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AfriGeneas Western Frontier Forum

In Response To: Re: THE FAR-FAR WEST ()

A few more sources combining the terms Black and Azoreans, the first is from The National Park Service:

Whaling: Opportunities For African
Americans In A Hard Business
The whaling industry, centered until the 1870s in New Bedford, employed a large number of African Americans. This was in part due to the Quaker tradition of tolerance in the New Bedford area, but more importantly, to the large demand for manpower in an expanding industry requiring unusually large crews. Some black seamen in the business were Americans, from the Northeast and the South, some were from the West Indies, and a significant group was from the Azores Islands off the African coast. Whatever their origin, black seamen found acceptance as hard workers and skilled mariners in an industry that was physically demanding, dirty, and often financially unrewarding. When the center of the industry moved to San Francisco in the 1870s, African Americans continued to form a large percentage of the crews. The whaling business was no doubt the largest employer of African Americans seamen on the West Coast until it ended shortly before World War I

First Black pioneers:
The first Black man to visit Canadian soil was Mattieu da Costa from Azores. He was the interpreter for a French trading expedition to Acadia (Nova Scotia) in 1606. It's very possible he visited as early as 1603.
Mattieu was a linguist, interpreter, explorer and pioneer. He was aboard the Jonas ship, which left La Rochelle on May 13, 1606, for Canada (Acadia). Among the crew was Samuel Champlain, the "Father of Canada".
The fact that Mattieu was able to speak the native language and other tongues suggest most strongly that he had been in Canada before. Additionally, Mattieu was a "well-educated and baptized Christian", as well as a charter member of Canada's oldest club, "The Order of Good Cheer".
Sources: Ontario Black History Society and The Roy States Collection, McLennan Library, McGill University.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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