Black history has become so important in this age and time, that we are doing our best to document every bit of information, to fight against those who delete our achievements from the sands of time.
In our research to discover various black icons of ancient and modern times, we stumbled on a very important, man, whom according to history was named Mathieu Da Costa.
He was known for being fluent in multiple languages, including French, and Dutch. His exact origin as of the time of this research is still in contention, but many historians, point to the Kingdom of Benin in West Africa. Others say it is possible for him to have been born in the Maghreb region (which is present-day Morroco), and that his parents were most likely trying to escape slavery, but were captured and taken into slavery in Europe.
Research shows his earliest presence in history to fall in the early 1600s. And at that point in his life, he had attained great knowledge and skill, in various languages, as a free slave. He was fluent in Portuguese, English, Dutch, French, Mi’kmaq, and pidgin Basque. His ability to speak these languages was attributed to the fact that many slaves who were brought in from the Maghreb (Morroco, Libya, etc) worked with the various sailors, and so picked up the various languages.
He made money from working as an interpreter, for various explorers who were seeking the new world (according to Europeans).
On his first voyage and duty as an interpreter, he was hired by the Portuguese, and through his duty as an interpreter, he was able to gain his freedom.
He ventured into trading between 1604 and 1606, and also acted as an interpreter for the French settlers and the indigenous Acadians, in Nova Scotia.
History records that he entered Canada between 1604 and 1607, at which point he was a guide for French explorers who journeyed through the Lake Campaign region. Multiple accounts say that it was Mathieu Da Costa who interpreted the Micmac and French languages, and he was a very valuable asset to the project.
The story of his life’s journey would turn sour, beginning in 1607, when he was kidnapped by the Dutch explorers, while he was working with the French, and was taken to Amsterdam.
After one year in Amsterdam, he was forced to sign a three-year contract to work for two French explorers, named Pierre Durga de Mons and Samuel de Champlain. Despite being forced into this service, he was paid hugely for his services, and became wealthy from his services, as an interpreter on their voyages to Arcadia and Canada.
He was known to be a promoter of peace between the indigenous people of the Canadian Atlantic Coast, and the European settlers.
Further research into his history shows that his name began to appear in a series of lawsuits, with the Lawsuit between Dugua and de Bauquemare being the first.
He is then later thrown into jail, up till 1619, because of various lawsuits, which he was involved in. There are various accounts which have said he died in prison, while other historians claim that he was set free from jail, to join an expedition in 1619.
Despite the lost pages of his story and lifetime, he is till this day, remembered as an important figure in Canadian history, and has been honored multiple times.
He is honored with a plaque, as a renowned interpreter, and placed in the Mathieu Da Costa African Heritage Trail. The Canadian government erected monuments honoring him in 2005, to torchlight his role in the history of Canada. Also in 2017, a stamp was designed in his honor, by the Canadian post, as part of the Black History Month celebration.
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