Canada Post’s annual Black History Month stamp for 2017 will commemorate a historical figure who continues to fascinate and confound scholars. This is a bright stamp depicts Mathieu Da Costa - the first recorded free black person in Canada.
StampNews.com invites our readers to appreciate a bright design of this original philatelic item and get acquainted with the piece of Canadian “black history”.
Admittedly little is known about Mathieu Da Costa. From the few records that remain, historians conclude he was a free man who earned a living as an interpreter for Europeans who were trading with Indigenous people in the New World. Believed to be of African or even Euro-African descent, his connection to Canada came in the year 1608 – the year Samuel de Champlain founded the city of Québec – when Da Costa signed a contract to work for French fur-trader, explorer and governor of Acadia, Pierre Dugua de Mons.
“While the full story of Mathieu Da Costa may never be known, interest in his life and in his unique connection with our country is a reminder of the values of respect, acceptance and diversity that Canadians cherish,” says Canada Post President and CEO Deepak Chopra.
With no portrait of Da Costa available, designer Andrew Perro and illustrator Ron Dollekamp worked closely with Canadian historical illustrator and storyboard artist Francis Back to ensure the period clothing and sailing ship reflect Da Costa’s time and socio-economic milieu. As with all stamps issued in 2017, the Black History stamp will contain references to Canada’s sesquicentennial. The words ‘Canada 150’ and a red sesquicentennial logo appear along the top of the stamp when viewed under black light.