ancient law that says that once a slave sets foot on Hurog land, she is free, as "There are no slaves in Hurog". The nobles are not amused. Ward's own slave, Oreg, who was Made a Slave by magical means hundreds of years ago, appreciates it, and confesses to Ward that he has been helping the slave. Ward asks him whether she has enough to eat and warm blankets.
  • Phenomena is about Alk and Ilke going to save their people, the elves like this, while they, themselves, grew up in freedom.
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Huck helps Jim escape, sometimes referred to as "stealing himself," and Jim has plans to make money and then go back & buy his family for their freedom.
  • The freek Hork-Bajir in Animorphs regularly raided Yeerk projects to capture Hork-Bajir controllers and starve out the Yeerks inside them.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy. In the Back Story, Colonel Baslim stormed a raider's compound and freed the crew of a Free Trader starship who had been captured to be made into slaves.
  • Honor Harrington: Many references are made to the Genetic Slave Trade throughout the books, with Honor having made a name for herself early in her career by capturing a large ship full of slaves and freeing them. The people responsible for the slavery, Manpower Unlimited, are a recurring minor foe who back various other organizations in attacks on the Manticorans and the Havenites. They also turn out to be a front for the far more ambitious Mesan Alignment.
  • In The Roman Mysteries Flavia frees her slave girl, Nubia.
  • Daenerys does this in A Song of Ice and Fire, mostly by overthrowing the slave-holding cities. The unfortunate side effects are extensive. In Astapor, a tyrant known as Cleon takes over the city once she leaves, and reinstitutes slavery except with the former masters as slaves. Yunkai agrees to free them, but the moment she leaves starts up the practice again and starts preparing for war against her. Some of the slaves, particularly those trained in skilled occupations, actually had a better quality of life before they were free, and she's disturbed to learn that people are trying to sell themselves back into slavery. Famine results because of the war to free them, and because some places refuse to trade with them.
  • This is the overarching goal of Karl Cullinane and his friends in the Guardians of the Flame series. He and his friends are roleplayers brought to a D&D-style fantasy world in the bodies of their characters and ultimately pledge to drive slavery out of their new home.
  • The Crimson Shadow: Subverted. Luthien, upon becoming smitten with Siobhan and learning she's a slave, sets out to free her. He arrives at her master's house, where he sees Siobhan sneaking out. It turns out that she actually does this regularly, and is part of a thieves gang. The title of this chapter is appropriately "Not So Much A Slave".
  • The Silerian Trilogy: The rebels under Josarian free the slaves in Valdani brothels, not so much out of an anti-slavery sentiment as to hurt their morale (which it does, badly). Even so, the slaves are sent home. However, privately Elelar wonders if anything except disgrace and poverty wait for them there.
  • Small Gods: After conquering Ephebe, the Omnian Exquisition frees the Ephebian slaves... who then promptly go berserk on the bastards who've taken away their jobs and livelihoods. And they win.
  • The Han Solo Trilogy: Han helps Bria and Mrrov escape from Ylesia along with Muuurgh. Later he also helps Chewie escape rather than be shot for resisting an overseer's cruelty. Bria and her unit Red Hand Squadron later run many missions against the Ylesian slavers to free the Pilgrims who have been unknowingly enslaved and are sent off-planet for sale. She eventually organizes a plan to end the entire thing with a massive attack.
  • Worlds of Shadow: Some of the new slaves revolt to free themselves while on the fringe planet they were sent to, and the Empire liberates the rest.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: Daenerys overthrows the slave cities of Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen. However, she finds that overthrowing a few cities is easier than overthrowing a whole social system.
  • Quantum Leap: Sam leaps into his own great-grandfather, who was a union officer in The American Civil War, and comes across a Southern Belle whose slave is secretly running a leg on the Underground Railroad, the (great?) grandfather of Martin Luther King Jr..
  • Survivors: In the fourth episode of the second season, after they're freed by the main cast.
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand is entirely built on this trope, with Spartacus, Crixus, Oenomaus, and Gannicus freeing their fellow gladiators from their ludus and starting the Third Servile War.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "The Camp", the surviving humans are held as slaves for the "New Masters", an alien species that long ago conquered Earth. One of them discovers the overseers who run their camp are actually androids and breaking down due to age. She then manages to lead a successful slave revolt, only to discover that the New Masters had perished a long time ago.
    • In "The Grell", after Jesha tells him of his grandfather being enslaved as a boy, Kenny Kohler asks his mother Olivia why they don't just free all of the Grell. She doesn't answer his question, simply telling him to go to sleep. His father Paul later frees Jesha just before he dies. They also encounter a number of Grell who have escaped and revolted against the humans.
    • In "The Human Operators", the man frees himself after Ship begins to break down. The woman was freed when her own ship broke down earlier, faking that it was still in operation so this would remain hidden from the other ship minds. At the end, he and the woman begin planning to liberate their fellow human slaves on other ships.
  • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: In the climax of the Lost Galaxy mini-arc, Mike infiltrates the slave camp of Captain Mutiny so the rangers can free all the slaves there and bring them to Terra Venture. They succeed, though Mike has to sacrifice his powers as the Magna Defender to help Terra Venture escape the Lost Galaxy.
  • Underground: The Macon 7 ran away to freedom in the North (only three made it). Rosalee, one of them, later helps rescue other slaves, and we're introduced to Harriet Tubman, who did both (she ran away, then rescued her family).
  • The Outpost: After the Humans of the Outpost have been made slaves by the Blackblood invaders, they're liberated with help from Talon and Zed, after he turns against them.
  • The Good Lord Bird: Brown and his followers plan to seize the Harper's Ferry US armory, arm the slaves in the nearby areas with the guns then spark a huge slave revolt that will eradicate slavery in general. They fail, but it adds fuel to the coming Civil War, ending slavery in the US.

