The first may not always be the last
Who was the first black person in Canada?

As Canada celebrates Black History Month, it’s important to ask who was the first black person in Canada, a country that has now emerged as the world’s immigration capital.

The first Black person thought to have set foot on Canadian soil was Mathieu Da Costa, a free man who was hired by Europeans to act as a translator.
He arrived in Canada around 1608, probably in the company of Pierre Dugua de Mons and Samuel de Champlain.

However, the first Black person known to have lived and died in Canada was Olivier Le Jene, an enslaved boy who was brought to Canada from Madagascar in 1628. He was freed by his owner before he died in 1654.

The first shipload of enslaved Africans to reach British North America landed at Jamestown in 1619.
Black history in Canada did not begin or end with these individuals. Black people have contributed to various aspects of Canadian society, culture, and history since then.

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