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Black Quebec Part Deux

Consider the first person of African decent to arrive in Canada. He was a translator who knew some 3 or 4 languages and was hired by the french, also of note he was a free man.

Here is a link for Mathieu DaCosta:


See, now...you think you know Canada but I’m sure I’ve got plenty of surprises for you.

Now, onto Quebec:

Alrightie, let it be known that Black people have been in this country since the 1600's. What?! No?! I kid you not lovely people. You can thank Mathieu for that. Did I also mention he learned several first nations languages? Invaluable.

Now around the early 18th century in the French Colony of Quebec slavery was legalized. *Interesting fact: some slaves were Natives/First Nations while a smaller portion were Black. Slaves were mostly used for domestic labour vs physical labour for industry. Since Canada didn’t have the kind of industry which required a mass labour force the need for an abundance of slaves wasn’t necessary.

Similiar to the US though, slaves in Canada had no rights and were sold on the auction block in Montreal. This practice continued after the Brits took over Quebec from the French. However by the end of the 18th century, as the abolitionist movement swept Britain, slavery ended in Canada. And by the close of the 1800's slaves were freed. *Interesting fact: Many Blacks and Natives married during this time.


Due to a lack of employment opportunities these freed men travelled to other areas some finding work building the railroad and eventually working on the trains as porters.

There is also the Jazz connection where many of the great American musicians of the day frequented Montreal performing and relaxing (you can see the link for the rest on that). Including a connection to Oscar Peterson.


Now, in the early 20th century American Blacks made their way to Montreal by train and settled in the city. As well many Caribbean Blacks made their way via domestic employment. *Interesting fact: Many islands were colonized by the French and Quebec had a requirement for any immigrants to have a command of the French language, so it’s no surprise that many of Black residents have a natural tongue. Also of note is a large Haitian immigration due to the dictatorship of Papa Doc.

Okay, folks once again I’ve run out of time. I’ll leave you with a link so you can learn the rest. I might revisit Quebec again. Have a good one!


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