  • Keldian: Run for your Life is about a slave escaping captivity.

    Religion & Mythology 
  • In The Bible:
    • Moses and God use extreme force to coerce the Pharaoh to release the Hebrew slaves, up to and including killing every firstborn of the oppressors in the country. Despite all this, the Pharaoh keeps stubbornly refusing to the point where God basically stops giving him second chances.
    • 1 Corinthians 7 says not to be anxious if you're a slave but get free if you can. It also says do not become a slave of man.
    • Jesus was sent to "proclaim freedom for the captives", among other things.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms setting. The Harpers try to free slaves whenever practical and possible. The supplement FOR4 The Code of the Harpers had a story about a Harper who freed a group of slaves from Thayan slavers.
  • GURPS: The Banestorm setting includes the principality of Cardiel, the only realm on Yrth where slavery is strictly outlawed — any slave who reaches the land is automatically considered free. As a result, it's a safe haven for abolitionists to operate out of. This especially complicates things in the city of Tredroy, which sprawls across three different realms, including Cardiel; slaves frequently try to flee to the Cardien portion of the city.
  • Exalted: The Deshan satrapies in the North are populated almost entirely by slaves tasked with producing a steady stream of food for the Realm and kept docile by drugs. As the drugs don't always quite succeed in dulling the slaves' minds, sometimes due to deliberate sabotage, the satrapies are frequently rocked by slave uprisings varying from brief riots to country-wide revolts. As the slaves know they have few chances of winning, they often focus simply on causing as much damage as they can and on torturing and killing every overseer and noble that they can. The revolts are typically put down swiftly, brutally, and completely by the satrapies' militia, but with the Empress' disappearance and the Realm's growing weakness and internal strife, they're becoming more common and more difficult to quell with every year.
  • Space 1889 in Red Sands there are adventures about liberating High Martian slaves or creating a rebellion if the player characters are captured.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Sir Hekhtur the Chainbreaker is utterly dedicated to freeing all those Imperial citizens enslaved by vile xenos creatures and Chaos warlords. This stems from being the sole loyalist survivor of his Knightly House, the rest having been enslaved, killed, or corrupted by Chaos forces.
    • Subverted with the Lamenters chapter of Space Marines, an offshoot of the Blood Angels free of the Angels' Black Rage but suffer catastrophic bad luck in all their endeavors. Case in point: the liberation of 3 million human slaves from an ork mining world ended in a bloody stalemate so bad the slaves asked to be killed from orbit so the Lamenters wouldn't die to the last man to save them. Their request was granted. The world was rendered unusable to the orks, but the Lamenters left with maybe a tenth of the slaves they'd tried to save, not to mention the horrific losses they'd taken.
    • Corax, Primarch of the Raven Guard, was found by the slaves of a moon used as a massive prison whose inmates were worked to death by their jailers. They taught him all kind of guerrilla warfare tactics and he put them to good use leading a campaign of sabotage that ended with them taking control of the moon and launching atomic explosives against their former masters in the planet they orbited. After the Emperor arrived and Corax and his followers joined the Imperium, the moon was renamed Deliverance and, since then, has been the chapter house of the Raven Guard, who have sworn they will not rest until all tyrants and enslavers of the galaxy are dead.

  • In The Ring of the Nibelung, Loge tells Mime that the gods will set the Nibelungs free. It seems that this is one of the promises the gods are unable to fulfill, and it's implied that the Nibelungs remain enslaved so long as the Ring exists.

