February is Black History Month in both the U.S. and Canada. I have long been a student of black history in our own nation, but have, quite honestly, never studied the same in Canadian history. Since starting this blog a few years ago, I have made many wonderful friends in Canada, one of whom is author John Fioravanti. John is a former educator and an excellent writer, and he is writing a daily post highlighting a person or event from Canadian Black History Month. I thought it would be fun to learn some new things this month, about the history of our northern neighbors, so I am starting tonight by re-blogging John’s most recent post about a young woman, Marie-Josephe Angelique. Please take a moment to read John’s post, as it is a tragic, but fascinating tale. I am planning to share more of John’s stories this month, and I’m trying to talk him into writing a guest post, also. Thank you so much, John, for allowing me to share your excellent work!
Marie-Josephe Angelique: Symbol of Black resistance in Canada
Marie-Joseph Angélique (born circa 1705 in Madeira, Portugal; died 21 June 1734 in Montréal, QC). Angélique was an enslaved Black woman owned by Thérèse de Couagne de Francheville in Montréal. In 1734, she was charged with arson after a fire leveled Montréal’s merchants’ quarter. It was alleged that Angélique committed the act while attempting to flee her bondage. She was convicted, tortured and hanged. While it remains unknown whether or not she set the fire, Angélique’s story has come to symbolize Black resistance and freedom.
Angélique was born in Madeira, Portugal, around 1705. Little is known of the first 20 years of her life. She may have been first enslaved in Portugal, an active port of the Atlantic slave trade. It was likely there that Angélique was sold to the Flemish merchant Nichus Block when she was in her early teens. Angélique…
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