Code Noir (The Black Code)

The Code Noir (French language: The Black Code) was a decree passed by France’s King Louis XIV in 1685. The Code Noir defined the conditions of slavery in the French colonial empire, restricted the activities of free Negroes, forbade the exercise of any religion other than Roman Catholicism, and ordered all Jews out of France’s colonies. The code has been described by Tyler Stovall as “one of the most extensive official documents on race, slavery, and freedom ever drawn up in Europe.”

…2 of the 60 articles, the document specified that:

  • married free men will be fined for having children with their slave concubines, as will the slave concubine’s master. If the man himself is the master of the slave concubine, the slave and child will be removed from his ownership. If the man was not married, he should then be married to the slave concubine thus freeing her and the child from slavery (art. 9)
  • children between a male slave and a female free woman are free; children between a female slave and a free man are slaves (art. 13)

Read all 60 articles (in French) here.