February is Black History Month in Canada. All month long, many Provincial Archives have exhibits both on line and off line celebrating the experiences of Black Canadians.
While the Underground Railroad is probably the most well known part of Black History, there are several other events and stories to tell.
Did you know:
- The first recorded Black person in Canada was in 1605. Mathieu Da Costa was a translator for Samuel de Champlain.
- Ten percent of United Empire Loyalists were Black. The British offered freedom to enslaved African Americans to fight for them during the Revolutionary War
- We tend to turn our noses up at the Americans and their history of slavery. But Canada had slavery until 1793 in Ontario. It was completely abolished in the rest of Canada in 1833, when the Act on the Abolition of Slavery in the British Empire was passed.
- There was a unit called the Coloured Corps in the War of 1812.
- In 1858, at the invitation of Governor James Douglas, about 800 free Black people became pioneers in British Columbia.
- In the late 1700\’s between 500-600 Jamaican Maroons were deported by the British to Nova Scotia. They were later taken to Sierra Leone.
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