Nova Scotia Archives

African Nova Scotians

in the Age of Slavery and Abolition


Melville Island military prison, Halifax, which served as temporary accommodation for African American refugees after the War of 1812

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Over 800 recently arrived black refugees were accommodated here between April 1815 and June 1816. The largest number at any one time was 600 in June 1815. The prison had been built in 1808 to hold French prisoners of the Napoleonic Wars; it was also used for American prisoners of the War of 1812. The prison appears very much as it would have looked to the refugees in 1815. It burned down on 10 April 1935.

Date: 29 May 1929

Photographer: Gauvin & Gentzel

Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives  Photo Collection: Army: General  |  NSARM neg. N-6207