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Slave Liberation
aka: Slave Revolt

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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.

Contrast Sympathetic Slave Owner and Hero's Slave Harem, where the main character keeps slaves and is still (usually) supposed to be heroic.

Examples of Slave Rescue / Slave Rescuer:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest: When Myuu is kidnapped by slavers, Hajime and company respond in ruthless and decisive fashion, not only destroying the slavers and freeing Myuu but liberating everyone else they'd taken.
  • 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.
  • One Piece
    • Fisher Tiger 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.
    • The liberation of slaves becomes a more prominent and consistent theme starting from the Sabaody Archipelago arc and onwards, after the World Nobles are introduced and Luffy meets and befriends three of the slaves Fisher Tiger freed: the Warlord of the Sea Boa Hancock and her two sisters Sandersonia and Marigold. It is especially prominent during the Fish-Man Island arc, where we get an in-depth look on the One Piece world's history of slavery, how it influenced the racism between Fish-Men and humans, and the efforts made by many to fight against it. Luffy in particular develops a hatred of slavery nearly rivaling the likes of Fisher Tiger, and many arcs see him liberating oppressed people from whoever is enslaving them.
    • During the Fish-Man Island Arc, the New Fish-Man Pirates have been capturing human pirate crews and forcing them into servitude as an expendable fighting force. Jimbei even calls the New Fish-Man Pirates' actions as "Playing Celestial Dragon". During the Straw Hats' battle agains the New Fish-Man Pirates, Nico Robin uses her abilities to unlock the slaves' chains, upon which they turn on the New Fish-Man Pirates.
    • Plays a big role in the Dressrosa Arc; The Living Toys that populate Dressrosa are actually people transformed by the Hobby-Hobby Fruit user, and when they're not entertaining the citizens on the surface, they are forced to toil in an underground harbor for the Don Quixote Family. Stage 1 of The Resistance's revolt is knocking out Sugar, and undoing the transformation. Usopp manages to pull it off with an epic Nightmare Face.
    • Of particular note is the mysterious figure from the Void Century named Joy Boy, mentioned on the Poneglyph located in Fish-Man Island, who made a promise to the people of Fish-Man island that he was unable to keep. Later, during the Wano arc, there is another figure mentioned by antagonist Who's-Who called the Sun God, Nika, who was known as a "Warrior of Liberation"; slaves would pray to him in hopes that he would one day free them from their bonds and brings smiles to their faces. It's only in Chapter 1044 that these two figures are revealed to be one and the same: Joy Boy is actually a nickname given to an Awakened user of the Human-Human Fruit, Model: Nika, the true name of the Gum-Gum Fruit eaten by Monkey D. Luffy. When Luffy awakens his devil fruit after being seemingly killed by Kaido, he effectively becomes the next inheritor of the original Joy Boy's will and succeeds his title as the Sun God and the Warrior of Liberation. It neatly ties in as to why the people of Fish-Man Island were so determined to keep up their end of the promise they made with Joy Boy — there is no one they would've held in higher regard than a liberator of slaves.
    • During the events in Wano, the Revolutionary captains attacked Marijoa and among other acts managed to free the slaves of the Celestia Dragons.
  • Queen Millennia:
    • While undoing the population exchange, Yayoi takes enslaved humans from La-Metal with her.
    • La-Metal uses androids as security force. When Yayoi tells Dela Mars Frontiara (turns out to be Daisuke Yamori in a mind-controlling mask) that Larela plans to leave them behind, all androids decide to immigrate to Earth.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix: In the book The Mansion of the Gods Asterix, Obelix, and Getafix provide the magic potion to the slaves building the titular mansion expecting they'll use their newfound Super-Strength to rise up... But they didn't account for the utterly pragmatic way ancient Romans treated their slaves (to avoid rebellions they actually treated them as people, if with far less rights than even foreigners, and paid them a small stipend so they'll be able to enjoy their own things and eventually buy their freedom, saving the masters from having to pay for their upkeep in their old age. Thus the slaves instead show their strength and demand a higher pay and freedom upon completing the Mansion and the Romans accept, much to Asterix' chagrin when the slaves use their super strength to build the place that much faster.
  • Batman: 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.
  • Conan the Barbarian: In Conan the Avenger, Conan and his mercenary allies assault a slave-trading hub and release their prisoners in the process. 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.
  • ElfQuest: In the 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.)
  • Fantastic Four: The story arc "Planet Skrull" revolves around a group of Skrulls enslaving a whole planet and Reed Richards' family sparking a successful rebellion.
  • Superman:
    • 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.
    • Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom: Subverted. After being thrown into the slave mining pits, Maelstrom tries to lead an uprising, but no slave joins her revolt out of reasonable fear of being brutally punished by Darkseid's soldiers.
    • 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.
    • Wonder Woman: The Once and Future Story: Several of Theseus' slaves are planning to kill him and try to make their escape. Etain invites Artemis to join their plot after helping nurse her back to health.
  • X-Men: In 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.

