After the successful slave rebellion in Haiti from 1719 onwards, it became apparent to the government in Britain that the expense of guarding against and crushing repeated revolts meant that the costs of slavery were increasingly overtaking the profits. At the same time the price of sugar dropped dramatically and the plantation system declined in importance relative to a rapidly industrialising Europe.
Many Europeans began to pressure their governments to abolish slavery in the Caribbean. The first organized opposition to slavery came in 1724 from the Quakers, a Christian sect also known as the Society of Friends. Great Britain outlawed slavery in all of their territories in 1833, but the practice continued for almost fifty years on some of the islands of the Caribbean. The efforts of the abolitionists in Britain undoubtedly hastened the end but financially slavery was doomed as an institution.
Beginning in 1803 Denmark abolished the slave trade followed by Britain in 1807, France in 1817, Holland in 1818, Spain in 1820, and Sweden in 1824. Slavery was abolished in the British colonies in 1833-34, in the French colonies in 1838, in the Dutch colonies in 1863 and in the Spanish colonies of Puerto Rico in 1873 and Cuba in 1880. After emancipation in the British colonies plantation labor was sought from various sources. The largest number came from India as indentured servants. They were attracted by contracts which paid their passage and offered them options including the acquisition of land. The plantation economies of the Guianas (Guyana and Suriname especially) and Trinidad benefited most from this Indian immigration.
The shortage of available labour led to the introduction of indentured labour from another of Britain's colonies, India, in 1844. These labourers worsened conditions for the former slaves by undermining attempts to achieve improved conditions through strikes. By 1917, when immigration came to a halt some 145,000 Indians had come to Trinidad, and 238,000 to Guiana.