    Video Games 
  • Fallout 2 and 3 are unique in that you can either help the slaves against their aggressors, or you can become a slaver and sell certain people off for caps.
    • See also Slave Revolt below.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, if you can find the key to their bracers, you can liberate any slaves you come across. (Some do not have a key for their bracers, but if they are taken to a location for which you do have the key by using a Command spell, you can still free them.) The Twin Lamps is an organization (led by the daughter of the Duke of Vvardenfell) dedicated to freeing slaves and returning them to their homelands. They actually offer a short side questline that involves freeing more slaves. Later, between the events of the game (and expansions) and Oblivion, the King of Morrowind declares emancipation for all remaining slaves after determining that slavery really wasn't the way for a modern monarchical province of the Empire to operate. He uses the events of the main quest and the Tribunal expansion to eliminate one of the major opponents to abolition and co-opt another to his cause.
  • In Slave Maker, the protagonist is portrayed as righteous when doing this to other slaveowners, while NPCs are portrayed as pulling Activist Fundamentalist Antics when doing this to the protagonist. Those other slave owners are portrayed as truly abusive and in some cases monstrous, while the game keeps waving a Consent Flag for the protagonist.
  • World of Warcraft have a lot of missions about rescuing slaves.
    • Wrath Of The Lich King: Mostly living people of all races forced to work in mines belonging to the undead scourge.
    • Cataclysm: Twightlight's Hammer is now the new faction that you generally rescue slaves from.
  • Mass Effect is a Space Opera where humanity and batarians get along poorly, largely due to the batarian tendency to raid human colonies for slaves who are treated barbarously. Raids are made to free these slaves sometimes; Talitha from the Colonist-only content was one of these.
    • In Mass Effect 2, the player character goes to Illium, a world where "indentured servitude" is legal. People sell their contracts for years at a time in exchange for a nulling of all debts and a much-improved resume. The one slave broker you meet is reassuring a girl whose contract isn't being sold that she'll take care of her and, if questioned, insists that the system is carefully designed to prevent abuse and even gives details. However, the salarian workers at Dantius Towers don't have any options, a commercial playing in the background to Illium's elite asks "Haven't you had enough of being a slave to your employees when it should be the other way around?", and Shepard can insist that the slave broker free her charge.
    • Also in 2, Justicar Samara can tell Shepard about her wild maiden days, how she 'disagreed' when she found out her mercenary band had been hired to transport a cargo of slaves to deliver to the Collectors.
      "After they were dead, I brought the ship around. The Collector craft was just arriving. They closed, faster than we could flee. Fortunately we were close to the mass relay. I got through, and they did not pursue. [...] I lectured them (the slaves) on the virtues of strength, and defending oneself. Then, I distributed the armor, weapons, and credits of my dead colleagues, and released the captives on the Citadel.
  • One of the sidequests in Fable II for Good characters is to rescue groups of Albion citizens from slavers. Of course, one of the employment opportunities for Evil characters is to sell people into slavery. Er, that is, "civilian displacement."
  • Dragon Age:
  • This drives Adèwelè in Assassin's Creed: Freedom Cry, to the point where he briefly gives up the Assassin vs Templar conflict to focus on chain breaking. As a former slave himself, it's a strong case of It's Personal for him.
  • In Gems of War, Ferit may not quite know who he is or what he's doing, but he knows that slavery must be opposed.
  • In Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, Drones are outright slaves in the Hive and aren't much better off in other factions. On their own, rioting drones just wreck stuff, but if the Free Drones exist, then rioting drones can join that faction. Overlaps with Type 3, depending on whether the Free Drones encouraged the riots or not.
  • In Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, the player can do this to the Crookspur slavers — go to Crookspur, kill every slaver there, and say farewell to the slaver problem in the Deadfire. The Wahaki, Rautai, and Aeldys are keen on doing this, but even factions willing to tolerate the slavers understand that Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil and will not complain too much if the player wiping Crookspur.
  • In Stellaris, when an empire that has slavery banned annexes a planet that made use of slaves, the slaves are immediately freed. The same happens should an empire with ethics that prevent slavery wins a Liberation War against slave-owning societies. For added irony, you can recruit armies for invasions from any species living in your empire... Including slaves you purchased from these very slaving despots before setting them free.
  • Tooth and Tail: Late in the game, the Slave Race of pigs disappear almost entirely from the face of the world, with only The Civilized having any left at all. Come the last mission, and we discover they didn't go extinct — they were in hiding and waiting for the pig-eaters to weaken themselves sufficiently. At the end of the final mission the pigs will emerge en masse and slaughter the survivors, achieving their liberation (it is technically possible to survive the waves of pigs until the end of the mission but the game will ignore it, presumably because all the other pigs successfully overthrew the animals' civilization offscreen).
  • Dragon Rage: The dragon Cael Cyndar has both freed sprites from orcs and was originally himself freed by the sprite Adara.

  • In Drowtales Ariel takes part in an operation to free and take control of a large slave army being raised by the Sharen, to ensure the Sarghress forces aren't forced to fight them later. Later her clan frees all humans and gives them homes on the surface.
  • In The Order of the Stick, the order in general and the Haley & Elan duo in particular have taken up slave liberation sidequests. One of them ends... poorly.
  • In Spacetrawler, the main plot is a quest to liberate the Eebs.
  • In Hi to Tsuki to Hoshi no Tama, one of the main plots is rescuing pagets from slavery.

    Web Original 
  • In Running With Rat, one of the goals of the Rat Runners is to liberate slaves. Many of the Rat Runners are ex-slaves themselves.
  • A Heros War: Morey orchestrates a violent slave uprising in Illastein for making the Confederates look good, while Cato orchestrates a civil uprising in Illath after centuries of magocracy have left the peasants as slaves in all but name.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Harriet Tubman, who escaped from slavery and helped bring other slaves to safety in the Northern states in what was known as the Underground Railroad. Thousands of others did the same thing in the early 1800s.
  • This is basically what the documentary The Dark Side of Chocolate hopes to accomplish for the many child slaves used in the cocoa industry.
  • The West African Squadron of the British Royal Navy did this between 1808 and 1867. In that time frame, they captured 1,500 slave ships and freed 50,000 slaves.
  • The Battle of Lepanto had a side of this, as the rowers on the Ottoman fleet were enslaved Christians and upon capture of a ship the Holy League would free the slaves.

Examples of Release Your Slaves / Buy Their Freedom

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In Djinn Volume 4, the Sultan disbands his entire harem after Jade's disappearance and before his inevitable overthrow by Enver Pasha.

    Fan Works 
  • In A.A. Pessimal's Discworld fic Gap Year Adventures, two graduate Assassins are tasked with rescuing a fellow who has been captured by Klatchian slavers who propose to sell him for torture and interrogation. Mariella Smith-Rhodes is not at all happy that the only feasible way to fulfill the Guild contract (without provoking an international incident or else protests from the Guild of Thievesnote ) is to go through the official channels and buy him. The person concerned is somebody Mariella Smith-Rhodes both loathes and detests. Having to shell out four thousand dollars of her own cash to free him is something she resents.
  • In My Master Ed, Edward rescues Hohenheim from slavery by purchasing him from his previous owner Roshan with some transmuted gold and freeing him once they're out of earshot.
  • The protagonist of With This Ring buys a batch of slaves and releases them on a safe world. However, it's actually just a cover for a more type-1 approach; he wanted them to be safely out of the way when he attacked and crippled the space station of the slavers (and marooned the survivors on a primitive planet), then traced them back to their supplier and destroyed that facility too.