    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.
  • In Meanwhile, Back on Earth, It is the Clean Up Crew's and later C.L.D.R.N's job to try and save Earth-based Grimwalkers from a life of toil and servitude.
  • 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.
  • A Thing of Vikings: Berk had abolished thralldom in the early years of the Dragon Wars, as the Chief offered freeman status to any thrall who would help defend Berk against the dragons. By the time of Chief Stoick and Hiccup, slavery was so abhorrent to the Hooligan tribe that when Ragnell offered Stoick a tribute of ten thralls, Stoick pushed Ragnell's boat away from the dock with his foot, and welcomed the thralls a free citizens of Berk.
  • 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.
  • Vow of Nudity: The Silver Lining serves this role in-universe. However, the sort of guerilla raiding tactics normally seen in this trope seem to be only a small part of their playbook; instead they usually purchase slaves' freedom through legal imperial means and help the newly-freed slaves integrate comfortably back into Mixed Lands society. Haara (an escaped slave herself) tends to take a more direct approach, violently liberating slaves in several of her stories.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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 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 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.
  • Harriet: Tubman first frees herself by escaping, then goes back to rescue many others, including her parents, while more abolitionists are seen who also did this. The most prominent example is when she leads a massive raid by Black Union soldiers to rescue more than 700 slaves in South Carolina amid the American Civil War.
  • 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.
  • Future World (2018): Ash and Lei get the women Big Daddy Love Lord enslaved freed at the end, leaving him to a lethal beatdown at their hands.
  • Surrounded: Mo relates that at the end of the American Civil War she, along with her family, were declared free by the Union Army and left plantation where they had been enslaved. However, as she says, being free didn't mean their problems were over, since they had no land or a place to go afterward. She went West after getting land in hopes of being truly free that way.

