Olivier Le Jeune, the first Black in CanadaOctober 30, 2014 • By Bruce Ricketts
Contrary to popular belief, slavery is a very real part of our Canadian history.In 1628, the first black person known to have lived in Canada was a native of Madagascar. He was bought at the age of 7 by the British Commander David Kirke during his invasion of New France and sold to Olivier Le Tardiff, head clerk of the French Colony. When Quebec was handed back to the French in 1632, Le Tardiff, who had often collaborated with the British, was forced to flee. He sold his slave to a Quebec resident. The boy was educated in a school established by the Jesuit priest, Father Le Jeune. He was later baptised as Olivier Le Jeune, taking the first name of the French clerk and the surname of the Jesuit priest.
He died on May 10, 1654. It is believed that by the time of his death his official status was changed from that of “domestic servant” to freeman.