The history of civil rights for minorities outside the US?

Racism and sexism are ongoing problems in the world, But in the US at least, equality under the letter of the law has pretty much been a settled matter for a few decades now.

What is the history of civil rights in other countries? For example, when was slavery outlawed in the UK? When were black people in Germany allowed to vote? When were women in Mexico allowed to own property?

Women’s suffrage, AKA allowing women to vote, in some well known countries…

New Zealand: 1893
Australia: 1902
UK: 1918
USA: 1920

The US was complicated. 1920 was when the 19th amendment was ratified, but women in the US were voting before that. Since we’re a federal system, the states determine the eligibility to vote and most states had suffrage prior to 1920. Only 7 holdouts had zero women’s suffrage, but about half of states only had partial suffrage (all of these were along the East Coast which was much more conservative at the time except for New York which was dominated by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union-the largest women’s suffrage organization. The East Coast was more immigrant and there was a real fear that women voters would unite to ban alcohol sales and child labor. Immigrant groups at the time were much more likely to imbibe and felt that it was an attack on their culture. Child labor was seen as a necessary income in immigrant communities and of course factory and field owners were more than happy to exploit cheap labor.)

Big Subject!

For the UK.

Slavery had never been a major practice in the island that is the present UK, at least not since the Dark Ages (we have our own peasants for toiling the soil), and as such, there wasn’t any specific laws governing it, until a court case in 1772 (Somerset v Stewart) which declared that slavery was incompatible with English Common Law.

The trading of slaves in the wider British Empire was abolished in 1807, and slavery entirely in 1833.

No one has ever been denied the vote in the UK because of the colour of their skin. Suffrage tended to be tied to property ownership (a small number of people), being extended through various acts throughout the 19th century. It’s a bit messy, but we have universal suffrage by 1918 (for men over 21, and women over 30).

As for voting rights, typically speaking voting in the pre-20th century across much of the democratic world was restricted to property holders, but not restricted by race. Voting was more class-based than race-based. A lot of that has to do with the fact that minorities in much of Europe were really, really minorities. France prior to WWII probably had the most liberal immigration laws in Europe and while it’s hard to say exactly, by 1930 out of a population of 40 million likely had no more than a couple hundred thousand black residents. The UK was fairly immigrant restrictive even up to the 2nd World War and was nearly monolithic in its ethnic makeup. Even today as cosmopolitan as we perceive the UK to be, it’s still almost 85% white. All of this is to say that you didn’t have the same racial struggles that the US saw because there were no racial minorities to oppress, all of the oppression took place in their colonies rather than the home country and by the time widespread immigration had begun to alter the demographic realities, they had already seen the US struggles and saw which way the ‘long arc of history’ was bending. Really though, I think the racial challenges that we faced and are facing are ahead of them. I think the rise of the far right is evidence of this and the next few decades are going to be ‘interesting times’ as the proverb goes-hopefully not too interesting though.

As an aside, Australia, which did have a visible minority population was much less loving toward Aboriginals and they only really received free representation in the 1980s (although practically the 1960s were when they got the universal vote) although some states gave them the right to vote as early as 1900.

Women didn’t receive the right to vote in Panama until 1941, and then it was partial, based on education. They received full voting rights in 1946.

Slavery was gradually abolished in Panama through the early 1800s, with full emancipation in 1851. I don’t believe there was ever discrimination in voting/citizenship based on skin color, which would have been nearly impossible due to the gradations found in the mulatto and mestizo populations, but darker-skinned Panamanians (of both African and indigenous ancestry) have always been discriminated against otherwise, and this still persists today. I am not sure what formal anti-racial discrimination measures are on the books, but I expect there are.