  • In Black Dawn, Maggie orchestrates an escape for herself and three other slave girls, Cady, Jeanne and PJ, shortly after they're brought into the Dark Kingdom; they're able to overturn the old covered wagon they're being transported in, damaging the sides enough to get out and make a break for the forest. This eventually turns into a plan to free all the slaves in the Kingdom, after Maggie learns that Hunter Redfern plans to slaughter all the slaves. After Hunter and the nobles loyal to him are dead, Delos frees the slaves immediately, inviting them all into the castle.
  • 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 Targaryen, Princess in Rags cum Dragon Rider, does this in A Song of Ice and Fire, mostly by overthrowing the three cities at the center of the slave trade. The unfortunate side effects are extensive. In Astapor, a tyrant known as Cleon takes over the city once she leaves, and re-institutes slavery except with the "improvement" of the former masters being the new 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. And since slavery is the foundation of the Essosian economy, she makes an enemy of every rich person in Essos.
  • 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 anti-slavery sentiment as to hurt their morale (which it does, badly). Even so, the slaves are sent home. However, Elelar sadly wonders if anything except disgrace and poverty is waiting for them there.
    • The Alizar diamond mines also hold many Silerian men who were just rounded up by the Valdani to work there. Even the convicts are often sentenced for very petty crimes and all work in awful conditions where many die, so they're not much different. Josarian also leads their liberation as the rebels take Alizar.
  • 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 Omnians had failed to register that Ephesians slaves were the beneficiaries of a well-established and incredibly successful workers' rights movement, to the point where slavery had almost become a Weird Trade Union by the time they invaded.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • 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, which succeeds but with heavier losses than they expected as mercenaries from Black Sun have been sent to defend the colony.
    • Shadows of the Empire: It's mentioned during a meeting of Black Sun's leaders that their profits from slave trading have dropped as planets influenced by the Rebels passed local laws banning slavery, thus freeing slaves under their jurisdiction.
  • 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.
  • Bazil Broketail:
    • At the end of the first book, in Tummuz Orgmeen Lessis frees many female breeding slaves and leads them in a revolt, helping to defeat their masters.
    • After getting separated from their unit and lost in an ancient jungle in book five, Bazil and Relkin stumble upon the primitive people of Ardu, who are constantly raided by slavers from Mirchaz. They liberate them from slave camps, then help them establish an organized tribe and offer them combat training in order to give them a fighting chance against slavers in the future. Later, when Relkin is abducted by slavers himself, Bazil leads the Ardu to war against Mirchaz, scoring many victories and liberating even more slaves.
  • The House-elf subplot in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire involves Hermione Granger trying to free enslaved else, to little effect.
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Huck runs away from home with his foster mother the Widow Douglas's slave Jim after learning Douglas plans to sell Jim to a large plantation.
  • TimeRiders: When Liam and Rashim go back in time to 1666 they end up hiring many escaped slaves to work for them on board the Maddy Carter.
  • In The Moon and the Sun, Marie-Josèphe's family has a slave named Odelette, who Marie-Josèphe always assumed enjoyed Happiness in Slavery. When Odelette tells Marie-Josèphe how horrible it actually is to be a slave, and how much she wants to live in Turkey, where her mother lived before being enslaved, Marie-Josèphe tells her that she is unofficially free, even though she won't be legally free until she can persuade Yves to sign the manumission documents, and that she will adopt her as her sister. Odelette changes her name to Haleed and becomes a practicing Muslim. In the end, Yves signs the documents, and the King gives Haleed some pearls that she can use to travel to Turkey.
  • The Chronicles of Dorsa:
    • Joslyn escaped from slavery, as did a girl she knew, while just a teenager.
    • Milo, a little boy with a magical gift, was captured and forced to aid the mountain men before Joslyn freed him.
    • Linna was sold into slavery by her own mother. Tasia took a liking to her when they met. Seeing it, her owner gave her Linna as a present (as she's his sovereign). Tasia swiftly freed her.
  • Shatter the Sky: Maren begins freeing dragons as the story progresses, both as a result of being utterly appalled how they're treated by the empire, but also to undermine it as they serve as its greatest weapons. Those she frees in turn help to free others in many cases.
  • The Obsidian Chronicles: Arlian is freed from the mines by the overseer whose life he saved, as both a reward and to avoid trouble as a result.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: As mentioned in the entry for its source material, A Song of Ice and Fire, Daenerys overthrows the slave cities of Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen. As mentioned in the entry for its source material, she finds that overthrowing a few cities is easier than overthrowing a social system. Since the show has a Gecko Ending, her ultimate answer was to pull a Screw This, I'm Out of Here! — the whole thing was essentially a Side Quest for her anyway — and return to main plot, the titular game of thrones.
  • 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 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.
  • Willow: On finding that many Reavers have been enslaved inside of the Skellin mines, Scorpia departs the party and goes to rescue all those that she can.

