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Did Canada Have Slaves? 6 Surprising Insights

The history of slavery started around 12,000 years back, it got invented because of the invention of agriculture. The main reason behind slavery is economic surpluses and an increase in population, this is the reason because of why slavery was practised.

Slavery is when one person is owned by another it is also called an owned slave. Slaves did not have normal human rights and were owned like property by their owners.

There are quite a few types of slaves, chattel, bonded, forced labour, child slavery, and sexual labour are a few of them.

Slavery is now known as “human trafficking” and “modern slavery” is now the new term for both sex trafficking and compelled labour.

The colony of New France was founded around the 1600s and it was the first ever major settlement that is now Canada.

Back in the day, Slavery was very common in this territory. The French colonists began as domestic servants or slaves around the 1670s. The numbers started increasing around 1709 dramatically.

1. Did Canada Have Slaves?

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Slavery in Canada includes the enslavement practices of both Nations during the Pre-Columbian era and by colonists, around the period of European Colonization.

April 10th, 1734 when Montreal was on fire, while the flames were extinguished 40 or 45 buildings had burnt down.

The entire merchant’s everything was on fire, and the hotel Gyah one of North America’s very oldest hospitals is consumed by the blaze the guys who used to run it race into the streets with their patients Montreal’s worst nightmare had realized and caused Arson.

The history of Canadian slavery is too often overlooked but Canada had more than their fair share of it more than 4,000 people were enslaved in New France and British Colonies before the practice was finally abolished slavery thanks to abolish slavery abolition act.

Slavery in Canada looked a little bit different than it did in the southern plantations of the 13 colonies in Canada the enslaved Africans were usually confined to urban areas and forced to act as servants and owned slaves to elites.

Many of them were black taken from overseas or the south of the border while many other slaves were called Penny indigenous slaves that were captured in battle and then made personal property.

2. What Slavery Looked Like in Canada, Enslaved Africans and Did Canada Have Slaves?

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As slavery continued in the United States of America till around the 1860s due to the amendment of the 13th a lot of black slaves and free slaves started migrating to Canada from the United States of America after the American civil war and the American Revolution.

Almost every black slave/peoples were treated by their owners in very cruel and harsh treatment. There were a lot of black people who were tortured for no reason even though they did not do anything, they used to get jail as punishment in Canada.

There were a lot of black people who were hanged and murdered by their owners. Enslaved people who were black women were also tortured, murdered, and were also often sexually abused by their masters or who used to they work for.

Married couples were forced to be separated because they were sold to different owners in different places, their wives used to be sexually abused and they could not do anything about it.

3. Canadian Slavery

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In Canadian history, the British colonies and French colonies, violence and slavery used to be the daily life of African slaves. The black slaves used to house workers and farm workers for their slave owners.

The number of slave ownership was increased during British rule. They had 1000 to 1200 slaves before the abolition movement, there were around 300 in Lower Canada and 500 to 700 in Upper Canada.

When New France was conquered by British Colonial Canada in 1759 around 4000 people were living in settlements since the start.

There were enslaved people, enslaved women, enslaved children, enslaved men, and enslaved individuals who had no rights but to be enslaved by their owners. Canada is said to be one of the safest and nicest places in history but there was slavery even in Canada.

In Canada, the majority of the slaves were not of African descent they were Aboriginal slaves. The colonies became Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.

The colonies did not give human beings their basic human rights and tortured them, with physical abuse, sexual abuse and psychological abuse they did everything to them.

In Canada, only a few slaves were able to live beyond the age of 25, violence was a part of their daily life. Girls faced a lot of sexual abuse back then, they had no control over their bodies and no reproductive rights.

Even if the mistakes were minor they used to get punished a lot and it ranged from lashings with chains and public whippings to torture and many of them faced sexual abuse.

After 1834, enslaved people of African descent were legally free but it was not the same as before, they were not treated the same as normal human beings. They were racially abused, discriminate against, prejudiced and inequality in Canadian history and it was a part of enslavement.

4. The Story of Africville

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Africville is a place where Africans and Canadian villages are. It was founded in the mid-18th century. Africville is where black people used to live in Canada and Africville is a community of black people. Around Four, Africville people were killed due to an explosion.

Africville was said to be exposed to waste while denied their basic needs like water and sewers. It was bulldozed and the residents had to evict to save their lives. It was meant to be racially motivated.

The last guy to leave Afriville was in 1970, around that time 400 people from 80 families had relocated because of the explosion. The main purpose of Africville was to give basic human rights to human beings.

5. British North America

On March 25, 1807, the slave trade was abolished thanks to British Empire, this is where the Abolitionist movement started in 1833 the original date was 1 August 1833. More than 800,000 enslaved Africans got free because of the Abolitionist movement.

William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Angelina Grimke, John Brown, and Harriet Beecher Stowe are the five leaders of the Abolitionist movement.

Free slaves are also called Laissez-faire. This policy is the reason why a government does not discriminate against imports or they do not try to interfere with exports by applying traffic.

There were a lot of reasons why the Abolitionist movement came into play, British north America’s economy was in a very shaky situation and they had to and a new international system emerged. A lot of Merchants started to ask for ending the monopolies in the British market and they pushed for instead of free trade.

The non-stop struggles of African slaves imported and fear of slave upbringings were other major factors. This act also made Canadian black slaves and hundreds or thousands of refugee slaves and free blacks arrived in Canadian society between 1834 and 1860s.

Canada has been enshrined for 30 years and has been painted as only good abolitionists who save black loyalists and Americans and Canada has obliterated and ignored and tried to race for 200 years when Canada was also actually slaving.