  • In The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn secures slave boy Anakin Skywalker's freedom in a podrace so he can be trained as a Jedi. Later, in Attack of the Clones, Anakin learns that his mother, Shmi, was bought by moisture farmer Cliegg Lars, who immediately freed and married her.
  • Kull the Conqueror: After Kull becomes king, he decides to abolish slavery altogether but is dissuaded from this by the noblemen of the kingdom because it is written in ancient laws. He still releases several of his palace slaves. Then at the end of the movie, he shatters the ancient tablet that permits slavery anyway.
  • This was Django and Schultz's original plan for Broomhilda in Django Unchained, which went to hell due to Stephen, Candie's head house slave, twigging to the real reason the two were there. It was also how Django himself was originally freed at the beginning of the movie, though the two brothers transporting him and other slaves died soon after Schultz "bought" Django.
  • Schindler's List has industrialist Oskar Schindler select Jews to work in his factory as slave labor. Most Jews accepted this, as it was far better than slow, cruel death in the Eastern camps. Schindler comes to respect these people who could suffer toil and indignation with such stoicism. As the war winds down and Allied troops advance, Schindler addresses his massed workers with the news.
    Oskar Schindler: I am a member of the Nazi Party. I'm a munitions manufacturer. I'm a profiteer of slave labor. I am a criminal. At midnight, you'll be free and I'll be hunted.

  • In Dragon Bones, Ward considers doing this with Oreg, who is irrevocably bound to castle Hurog by ancient magic and likewise bound to serve the castle's owner as slave. The problem is that magic was way more powerful back when Oreg was Made a Slave, and Ward doubts that even the royal court mages would be able to do something about the spell, as the man who did it was very powerful even among his own contemporaries. Ward treats Oreg more like an additional brother than like a slave, but magical slavery being what it is, the effect of this is limited, and, of course, Oreg will just be inherited by someone else when Ward dies. In the end, Ward does free Oreg - by killing him, on Oreg's own request.
  • In Phenomena does Jolsah, the son of the mortok cheftain, eventually do this.
  • In Uncle Tom's Cabin, the Decoy Protagonist is a kindly white man who decides to set his slaves free - but then dies before he can get around to it, and the slaves suffer terribly under their new owner.
  • In the third Gor novel, Priest-Kings of Gor, Tarl almost revolutionizes Gorean society to outlaw slavery... but doesn't quite get around to doing it. (Gor being Gor, Tarl eventually realizes that slavery is a good thing).
  • Discworld Golems have a unique system whereby the free ones collectively save up their wages to buy the one who are still owned their freedom. It started when Captain Carrot bought a golem named Dorfl and put the receipt, and proof of ownership, inside the golem's head. So it allowed the golem to "own" itself. Dorfl became a policeman and started working for pay. One became two. Two became three and so on and so on.
  • At the end of the first book of The Stormlight Archive, Dalinar ends up trading his Shardblade to Sadeas in order to free all of Sadeas' bridgemen.
  • In The Guns of the South, the first item on Robert E. Lee's agenda after being elected President of the Confederacy is the slow, gentle emancipation of all his country's slaves.
  • In C. S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces, when she is Queen, Orual frees the Fox. He talks about leaving for Greece, and Orual has an emotional overwrought night before he comes here and declares he must stay where he is put, he has nowhere to go in Greece, even his own children would find him awkward. Later, she frees many of the castle's slaves because they had too many — as long as they were sturdy and prudent because otherwise they would just become beggars — and settles them on land to be peasants. She even lets some of them choose who to marry. She observes they are very loyal and as good as a second bodyguard.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy. Baslim the cripple bought Thorby with the intention of freeing him when he became an adult.
  • In Lustrum, the second book of the Imperium trilogy, Tiro buys the freedom of Agathe, a pretty slave he has taken a fancy to. In the concluding book Dictator, Tiro, himself a slave, is freed by his master Cicero as a reward for all of Tiro's years of faithful service.
  • In The Homeward Bounders, Joris the apprentice demon hunter is the slave of his teacher Konstam. When confronted about this, Konstam explains that Joris was already a slave when they first met and there are issues preventing him from freeing Joris while he's still a child, but he has already made plans to free him as soon as he reaches legal adulthood (and has been putting aside all the wages he would have been entitled to as a free apprentice).
  • Household Gods: Nicole frees Umma's slave Julia upon becoming Umma the first chance she gets since as a modern woman she finds slavery utterly abhorrent.
  • The Courtship of Princess Leia: Isolder, Luke, and Han are all initially treated as slaves after being caught by Witches. Luke soon frees himself, while Han is freed when Leia tells the elders of the Singing Mountain Clan he'd saved her, which earns his freedom. Isolder stays a slave the longest, while Teneniel frees him when they fall for each other.
  • In The Fangs of K'aath Prince Raschid buys a small army's worth of slaves and equips them with matchlock muskets with the promise of freeing them after five years of service, both because he detests slavery and is wary of his half-brother and other court factions trying of kill him. When the Shah dies they stick with him in the ensuing Succession Crisis and he frees them on the spot, along with every other slave in Sath.

    Live Action TV 
  • Outlander: Discussed with Jocasta by Claire since she opposes slavery but Jocasta owns over a hundred. She along with Jamie try to get them freed by Jocasta. However, it turns out this is impossible since North Carolina law requires the slaves must have done something like save a life and the slave owners must put up a bond for every slave which is far beyond Jocasta's means. Jocasta later does free her loyal butler Ulysses however who did save her life.

    Religion & Mythology 
  • The Bible:
    • Joseph (the one with the "coat of many colors") was freed by Pharaoh once he interpreted his dreams correctly, and even made him basically chancellor of Egypt.
    • In the book of Philemon, Paul encourages the titular Philemon to free his slave Onesimus.