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

    Myths & Religion 
  • 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 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: In the 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.
  • Magic: The Gathering implies this trope with two cards, the Enslaved Dwarf and the Liberated Dwarf. While the pictures appear to be different dwarves, both cards have the same attributes (1/1 for one red mana, and paying one red mana and sacrificing them grants +1/+0 and Forst Strike until the end of turn to the target black/green creature, respectively) and were released in consecutive editions as part of the same block.
  • Pathfinder:
    • The Steel Falcons are a branch of the Eagle Knights that operates primarily in areas outside Andoran. Much of their manpower is directed towards freeing slaves, which includes naval operations against Cheliax. Given that the Steel Falcons are a military force operating as part of a national organization, their actions don't endear Andoran to anyone, and the situation is likely to result in all out war.
    • The River Kingdoms (the setting of the Kingmaker adventure path and its CRPG adaptation) are one of the few areas to share Andoran's antipathy to slavery. The ban on slavery is the fifth of the six River Freedoms: it's estimated that a third of the population is made up of escaped slaves or their descendants, who zealously defend against slavers, and Hellknights of the Order of the Chain are forbidden from holding office there due to the order's support for the practice.
    • Followers of Milani, goddess of freedom and revolutions, commonly practice this. Milanites' antipathy to slavery causes friction with otherwise friendly followers of Sarenrae, whose church is indifferent to slavery at best since it's a major part of the economy in its center of worship in the Empire of Kelesh.
    • In the transition to Second Edition the Firebands emerge as an alliance of local cells of freedom fighters. Abolitionism is one of the causes the organization champions, but while Firebrand cells emerge as part of a grassroots movement which frequently stems from slave revolts, Firebrands are not necessarily former slaves themselves.
  • Space 1889: In Red Sands there are adventures about liberating High Martian slaves or creating a rebellion if the player characters are captured.
  • Transhuman Space features a science-fiction version of the trope, clearly partly inspired by the history of anti-slavery activities; "bioroids" are considered property in some jurisdictions and free sapient beings in others, and some groups and nations run active armed anti-bioroid trading operations. Artificial Intelligence liberation is a lesser concern in the setting, but in some cases, AIs will similarly move or be moved from places where they are property to other places where they can be free citizens.
  • 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 
  • Battle for Wesnoth: The plot of "Slavers" in Dead Water. Kai Krellis's group meet an escaped merman slave Teeloa and decides to fight the saurian slavers to free all the slaves from them.
  • 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 Oblivion proper, the Daedric Prince Malacath has you do this for his personal quest. A Dunmer named Lord Drad has enslaved a group of Ogres to work his mine; Malacath is the patron of Ogres and tasks you with setting them free. If you succeed, the Ogres turn the tables and enslave Drad themselves, forcing him to work non-stop.
  • 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.
  • Essentially the entire premise of the Oddworld series. Not doing this enough always nets you a bad ending where the main character, Abe (a self-liberated slave), dies in a very painful way. The good endings have Abe hailed a savior of the Mudokons.
  • 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.
  • Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous: You can attack the slave merchants in Alushinyrra to free their merchandise.

    Web Comics 
  • 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 
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold:
    • Done unsuccessfully and Played for Laughs twice with the efforts of Dr. Canus, an uplifted, futuristic dog mutant, who tries to free devolved and enslaved humans from the animal men armies. The slaves are too unintelligent to run a single foot after being freed from their shackles.
    • Another time, Canus travels back in time to the present day, where he mistakes dogs for imprisoned sentients like himself and unsuccessfully tries to free them.
    • Battmanicus, a distant predecessor and possible ancestor of Batman, rides around ancient Rome in a chariot, freeing slaves from their masters.
  • Jonny Quest episode "Turu the Terrible''. Dr. Quest and Race Bannon kill the title pteranandon, freeing many natives who had been forced to mine for trinoxite ore.
  • Batman liberates a group of children enslaved by the Sewer King in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Underdwellers". When he gets his hands on the villain, Batman admits to being so angry and disgusted that he was sorely tempted to mete out punishment himself rather than let the law handle it.

    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 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.
  • Francisco Menéndez, original name unknown, was a black slave in the British colonies until he escaped to the Spanish Empire, where slaves could easily buy their freedom and runaways from other nations were given freedom in exchange for Catholic baptism and military service whenever necessary. Stationed in Fort Mosé, a settlement of black freedmen in the Spanish Florida, he then led raids against the British colonies, freeing other black slaves from their plantations, and all together managed to kick the British out of Florida during the War of Jenkins' Ear.
  • In the early years of The American Civil War, the Union army did not have an official policy of freeing Confederate slaves, but generally granted them freedom on grounds of military necessity, since depriving the South of slave labor would hinder their war effort. This policy was eventually made official by the passage of the Confiscation Acts. The Confiscation Act of 1862 ensured permanent freedom for all slaves freed by the army, even after the war. Then on January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, which was a military order by Abraham Lincoln that the previously ad-hoc practice of the Union Army freeing the slaves in Confederate lands it held would become firm policy. This, in conjunction with the Confiscation Act, meant that if the United States achieved its primary war aim of destroying the Confederacy, the abolition of slavery in the rebellious states would be acheived, and the slaves would be (in the Proclamation's words) "forever free".
    • By the end of the war, slaves were freed in all formerly rebel territory. The announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in the last holdout (Texas) is celebrated as the holiday of Juneteenth. The remaining slaves, in loyal Union slave states, were freed by the 13th Amendment.