Indeed enslaved people follow the underground railroad onto the water where they make the first identification of a boat that ferried enslaved people to Canada.

It was where people went from being objects in the United States of America to free people in Canada. There was no media coverage of black slaves, this is where racism started.

You won’t find it in school or any other screens, the roots of racism began on the boat. Black human beings were treated way differently compared to white human beings.

6. The Story of Angelique

Angelique was originally from Madeira, Portugal but she was forced into slavery she was sold to a Montreal couple when she was a very young woman and she was one of the enslaved women in Canadian slavery. This was also part of black slavery, she was also one of Canada’s forgotten slaves.

She was bought by Francois Mauriac land of Hosh field, and his wife Therese who lived near Montreal on the loose and paw just across the street from the hotel Gyah. Francois Maurica was the slave owner of Angelique.

Angelique’s life was unsurprisingly horrific in Montreal the flash fields were even suspected of forcing her to carry the children of other black slaves, and the children died after a few months the children were born.

The children born all three died within three months of their birth but at the end of 1733, there was finally some good news a smallpox epidemic killed hundreds of people in Montreal including Francois Mauriac land of Hosh field was one of them.

Angelique was promised her freedom after Francois’s death possibly a twisted bargain made as part of years of sexual abuse there was finally some light at the end of the tunnel.

There was still one person standing in front of her way the widow of Francois that is Therese she was not about to let Angelique go she wanted to get her money’s worth.

Angelique fought back and demanded her freedom and seems to have threatened the widow with burning and roasting but the widow still refused instead she was going to sell her.

Angelique began to plot an escape with her lover a convict named Jane Claude Taeho, he was a smuggler from France who had been arrested and exiled to Canada.

Where he ended up becoming the widow’s indentured servant together the couple came up with a plan they would escape and find a ship in New England that was headed for Europe Matthew Joseph Angelique wanted to go home.

They would need to hurry in February things groove dire the widow sold Angelique to a man in Quebec City for 600 pounds of gunpowder the sale would go through.

As soon as the St. Lawrence Valley allowed Angelique to be shipped downriver with the clock of the spring melt ticking Jane Claude Taeho had to act fast.

Angelique set a bed on fire on the top floor of the building for distraction as she clothed ran off across the frozen river under the cover of darkness they did not get that far, the police quickly hunted them down and returned them and also gave Angelique back to the widow and threw Jane Claude Taeho in the prison, he would not be able to get out until the day of the next fire.

Later, Angelique was executed she was loaded onto a cart and brought to Montreal, she carried a torch in one hand and a sign that said “Incendiaire” She was taken inside and they made her confess her sins to god, her torturer became her executioner and she was hanged in front of the ruins of the fire, this was an untold story of Canadian history.

7. Slave Owners

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Benjamin Franklin, an American philosopher was one of the slave owners and he nearly owned slaves for around seven to ten later he became a “cautious Abolitionist”.

Issac Franklin owned nearly five hundred to six hundred slaves and he was also a partner of one of the biggest slave trade firms Franklin and Armfield.

Around twelve presidents were slave owners at some other point in their lives: George Washington, John Tyler, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, and James Monroe are a few of the famous names everyone knows, who were also slave owners at some point in their lives.

In Canada, around six out of fifteen to sixteen of the first parliament people owned slaves in the Upper Canada Legislative Assembly, they owned slaves or had someone from their family who owned slaves.

John McDonell, Ephraim Jones, Hazelton Spencer, David William Smith, and Francois Baby were a few of the known names who owned slaves in Canada. The New France people owned the most slaves in Canadian history and only 181 of them were English.

8. Upper Canada

In 1793, the legislature of Upper Canada which is Ontario became the first in North America it introduced a law that imposed limits on African Canadian enslavement and limited slavery in Canada.

Peter Martin was the one who testified, he was a former African slave and he was a veteran of the American revolutionary war. He spoke about one girl named Chloe Cooley who was sexually abused. violently tortured, mentally and was forced to do things which she did not wish to do and she was transported to slaveholders in New York City.

Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe was the one who was advocating for abolition, which had put him in the opposition of slaveholding members of the Legislature. The end of 1793 provided the importation of enslaved people but they did not free anyone.

Many enslaved people flew to the Northern American States, and they had to settle in places which had already been abolished settlement.

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This took the passage of the Slavery Abolition Act by the British Parliament to finally stop the enslavement of African peoples across most of the British Empire, it was effective from 1st August 1834.

The legislation was drafted with the West Indies in mind, it’s provisions for trial periods for earlier enslaved people and financial compensation for slave owners were not applied in British North America.

In the later years, it followed African Canadians marked Emancipation Day with events that will eventually give rise to such festivals as Caribana in Toronto, Ontario which first took place in 1967.

The Spaniards, Portuguese, Dutch, British North America, Danes, Swedes and other Europeans viewed slavery using similar economic arguments to justify their point of view of forcible capture and transportation of approximately 12.5 Million sub-Saharan African Atlantic Ocean to their colonies in the Americas between the 16th and 19th centuries.

These women and men countered unreal horror and were terrified of everything and anything and around 15% died in the middle of the passage. Enslaved people of African descent fought back in a lot of ways to get their freedom and they succeeded.


There was slavery in Canada and it is not talked about a lot but the higher peoples took advantage of poor people or black people and they could not do anything about it because they had no other options.

They were tortured every day, were sexually abused, and had no basic human rights, and no control over their reproductive rights, black people were discriminated against just because they were black, racist and whatnot they did not even have a normal life.

The abolitionist movement Act was a life saviour for them. They were back to living normal lives thanks to this movement.

William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Angelina Grimke, John Brown, and Harriet Beecher Stowe are the five leaders of the Abolitionist movement.

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