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The Hanging of Angélique:The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montréal

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  130 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Writer, historian and poet Afua Cooper tells the astonishing story of Marie-Joseph Anglique, a slave woman convicted of starting a fire that destroyed a large part of Montral in April 1734 and condemned to die a brutal death. In a powerful retelling of Anglique’s story—now supported by archival illustrations—Cooper builds on 15 years of research to shed new light on a rebe ...more
Hardcover, 349 pages
Published January 24th 2006 by HarperCollins Canada
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This is the book that got away. This means I owe Dr. Cooper an apology. Around the time this book came out, I was in Montreal. There was an exhibit about the fire and part of the exhibit was a section about whether Angelique was guilty or innocent of the crime of arson. It was a very interesting exhibit. This book was being sold in several stores, and I was very, very tempted to buy it. I didn’t, mostly because of budgeting. But I should have broken my budget because I always regretted it.
Ah, t
Books written by POC
I'm part way through "The Hanging of Angelique", which is about the Atlantic Slave Trade in Canada. I know that Canadian history rarely, if *ever*, talks about our history of slavery, so this whole book has been both appalling and eye-opening for me.[return][return]Basically, Angelique was accused of burning down Montreal in the 1700s (the book's at home right now, so I'm fuzzy on the details). She had been a slave coming out of Portugal (I am learning so much about the Atlantic Slave Trade this ...more
Jul 28, 2011 Kelly added it
Before I read this book I didn't know that Canadians were willing participants in the slave trade. They enslaved African Americans and Native Canadians and treated them like possessions -- just like they did in the United States. I also didn't know that John Graves Simcoe was instrumental in the abolition of slavery in Upper Canada. Something I hadn't ever considered before was also brought to my attention -- the Portuguese initiated the slave trade!

Afua Cooper belives that the collection of co
I sought this out after translating an article about Marie-Joseph Angélique for the Canadian Encyclopedia. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, being a historical account, not a novel, but it read well and was very interesting.

This book is not only about the bondswoman Angélique, but also about the history of the Canadian slave trade. (Yes, there was such a thing!) Afua Cooper says slavery "is Canada's best-kept secret, locked within the national closet." (p. 68 of my edition) The author expose
An extremely interesting look at something never discussed- slavery in Canada. In US slave literature & history, Canada was seen as the land of freedom that escaping slaves followed the North Star to. Using as a case study the story of an 18th Century slave in New France, the author as highlighted the existence of Canadian colonial slavery (under the French and British)which could be just as emotionally and physically traumatizing & degrading as slavery in the West Indies, Europe and the ...more
Sean Liburd
“Slavery is Canada’s best-kept secret, locked within the national closet. And because it is a secret it is written out of official history. But slavery was an institutionalized practice for over two hundred years. In this ground breaking work “The Hanging of Angélique,” Dr. Afua Cooper reveals what Canadian history Textbooks omits the truth. Canada was not only a safe haven for slaves, it was also an active participant in the slave trade. Some historians will argue that it was only a mild form o ...more
Oct 16, 2007 Nahliah rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Interested in slavery in Canadian history
Good read. A good introduction to slavery in Canada. I didn't know about how and when slavery was conducted in Canada and under what circumstances for the slaves involved and so the text was informative. The author tries to stretch her lack of material and authority on the life of this one slave and tries to present to the audience an authoritative text on slavery in Canada, which it is not. Unlike Edward S. Morgan in "American Slavery American Freedom" she's not drawing from a wealth of resourc ...more
I suppose it is obvious that I LOVE history. This story of overcoming, achievers and survivors impels me everyday to face the rut and grunt of daily life in the post-modern world. This story of enslaved African women, is well written historical account of the life of Angelique. There were Africans enslaved in Canada and their plight was not as light or indifferent. Angelique was accused of setting a fire and hanged for involvement. Cooper is a noted scholar on the African presence in Canada has ...more
Sep 15, 2008 Lesliemae rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Canadians
Recommended to Lesliemae by: GE Clarke
Afua Cooper meticulously explores the untold story of slavery in Canada. The court records of Angelique, she "boldly suggests" create the first Canadian slave narrative. While I think her book is interesting in its treatment of early conditions in New France ... I do not think the court records create a true narrative. There is very little of Angelique's actual voice and Cooper's subjective suggestions do nothing to give that voice any life. The only story created is by the elite group of white ...more
Buried In Print
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This is a Canadian must-read to open our eyes. The novel is more of a historical perspective on the now-forgotten time of slavery in Canada. The author uses Angelique's story to trace the path of slavery from Portugal, where it began, to the West Indes, New England, and, yes, Canadian soil. We weren't innocent in this area and it is almost worse because we have forgotten the struggle of the people who lived as slaves.
Heather Judson
I read this book for a Canadian History class. Canadians tend to pride themselves on having avoided slavery, unlike those treacherous Americans. Not so. Admittedly, the author takes license with what Angelique's thoughts, feelings and motives were on the night the fire started, but it is still an important look into the history of slavery in Canada. I found it fascinating and enlightening.
Nathan Whatley
An important look at a dark moment in history, but Cooper's book reads too much like a textbook. It lacks nuance as it tries to paint New France as a slave owning society. Much better books have been written on the subject.
I really wanted to love this book. But there was so much unprovable speculation about Angélique's motives, emotions, and life, yet it was written much too dryly to be compelling as a story by itself.
Excellent! Peu d'histoires québécoises ont été couchées sur papier.
A fascinating story about a part of history that Canadians are wonderful at ignoring.
Everyone should read this. Seriously. Full review coming soon.
Amber Hansen
It's all downhill from the second chapter.
What every history book should be like.
Very historic novel well detailed
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Afua Cooper is a Jamaican-born Canadian historian, author and dub poet.

Born in Westmoreland, Jamaica, Cooper grew up in Kingston, Jamaica, and migrated to Toronto in 1980. She holds a Ph.D. in African-Canadian history with specialties in slavery and abolition. Her dissertation, "Doing Battle in Freedom’s Cause", is a biographical study of Henry Bibb, a 19th-century African-American abolitionist wh
More about Afua Cooper...
My Name Is Henry Bibb: A Story of Slavery and Freedom My Name Is Phillis Wheatley: A Story of Slavery and Freedom Copper Woman Voice Of A Fugitive Memories Have Tongue

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