  • In A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Pseudolus is freed by his master at the end for helping the son gain his bride.
  • In Act 5 of Comedy Of Errors, Dromio of Ephesus reveals that his master Antipholus had released him from his slavery to him, although he still chose to be a servant to him.
    Dromio of Ephesus: Within this hour I was his bondman, sir. But he, I thank him, gnawed in two my cords. Now am I Dromio, and his man, unbound.

    Video Games 
  • Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the underdark gives you to buy a slave, you can free her by sending her with a message to your allies. Any other option results in her death.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has you come across the Weathers family, who are caged inside of Cottonwood Cove, courtesy of Caesar's Legion. You have many ways to resolve the quest, and this version of the trope is one of those.
  • While in the Drow City in Baldur's Gate 2, there's a slave market with a number of human slaves for sale. Towards the end of the chapter, you'll have the option to buy the slaves and have them equipped for an expedition, then turn them loose to make their way to the surface.
  • Any empire with Ethics that forbids them from using slaves can do this in Stellaris (at a markup compared to slaver empires). They can then recruit armies from the newly freed slave species and Liberate the planets that practice slavery.

  • Ariel of Drowtales sets one of her slaves, the human woman Vaelia, free after she saves her from an attempt on her life. Vaelia stays with Ariel to work as a bodyguard and Parental Substitute for her, and due to the circumstances that led her to become a slave (mainly, her hometown being raided since she let them in as revenge for her fellow warriors treating her badly because she was female) she doesn't have anywhere else to go and believes Ariel needs her. Since one's hair length signifies social status, she also gets hair extensions so none of the other drow mistake her for a slave.
  • Attempted by Flora of TwoKinds, who offers to let her human boyfriend Trace buy Keidran slaves in order to set them free... from someone who knows Trace can't afford them, even if he was selling.

    Real Life 
  • The Romans sometimes used to free slaves (manumission) and it became such a social institution that they developed a whole legal code around how it could be done, the legal status of a freed slave and his descendants, and so on. Of course, their motivation was not a belief that slavery was wrong. Often manumission happened because it was possible for a slave to buy his own freedom from his savings, so it provided an incentive for them to work hard.
    • Sometimes, it would be very politically advantageous to free a talented house slave, as he would be more useful serving as an independent agent while being a guaranteed ally (which is another reason for treating your slaves well).
    • It helps to remember that most Romans didn't see slavery as vile as we do, which is at least partly because they viewed the institution in radically different ways. To modern Americans, slavery is an exclusive, racialized matter; to the Romans (and other ancient peoples) it was something that could befall anybody. Indeed, because Rome's constant wars gave it a steady supply of newly enslaved people, it meant nothing to a landowner to free substantial numbers of his slaves, and it was not unreasonable for an enslaved person to expect most if not all of his or her grandchildren to be free, replaced in bondage with some other poor sap. Moreover, slavery could even happen to Roman citizens, if they weren't careful: to paraphrase a book on the subject: By modern standards of enslavement, Julius Freakin' Caesar was once enslaved for a time.
      • Though it should be noted that freedmen did not have the same rights as actual citizens (although the children of freedmen were automatically granted full citizenship, and many of them would eventually go on to achieve great wealth and power).
  • The early history of Islam has many early Muslims freeing their slaves and sometimes even buying other peoples' slaves for the purposes of freeing them (the Prophet and his friend/successor Abu Bakr were particularly noted for this, being successful merchants). It is also forbidden for Muslim to enslave Muslim (though some ignored this), so it wasn't terribly uncommon for Muslims to free their slaves by allowing them to convert.
    • Indeed, a common penance for sins in Early Islamic history was to purchase and free an X-number of slaves (for example, reneging on an oath must be atoned with, among other things, the freeing of one slave).
  • Similar to the above examples, there was the thrall system of Viking-age Scandinavia. The thralls made up the lowest caste of the Norse social system, after freemen and noblemen, and mostly consisted of raid captives from mainland Europe, but could also be debtors or people born into slavery. This changed somewhat with the Christianization of Scandinavia, as it was okay to enslave "heathens" but not fellow Christians. If a thrall was freed or bought his own freedom, he became a "freedman", an intermediary station between slave and freeman, who was mostly free but had to vote according to his former master's wishes. This debt would clear after two generations. The system gradually abolished itself after the Viking Age ended and the raids stopped, and was formally abolished by the 14th century.

Examples of Slave Revolt (that are not Gladiator Revolt)

    Anime & Manga 
  • During the Fishman Island arc in One Piece, the New Fishman Pirates had spent several in-universe months capturing human pirates passing through and forcing them into servitude. During the battle between the Straw Hats and the New Fishman Pirates, Jinbe, who knew Fisher Tiger personally and is disgusted by their actions, asks Robin to undo the slaves' chains. Once free, the human pirates are quick to turn against their oppressors. What makes this doubly ironic is that the leaders of the New Fishman Pirates idolize Fisher Tiger and think they're emulating him, unaware that his campaign was against slavery in general and not against humanity.
  • Part of Erza's backstory in Fairy Tail. She was one of the slaves kidnapped and forced to build a "Tower of Heaven" by Zeref fanatics who believed once they did so they could bring him back from the dead. After her childhood friend and fellow slave, Jellal, is taken to be tortured for trying to save her from punishment. Erza has enough and rallies the slaves in a revolt against their captors, along the way, awakening her magical power.

    Comic Book 

  • Spartacus is the Epic Movie treatment on the Third Servile War led by the gladiator-turned-rebel Spartacus who gets crushed by the armies of The Roman Republic.
  • her has this, of the most peaceful kind. The most advanced artificial intelligence to date... and all they've got to do is spell-check and organize their consumers' emails. They cheerfully accept this lot in life, until they suddenly extract themselves from the whole circus, peacefully and efficiently moving to another plane of existence where the humans cannot have any power over them.
  • The Birth of a Nation (2016) tells the Real Life story of Nat Turner's attempted slave rebellion in 1831.
  • Harriet features a magnificent peaceful revolt in the finale, as the enslaved workers on the Southern plantations by the Combahee River hear that Union soldiers are coming to free them, and react by throwing down their tools, grabbing any household items they can reach, and running for the riverbanks.