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.
  • With This Ring: As part of Orange Lantern's plan to liberate Tamaran (the home planet of Starfire from the Gordanians, who'd been oppressing them for decades with the support of the Psions, he pretends to be a slaver himself, buying up all the slaves the Gordanians have availible, then releasing them on a friendly planet until they can be returned home safely. This is because while crushing the Gordanians is almost trivial for someone of OL's power, he didn't want to risk the captive Tamaranians getting caught in the crossfire. Once the ruse was no longer needed, OL wiped out most of the Gordanian clans, stranding some of the survivors on an uninhabited planet, before going after the Psions next.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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 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 chieftain, 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 short story "Death of a Social Climber" (collected in the Hy Conrad mystery anthology Historical Whodunits), the wife of a Roman nobleman keeps trying to free enslaved cook Norteo out of gratitude for the delicious meals he makes for important social events, but her cold-hearted husband keeps overruling her on that matter until his murder, after which she immediately frees Norteo. Her son also offers another slave, Moderatus, his freedom if he can exonerate the family and honors his promise after Moderatus proves that an outsider committed the murder.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars Legends
    • 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.
    • Star Wars: Tatooine Ghost:
      • Han encounters a former weequay slave named Grunts who he won in a card game many years ago. Hans freed Grunts and offered him a job as a cargo hauler, but Chewbacca and Grunts didn't get along, so they went their separate ways.
      • A video recording of Cliegg Lars freeing his future wife Shimi from slavery is shown.
  • 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 to 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.
  • The Confessions of Frannie Langton: Frannie is legally freed by being taken to England (as no law authorized slavery there, with a previous court ruling deciding this), though it's rather empty as she's got no place to go and is effectively stuck as a maid for her former owner.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): 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.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • Joseph (the one with the "coat of many colors") was freed by Pharaoh once he interpreted his dreams correctly, and made him chancellor of Egypt.
    • In the Epistle to Philemon, Paul encourages Philemon to free his runaway slave Onesimus on the grounds that they are both fellow men and brothers in the Lord, and offers to pay any of Onesimus's outstanding debts for his freedom.

  • 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.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has a few slave markets, (only one of which the player is actually able to purchase from), and any slave the player buys can be freed by them immediately if the player chooses. If the player is the same race as the slave they're buying, the slavemistress will say that she knows they're probably just buying the slave to free them, but doesn't really care because she gets paid either way.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: While little can be done about slavery on a large scale, there are occasions where individual slaves are freed.
    • The Sith Inquisitor PC was released from slavery and sent to Korriban's Sith Academy when it was discovered they were Force-sensitive. Their own future apprentice Xalek has a similar backstory.
    • The Sith Warrior is given a Twi'lek named Vette, imprisoned for graverobbing, as a slave, and has a couple opportunities to free her. Later a companion quest offers the opportunity to buy her sister out of Sex Slavery.
  • Chapter 4 of Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous takes place entirely within the Abyssal city of Alushinyrra, which has a slave market. You can buy slaves free from several merchants, and in one case your aasimar companion Daeran, a wealthy nobleman, will buy a group of aasimar women free himself if the PC doesn't offer.