An attempt was made to disenfranchise English-speaking blacks from the West Indies by changing citizenship requirements in the Constitution of 1941 (ironically the same one that enfranchised women), along with other more recent non-Hispanic immigrants such as the Chinese, Lebanese, South Asians, etc. (I believe the provision was that you could only be a citizen if your grandparents were.) This was at the behest of President Dr. Arnulfo Arias, an acknowledged fascist and admirer of Hitler. Arias was soon deposed (as he was the other times he was elected president) and the provisions were removed. (Also ironically, Mireya Moscoso, the first female president, elected in 1989, was Arias’s widow.)

Although indigenous groups have been discriminated against, the Guna (Kuna) of the eastern Caribbean coast rebelled in 1925 and were eventually granted their own internally self-governing Comarca (homeland). Base on this model the other major indigenous groups have also been granted their own Comarcas.

Another data point. In Switzerland, by 1970 some of the cantons, mostly French speaking, allowed woman to vote. In the spring of 1971 there was a national referendum that allowed woman to vote in federal elections, but Cantons were free to discriminate. The last Canton that didn’t allow women to vote (IIRC, one of the Appenzellers) finally gave up in the early 90s, so they have had universal suffrage for about 25 years.

I’ve heard the interesting theory that the early advance of democracy was a step back for women. When countries were ruled by hereditary nobles, male nobles would get preference but there would be occasions when female nobles held positions of power, even ruling countries.

But once people had the right to hold elections and choose their own leaders, men took over the system and shut women out of power.

There are a few areas of recent immigrant countries - North America, Australia, South America. Most other countries identify one or several ethnic groups as integral to their country. Germany, for example, regarded people with German ancestry as German, but for the longest time guest workers had real difficulty becoming German citizens. (France like Britain had an influx of people form an extended empire) In some middle east countries you cannot immigrate permanently at all.

So if you ask about certain rights, like the right to vote, right of residence, etc. - some countries simply don’t allow outsiders to participate.

The Americas imported a lot of (African) slave labour and so created a distinct underclass. Similarly, they and Australia have a displaced aboriginal population. Most long-established countries like in Europe lack such solidly distinct separate races/classes in the one country, so there’s less classes to be discriminatory against. Instead, it seems religion serves the purpose of distinguishing one group from another for the purpose of discrimination.

There might be something to that. Going the other way, when ancient Rome was a Republic, there were few women who had any influence, because only men voted and only men could serve.

After Caesar, several mothers or wives of emperors became important figures in their own right, for example Agrippina. mother of Claudius

But Roman women had some significant legal rights for the ancient world, possibly because often they had to run households while the men were away off to war for months and years.

I think the question is kind of broad. “Outside the US” is a huge area, encompassing everything from liberal democracies to brutal dictatorships.

Not so fast.

The Brits introduced the practice of indentured labor right after abolishing slavery. Maybe not to the letter, but in spirit it was the same practice under a different name.

Well, not the same practice. You couldn’t be born into indentured labour; the offspring of indentured labourers were free subjects.

Don’t both the Canadians & Australians treat the aboriginals pretty poorly? Any civil rights movements on their parts?

There’s another thread about the new Canadian ten-dollar banknote, which features Viola Desmond. Now, as an American, I never heard of her, but she seems to have had a similar role to Rosa Parks, in that she also challenged segregation in public accommodations, except at a movie theater.

Women in Japan were finally granted the right to vote in 1946 under pressure by the US occupation forces.

There still is a lot of discrimination against women in the workforce.

Intellectually disabled in Sweden were granted vote by law in 1989.

In Canada women started getting partial suffrage (ie unmarried female property owners could vote in local elections) in Ontario in the 1860s, full suffrage for provincial elections in Manitoba in 1916, full suffrage for federal elections in 1918*, but couldn’t vote in local or provincial elections in Quebec until 1940.
*In 1917 women with male relatives serving in the military were given the federal vote along with nurses serving overseas.

Pardon me Sir, are you asserting that the practice of indentured labor was not morally reprehensible like slavery ? Kindly elucidate.

The distinction you pointed to is a merely a distinction without a difference.