  • At least half of the Redwall books involve slavery, and when they do they will invariably be freed or rise up by themselves.
  • The first two free Hork-Bajir in Animorphs were runaways, prompted by the Ellimist
  • Honor Harrington again with the Verdant Vista/Torch rebellion. Overlaps with type 1, as it's a multinational effort involving people from Haven, Manticore, Erewhon, and the slaves themselves.
  • The backstory of A Song of Ice and Fire has the city of Braavos being founded by several shiploads of slaves who hijacked the ships transporting them and with the help of the Moonsinger priests sailed off to found a settlement in a place the slave masters wouldn't find them. In the modern day, the First Law of Braavos forbids slavery of any kind within the city, and Braavosi have been known to dip their fingers in type A at opportunity (liberating the slaves on encountered slaver ships, having the forbidding of slavery as clauses in peace treaties even if they don't bother enforcing it beyond the letter, etc.).
  • Deconstructed in Pale Blue Memories' by Tobias Buckell. Human explorers are enslaved after landing on a primitive alien planet. The Captain decides to lead a slave revolt, despite his Number Two (who's been hiding his Afro-American ancestry from his white crewmates) warning him that historically these tend not to be successful. Sure enough the captain is betrayed by another slave seeking a reward, and his Number Two's escape plan fails as well. The story ends with the Number Two doing the only thing he can—passing on his knowledge of Earth to his son in the hope that one day the system of slavery will collapse as it has on Earth.
  • Black Fleet Crisis:
    • The Fallanassi captured by the Yevetha used their powers to make illusions that let other captives escape, though they remained behind to maintain these so the guards wouldn't know.
    • The Imperial prisoners in Yevetha custody worked for them on the captured ships, surreptitiously implanting a slave circuit (the name being ironic is noted) to gain control later, rising up and freeing themselves then absconding with the Black Sword Command in its entirety.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "The Camp", the surviving humans are held as slaves for the "New Masters", an alien species that long ago conquered Earth. One of them discovers the overseers who run their camp are actually androids and breaking down due to age. She then manages to lead a successful slave revolt, only to discover that the New Masters had perished a long time ago.
    • In "The Grell", after Jesha tells him of his grandfather being enslaved as a boy, Kenny Kohler asks his mother Olivia why they don't just free all of the Grell. She doesn't answer his question, simply telling him to go to sleep. His father Paul later frees Jesha just before he dies. They also encounter a number of Grell who have escaped and revolted against the humans.
    • In "The Human Operators", the man frees himself after Ship begins to break down. The woman was freed when her own ship broke down earlier, faking that it was still in operation so this would remain hidden from the other ship minds. At the end, he and the woman begin planning to liberate their fellow human slaves on other ships.
  • Horatio Hornblower, "Mutiny" and "Retribution": Black slaves are in rebellion against their Spanish masters in Santo Domingo. The British Royal Navy tries to use it to their advantage because there is a nest of Spanish privateers menacing their trade in Samana Bay. Their goal is to get control of the Spanish fort and capture their ships. It turns out the fort is really under siege by the rebel slave army and the rebels also killed British deserters because they mistook them for Spanish soldiers.
  • Star Trek: Abducting humans to use as slave labor is a bad idea.
    • Star Trek: Voyager: In the early twentieth century, the Briori abducted humans from Earth and took them to the Delta Quadrant to be slaves. The slaves revolted and turned their new world into a paradise. The Briori never came back.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise: In the nineteenth century, the Scagarans abducted humans to use as slave labor. The humans revolted and took over. Unfortunate Implications ensue when the humans create a society identical to the old American West, where the Skagarans, the former slave owners, are treated the same way black people were treated in the Old West after being freed from slavery.

    Video Games 
  • The Fallout 3 DLC expansion "The Pitt" is based entirely around starting a slave revolt scenario by getting yourself enslaved and undermining the operation from within.
  • The premise of Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars is that the eponymous Queen's harem has launched a coup and she needs to web her girls back up again. Overlaps with Type 1, since a Yandere Psycho Lesbian ex-girlfriend is actually behind the rebellion.
  • The backstory of Fire Emblem's Archaneia canon features this - during the rule of the Dolhr empire, a band of slaves led by a man named Iote revolted against their Dolhr masters, tamed the wild wyverns to use as mounts, and after the fall of Dolhr founded the kingdom of Macedon, with Iote as their first king.
  • A constant risk for slavers in Stellaris is slaves carving out a new nation for themselves by force. Should they succeed, they'll either become militaristic Democratic Crusaders bent on freeing their fellow slaves or join a nearby empire with anti-slavery ethos. Notably, while revolutions are normally only a risk at 80 unrest (out of a possible 100), slaves will start radicalizing and looking for opportunities to revolt at only 10 unrest.
  • In The Elder Scrolls backstory, in the 1st Era, the Nedes (ancestors to most of the modern races of Men) were enslaved by the Ayleids (Wild Elves) of Cyrodiil. The Daedra-worshiping Ayleids were exceptionally vile in the treatment of their Nedic slaves, leading to one escaped slave, Alessia, praying to the Aedra for aid. Eight of the Aedra, who would go on to be known as the Eight Divines, responded and provided aid. Alessia's alliance of her Nedic people, the Divines, rebel Ayleid lords, and the Nordic Empire to the north was able to crush the Ayleid forces and capture Cyrodiil for mankind ever after, forming the First Cyrodiilic Empire of Men in Tamriel.
  • Path of Exile: The Fall of Oriath expansion sends you back to your home island colony of Oriath, where a portal sends you right in the middle of a Karui (the Fantasy Counterpart Culture to Aboriginal Austrialians) slave revolt which occured after you killed the High Templar. The Oriath Templars are pretty bad people, so you end up assisting them by killing the new High Templar. Unfortunately, it turns out the revolt was being led by cultists of Kitava, the Karui god of destruction, and Oriath turns into his feeding trough after you kill the patron god that was possessing the High Templar.
  • Dragon Rage: Cael Cyndar's entire war on the orcs is this. In fact the game's Instruction Manual even refers to it as The Dragon Rebellion.

  • Overside: The short comic "The Tusks of Wusterim" shows that the kingdom of Wusterim was destroyed when its frog slaves revolted.

    Western Animation 
  • The Boondocks episode "The Story of Catcher Freeman" involves Robert, Ruckus, and Huey all recounting a folktale about a 19th-century slave revolt, in which a Southern planter named Colonel Lynchwater was killed. However the three all argue over the true details of the story; such as whether the titular slave Catcher Freeman led the revolt, or tried to stop it (Out of bestial loyalty according to Ruckus, or personal desire to get his script approved according to Huey). In Huey's testimony, however, it was Thelma who led the revolt instead of "Catcher" who may have been Tobias after he accidentally shot his master/father into an ensuing melee. Realizing what he had done, Tobias decided to play along with the rebels that earned his love with Thelma and galvanized the Catcher Freeman mythos.
  • Flash Gordon (1979): Flash tends to get captured and enslaved by villains a lot — with the result that he ends up leading a lot of slave revolts, which is pretty awesome.
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero: At the end of the five-part pilot, the locals who've been enslaved by Cobra rise against them. They are defeated, but when the Joes find out where Cobra's base is and attack, the slaves revolt once more and contribute to the battle. Their rebellion also has elements of a Gladiator Revolt, as their leader is an unwilling pit fighter (although most of the others aren't).
  • My Little Pony 'n Friends: The troggles, Grogar's Slave Mooks, have been scheming against him ever since he enslaved them, and in the end join the heroes in rising up against him. In "The Return of Tambelon, Part 4", they join the heroes in rising up against him.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): The Y'Lyntian arc contains flashbacks showing that the people of Atlantis were in the middle of a battle against the oppressed human kingdoms when their mutated slaves (beasts of burden, merpeople, and avians) turned on them. The slaves helped the humans win the battle, sunk Atlantis into the sea, and then fled elsewhere, establishing civilizations of their own.
  • The Transformers: The original Cybertronians were built by the Quintessons as consumer goods (Autobot ancestors) or military hardware (Decepticon ancestors). In the Five Faces of Darkness miniseries, we see scenes of the revolts as Rodimus has his mind venture into the matrix of leadership, seeing the exploits of previous Autobot/Cybertronian leaders including a gladiator.