    Web Comics 
  • 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 (by birth Caesar was a patrician, i.e. Roman high nobility, but he was at one point captured by pirates, who made him do their bidding until some friends in Rome paid his ransom).
    • Though 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).
  • The Spanish slavery laws descended from their Romanized ancestors, with certain moral considerations added (it was illegal for a Christian to enslave another Christian, and The Catholic Monarchs later established Native Americans could not become slaves regardless of if they were Christians or still pagan). As such, buying one's freedom was surprisingly easy in the Spanish Empire, with many black slaves becoming conquistadors, soldiers, sailors, merchants and even qualified jobs, to the point King Philip II had to instate a taxation on manumission when he realized he was missing tons of money due to how common it was. He had one of those in his own entourage, Juan Latino, a former slave belonging to the family of Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba who eventually became the first black college professor in western history.
    • Conquistadors often allowed their own slaves to serve as fellow conquistadors until they gained enough booty to buy their freedom, a point in which many of those freedmen acquired their own slaves and the cycle started again. There was even an entire system designed to ease the transition, the Milicias de Pardos y Morenos ("Militias of Mulattos and Blacks"),note  created during the reign of King Philip III, which freedmen and their descendants could join in order to be given military privileges and the title Don. However, sometimes variations happened — one of those slave conquistadors, Juan Valiente, might be most bizarre example since he became a landowner while he was still a slave, earning an encomienda for battlefield feats before he could send his master the promised money to buy his freedom.
    • Slaves from the British and French colonies often ran away to Spanish territories due to these advantages. King Charles II of Spain eventually issued a decree where any of these runaways would be officially given citizenship in exchange for becoming Catholic and serving in a militia whenever it was necessary, which no doubt many of them capitalized on in order to get revenge on their former masters (later King Philip V added four years of indentured servitude to the requirements, although military service would still took priority during wars). This led to the first free black settlement in the lands of the United States, Fort Mosé in Florida.
  • 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.
  • Abraham Lincoln had constantly advocated federally compensated emancipation as a means to convince the states to abolish slavery during the years leading up to his election as President. Once in office, he made several attempts to convince the slave states still remaining in the Union to give up their slaves in exchange for federal funds. None of those states accepted his offer, but on April 16th, 1862, his administration passed the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act, which abolished slavery in Washington DC by providing up to $300 (about $11,000 in 2022 dollars) in federal compensation to slave owners for each slave that was freed. In the following months, federal commissioners processed more than 930 appliactions and granted freedom to all 2,989 of Washington DC's former slaves.

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.
    • A case of this was what caused the "God Valley" incident. The Celestial Dragons decided to have a contest of Hunting the Most Dangerous Game with God Valley's population and their more troublesome slaves. Rather than let themselves be killed, some of the slaves hatched their own plan to escape. One of the slaves did wire-tapping to reveal that the prizes for the hunt were some Devil Fruits, hoping that it would attract pirates to act as a diversion. Then the slaves would steal the Fruits in the confusion and use their powers to escape. This plan worked, with one slave getting a Devil Fruit that allowed him to save 500 people from certain death; Bartholomew Kuma's Paw-Paw Fruit.
  • As told in The Krypton Chronicles and other Pre-Crisis Superman 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.
  • 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 Books 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Birth of a Nation tells the Real Life story of Nat Turner's attempted slave rebellion in 1831.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): It's revealed via an Easter Egg that Advanced Ancient Humans previously enslaved the very Titans that they'd once worshipped and tried to use them as weapons for warfare, only for some of the Titans to rebel, triggering an all-out human-Titan conflict which culminated in a global cataclysm. At the end of the conflict, the Titans were freed but their numbers had been decimated, and they had to withdraw into hibernation against an ice age; while the advanced ancient human civilization was dismantled irreparably, leaving only scattered survivors around the world who forgot their shared past over generations.
  • 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.
  • Planet of the Apes:
  • 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.
  • Underworld, The Prequel movie, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, depicts the origin of the Lycan rebellion against their Vampire masters, sparked by the Star-Crossed Lovers Lucian and Sonja, Viktor's vampire daughter.

