African Slaves In New France

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African Slaves in New France

African Slaves in New France


Black slavery was introduced in New France 200 years back. The African slaves were bought and sold at auctions publicly. Black slaves in New France came from several geographic regions. The very first enslaved African carried to New France was a young six year old boy who was in possession of Sir David Kirke. He was sold a number of times, last of all to Father Paul Le Jeune who baptized him Catholic and gave the name Olivier Le Jeune. Majority of the African slaves came to New French either from the French West Indies or from the British colonies of North America. About 40% of the imported black slaves were female and 60% were male. Usually they used to serve the same family for their entire life as in New France the slaves were mostly as domestic servants, skilled artisans and farm hands. Slaves in New France had the permission to learn how to read and write. Conversion into Christianity was highly encouraged and slave marriages were also accepted by the law.


It was the 1500 century when France and Britain got involved in the Transatlantic Slave Trade which was broadened up with the formation of their colonies in the Caribbean and North America. The British became the chief traders of the African slaves after winning the assiento in 1713 from Spain. Assiento was the permit provided by the Spanish government for selling slaves in the Spanish colonies. The African slaves were exported to different British colonies in Britain, the Caribbean, North America and South America. Slavery was considered as a part of Canada's initial development, beginning with the captivity of aboriginal people. These enslaved people were known as Panis (Panis or Pawnee was the tribe from which most of the slaves belonged). The slaves were required to work in the growing industries of forestry, fishing and mining but they were often difficult to command. Hence, the colonists decided to use African slaves as free labor. The French colonists began importing the enslaved Africans in 1628 and continued this practice for more than 200 years.

During the French rule, majority of most of the slaves were aboriginals but in 1760, when Britain got the control over New France, the majority of enslaved people were Africans. On May 1st, 1689, King Louis XIV approved the use and purchase of African slaves and by 1709, slavery was declared officially legal in New France by Intendant Jacques Raudot.The governments of British North America and New France were supporting and protecting slavery through different laws. When the French forces were conquered by the Britain in 1760, both of the powers signed the Treaty of Paris. The article number 47 of the Capitulation Articles truly recognized and approved the Canadians right of owning slaves.

Even though on a smaller scale but it's true that Canada's initial nation formation was built upon slavery. The people of New France carried African slaves to work in fishing, mining and fur ...
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