Enslavement in Canada: Background information when reading Flee North

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Flee North

A Forgotten Hero and the Fight for Freedom in Slavery's Borderland

by Scott Shane

Flee North by Scott Shane X
Flee North by Scott Shane
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  • Published:
    Sep 2023, 352 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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About this Book

Enslavement in Canada

This article relates to Flee North

Louis XIV's 1685 edict legalizing slavery in the French coloniesThe nonfiction book Flee North recounts how activist and writer Thomas Smallwood encouraged the enslaved individuals he helped escape to relocate to Canada, where slavery was illegal, rather than remaining in the United States, where they might be returned to captivity if caught. Smallwood himself settled in Toronto with his family in 1843 after nearly being apprehended in Baltimore. Canada had only abolished slavery less than a decade before, and only at the behest of Great Britain, who ruled the country at the time.

European colonial powers began the large-scale transport of enslaved people from Africa in the 16th century. While some of those affected were taken to Europe, most were shipped across the Atlantic in horrifying conditions to be put to work in the Caribbean or the Americas. It's estimated that until the practice was banned in the 19th century, more than twelve million African men, women, and children were subjected to forced relocation and enslavement, with ...

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