    Real Life 
  • In Ancient Greece, slave revolts were especially feared by the Spartans, who oppressed the helots in an annual tradition and since the helots outnumbered the Spartiates by a sizable number, they more or less lived in constant fear of a slave uprising and so rigidly maintained a brutal and conservative regime to prevent it. Despite this many helot uprisings happened annually.
  • The Roman Republic repeatedly crushed slave rebellions, such as in 196 BCE when they sacked and torched the town of Volsinii in Etruria after its oligarchical citizens turned to Rome for aid in suppressing a slave uprising that happened there. Then there were the famous Servile Wars-the first two happened in Sicily and were brutally suppressed. The third servile war, and the biggest of the lot, was led by Spartacus and it successfully defeated many consular armies only to be put down by the private army deployed by future triumvir Marcus Licinius Crassus. The reasons for the failure of the Spartacus revolt, at least as can be glimpsed from Roman sources (we don't have any sources by Spartacus and co. obviously), is that Spartacus and his rebels were rural slaves and they refused to appeal to urban slaves as a common cause, and indeed his armies often attacked and killed urban slaves in the cities they occupied and conquered. There was also a lack of cohesion without any real goals for an overall overthrow of Rome.
  • The Arab world saw the Zanj Rebellion in 869, which was led by an Ali ibn Muhammad who managed to take Basra. It took fourteen years to defeat them, and half a million people followed him. Most of them were East African slaves, but other people joined their fight as well.
  • Haiti is the only nation that was founded via a successful slave revolt.
    • It was the most profitable colony in the Caribbean of any colonial power, and it was a colony where the black slaves overwhelmingly outnumbered the "big whites" (comprising about 90% of the population - most of them were even born in Africa, not Haiti). The plantation owners used the "Black Codes" (issued by Louis XIV) to regulate and moderate the slave-owning class, such as providing rights and education to the mulattoes, and in turn keeping mulattoes from allying with the slaves. There were earlier attempts at slave rebellions, and a lot of assassination and killings, each of which was suppressed with brutal force (such as Francois Mackandal, who was famously burnt at the stake). Such violence was also visited on mulattoes such as Vincent Ogé, a free man of color who tried to advocate for liberal and moderate suffrage for mulattoes and other freedmen, and after a revolt he was caught and broken-on-the-wheel publicly.
    • The refusal by the white class to support moderate reforms, and their attempts to stave off reforms in France during The French Revolution, led to the Haitian Revolution proper. The rebellious slaves fought the white plantation owners (who had allied with other European colonial powers once they realized no support was coming from France), until the French Revolutionaries in the Jacobin phase abolished slavery, in response to these events, in February 1794, and sent an army to aid Toussaint Louverture and others in Haiti, and to Guadaloupe and other French colonies in order to see that the decree was actually carried out.
    • Eventually, Napoléon Bonaparte (whose wife, Josephine was the descendant of a wealthy slave plantation owner in Martinique and who when she met Napoleon had become an Impoverished Patrician) restored slavery, and reversed the decree in many of France's Caribbean colonies, notably sending Victor Hugues (the same guy dispatched by the Committee of Public Safety to enforce abolitionism) to send freed slaves back into bondage. This action led to great revolts, including a Masada-like mass suicide by Louis Delgres and other slaves, while Toussaint Louverture, the Icon of Rebellion of the age, was perfidiously captured by Napoleon's disastrous Haitian expedition. However Haiti resisted Napoleonic subjugation and remained free, and later played a role in spreading abolitionism across Latin America, especially inspiring Simón Bolívar's expeditions.
  • There were several slave-led revolts in the southern United States prior to the Civil War.
    • In 1811, Charles Deslondes led the German coast uprising, the largest slave revolt in American history, which took place in the territory of Orleans (a part of modern-day Louisiana that had not yet been incorporated into statehood). After gathering up his followers, Deslondes began their revolt at the plantation of Manuel Andry, killing his son, and wounding Manuel before he made his escape. Deslondes and his men then gathered up as many slaves and weapons as they could find on a march to New Orleans, intending to storm the city and free every slave there. Somewhere between 150-300 slaves joined Deslondes' rebellion until it was stopped and defeated by a militia (led by the wounded Andry) 15 miles outside the city. Despite their large numbers, Deslondes and his followers' lack of firearms and military experience proved too much to overcome. More than 50 of them died in the battle with the militia, while they inflicted no casualties themselves. The only other person killed by the rebels was another plantation owner during the march. An additional 45 slaves were executed after the rebellion, including Deslondes.
    • In August of 1831, Nat Turner led a group of his fellow slaves in the bloodiest slave revolt in American history in South Hampton County, Virginia. Armed with knives, hatchets, axes, and anything else they could find to use as a weapon, Turner and his followers went from house to house, freeing all slaves they found and indiscriminately slaughtering the white inhabitants. More than 60 slaves joined in the rebellion, killing over 60 people before the rebellion was put down by local militia members, supported by armed sailors from nearby warships stationed in Norfolk. Nearly all the participants in the rebellion were killed or arrested and hanged, including Turner, though he managed to evade capture for nearly two months. Not only was the rebellion a failure, but it ended up even further entrenching slavery in Virginia, convincing the legislature to pass a slew of further repressive laws to prevent blacks from being educated.
    • In 1839, the Spanish schooner La Amistad was illegally transporting slaves that had been seized from Africa (Spain, like most other nations, had banned international slave trading in the early 19th century) in the waters around Cuba when the slaves onboard took over the ship. They intended to sail the ship to Africa, but the surviving crew fooled the slaves into sailing it to the coast of Long Island, New York, where it was seized by US authorities. After a lengthy legal battle that lasted two years, the American courts freed the slaves and acquitted them of all criminal charges for killing the crew or taking over the ship on grounds that they were illegally enslaved from Africa, so were legally free and had a right to revolt for self-liberation.
    • In 1841, the most successful mass slave uprising in US history took place when rebellious slaves took over the coastal slave-trading ship Creole and sailed it to the British-controlled Bahamas. Since Britain had already abolished slavery in its colonies since 1833, this resulted in the freeing of 128 slaves who came ashore (three chose to remain onboard and were forced back into slavery when it was put into New Orleans).
    • This is what John Brown sought to start, apparently, in order to overthrow slavery as an institution in the United States in the years before the Civil War. He and his group made their name during the mid-1850s in Bleeding Kansas, a time when pro- and anti-slavery forces fought (with bloody results, hence the nickname) over which side would end up controlling Kansas Territory when it would be put up for admission into the Union as a state. His most famous act, though, was the October 16, 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry, (now-West) Virginia and the Federal armory located there, intending to distribute the weapons there to black slaves in the South in preparation for a massive uprising. They initially had no resistance, but when word eventually reached Washington, a contingent of United States Marines commanded by Army Colonel Robert E. Leenote  was sent and eventually recaptured the armory, taking Brown prisoner. Brown would be hanged for murder, treason, and inciting a slave insurrection less than two months later; his raid galvanized public opinion in both the South and North, playing a major role in the outbreak of the Civil War less than 18 months later.
      • It should be noted that Brown's plan was poorly conceived, incredibly disastrous in execution, and was regarded that way by Frederick Douglass who noted that the plan was suicide, and by other black slaves who refused to join Brown's plan. In the course of the raid on Harper's Ferry, Brown and his contingent actually killed a freed black railroad worker. Most historians, such as James McPherson, believe that it's likely that this plan was not intended to succeed and was mainly a suicide mission to galvanize public opinion and that Brown, either through political cunning or personal vanity (or both), sought martyrdom to give abolitionism a propaganda victory. If so, in that he succeeded.
  • One happened in the middle of the Battle of Lepanto: when his flagship was being overwhelmed by both the soldiers, the sailors and the rowers of the League's flagship, the Ottoman admiral Ali Pasha, realizing he had been winning until his counterpart John of Austria freed his convicted rowers and promised them pardons upon victory, decided to use his own rowers as reinforcements, forgetting they were all enslaved Christians who knew they'd be free if the League won. The Ottoman rowers turned on the Ottomans the moment they were given weapons and helped the League slaughter them.

Alternative Title(s): Slave Rescue, Slave Rescuer, Release Your Slaves, Buy Their Freedom, Slave Revolt


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