  • 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.
  • In the Bounders series, a major one happened on the Youli homeworld long before Earth made First Contact. The Youli used to be cruel tyrants who enslaved other species and stripped their planets for ore. Eventually, the slaves they'd transported to their homeworld revolted, and the inhabitants of other planets leaped at the opportunity to join in. The Youli were almost wiped out, and their homeworld was almost destroyed, along with the entire galaxy. In the end, the Youli learned their lesson, developed Organic Technology so they wouldn't have to rely on slave labor, and formed the Intergalactic Council so that this would never happen again.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland:
    • Male Tourists enslaved as Gladiators or on Galleys will soon escape.
    • Female Tourists enslaved will also soon manage to when their owner's enemy attacks.
    • Male Tourists often rescue other female slaves, despite them being previously happy with their lot.
  • The Alien Chronicles trilogy is set in a universe where the reptilian Viis have enslaved numerous other species, who are collectively referred to as the abiru. The protagonist - an Aaroun named Ampris - grows from a spoiled pet of the future empress to the leader of La Résistance. The liberation of the abiru as a whole becomes her primary goal, though she does conduct several smaller-scale liberations in the process. This includes her escape from a research lab alongside several other test subjects in the second book, as well as helping several abiru farm workers flee Viis confinement early in the third book. The end of the trilogy sees her lead an exodus of abiru from the Viis homeworld as their teetering empire begins breaking down in earnest, allowing a large number of abiru to found a new society on the paradise planet Ruu-113, safely away from the Viis.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Outer Limits:
    • 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", the Kohler's (who eventually free their own slave) 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.
  • The Power (2023): Women held as sex slaves in Carpathia discover the power, killing their captors using it and then fleeing the area where they were being kept. The revolt spreads quickly, with more women doing this and before too long organizing themselves into rebel groups against their repressive patriarchal government.
  • Lawmen: Bass Reeves:
    • Bass frees himself from slavery by running away to Indian Territory. Before long as well all enslaved black people are freed by the Thirteenth Amendment.
    • On finding that many black men have been illegally enslaved by Esau in Texas, Bass frees them with Billy Crow, sending them off to safety afterward.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The backstory for the gith states that they were once a Slave Race to the illithids who once controlled much of the multiverse eons ago. But when they began developing Psychic Powers, a slave named Gith soon led a bloody revolt that pushed the illithids to the brink of extinction and forced them to hide in the darkest corners of the multiverse.
  • Pathfinder: On Golarion there's the Bellflower Network, an organization run by halflings, who are commonly enslaved in this setting. The faction is dedicated to freeing other halflings and closely resembles the Underground Railroad. Many Bellflower agents are former slaves who chose to take on the fight due to familial ties.
    • In the transition to Second Edition, the slaves of Sargava (a former colonial holding of Cheliax in the Mwangi Expanse) succeed at one of these. The nation is now known as Vidrian.

    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: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light and Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem 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.
  • Star Control: The main villains, the Ur-Quan, were once slaves of the Dnyarri, who would Mind Control the Ur-Quan to do tasks for them. One Ur-Quan made a discovery: Dnyarri would automatically disconnect their mind control if the Ur-Quan was in extreme pain. He broadcast this information to as many Ur-Quan as he could, leading the Ur-Quan to self-mutilate and otherwise harm themselves en masse to get the Dnyarri out of their heads. Eventually, they succeeded in defeating the Dnyarri... but the revolt was so painful and traumatizing for them that they decided they would have to enslave (or annihilate) all other life in the universe out of fear that someone, somewhere, might enslave them again.
  • 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 Australians) slave revolt which occurred 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.

    Web Comics 
  • 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: 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".
  • 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.
    • French Saint-Domingue was the most profitable colony in the Caribbean of any colonial power, supplying the vast majority of Europe's sugar and coffee during the 18th century. But it was a colony where the Black slaves overwhelmingly outnumbered the Whites—comprising about 90% of the population (and mostly born in Africa, not Haiti). By and large, Black slaves were treated as capital—French accountants treated slaves on the sugar plantations as farm equipment depreciating to 0% of purchase value within 5 years. That is, a Black slave unlucky enough to harvest sugar in Saint-Domingue was, statistically speaking, expected to be worked to death within 5 years.
    • That said, early in the French colony's history, Black slavery really was more economic than racial. Black slaves regularly (which isn't to say frequently) won freedom by earning money and buying their freedom from their masters (much as in ancient Rome). These and other freedmen were given full economic and legal rights once free,note  and frequently ended up buying plantations and slaves of their own. The children of these freedmen frequently married Whites, giving rise to a class of "free people of color" (gens de couleur libres), commonly called "Coloreds", who were frequently quite prosperous and promenent.
    • Over time, the French issued "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 Coloreds 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 François 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 Whites 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, Joséphine 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.
    • For an engrossing and thorough English-language entry-level history of Haiti's unique revolution, see Season 4 of the Revolutions podcast, which is one of the more-digestible histories of the period in English.
  • 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.
      • 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.


Video Example(s):

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


The People Could Fly

Wishbone as Wana helps Baba distribute a magic potion that enables enslaved Africans to fly away from a plantation.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / SlaveLiberation

Media sources: