In this series we hop in an Uber and ask the driver for a quick history lesson. Everything gets fact checked, so feel free to use this to study for your next quiz.
*translated from French* *our driver’s name has been changed to preserve anonymity*
Banter: Where are you from?
Samuel: I was born here [Montreal], but my parents are from Jamaica.
Banter: Can you tell us how Canada was founded?
Samuel: I think the first person that got here was like, Samuel de Champlain, if I’m not mistaken he’s like the father of the country in a way.
Samuel de Champlain was indeed the father of New France but to call him the discoverer of Canada is quite a stretch. Jacques Cartier discovered Canada in 1534. Born in 1567, de Champlain founded Quebec City in 1608 and began exporting furs back to France in the subsequent decades. Fun fact, when he was 43 he married his wife, the then 12-year-old Hélène Boullé.
Banter: Okay, then what happened?
Samuel: He started the fur trade.
*interview switches to English*
So, he established the fur trade and they would bring back materials to France. This was the colony and France was the motherland and then at a certain point they started to expand to other parts of what we now know as Canada. There were a lot of wars between the English and the French because they both wanted the same thing.
There were essentially four wars and they were called the French and Indian Wars… a ton of people died.
Samuel: The English wanted to colonize the area, bring back the raw materials and then eventually the French people wanted to develop their own culture, distinct from France, they wanted to develop their own food etc.
Sort of, except for the part where the French Canadians were militant about wanting to develop their own culinary tendencies; that just sort of happened by itself.
Banter: Could you tell us anything about the history of Jamaica?
Samuel: Actually yeah, so basically if we go back to before it became a country, maybe a few...hundred years ago. Most people know it all starts off with slavery; so the Spaniards and the English infiltrated Africa and picked the strongest people to send to the Islands and cultivate sugarcane, islands like Jamaica, Haiti, and I believe they even brought Indians there as well. I think it was the Arawake Indians. And people intermingled and that’s why you have a mixture of cultures within Jamaica itself. You have people that are mixed-Asian, Indian, Black, different tones of skin colour. I also know that Jamaica became an independent country in 1969. So yeah, that’s what I know.
Jamaica actually gained its independence from the United Kingdom on August 6th, 1962, but other than that pretty decent resume of the transatlantic slave trade.
Banter: Nice, thanks Samuel.