Remembering Black Loyalists, Black Communities in Nova Scotia
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Black Loyalist Communities in Nova Scotia

When about 40,000 newcomers, today referred to as United Empire Loyalists, arrived in the British colony of Nova Scotia between 1776 and 1785, the population tripled. There were about 3,500 Black Loyalists in this group. They included newly-freed slaves, those who had bought their freedom, and those born free, as well as indentured servants and slaves to White Loyalists and disbanded soldiers.

Loyalist settlement - detail  
  Map by Grant Murray
Nova Scotia Museum
Click on the map for more detail.
 Click to Enlarge 22k

The Black Loyalists were landed at Port Roseway (now Shelburne), Birchtown, Port Mouton, Annapolis Royal, Fort Cumberland, Halifax, and Saint John.
New Brunswick was a part of Nova Scotia until it was created in 1784 as a new province, to distribute the administrative burden of dealing with so many new arrivals.

Black Loyalist settlements in Nova Scotia were established in Annapolis Royal and in the areas of Cornwallis/Horton, Weymouth, Digby, Windsor, Preston, Sydney, Fort Cumberland, Parrsboro, Halifax, as well as Shelburne, Birchtown, and Port Mouton. In New Brunswick, Black Loyalists were settled in Saint John and along the Saint John River.

Monument at Tracadie  
Monument at Tracadie, c. 1996
Carmelita Robertson stands
beside the monument.
Photo by Ruth Holmes Whitehead,
Nova Scotia Museum.

About 1,500 Black Loyalists settled in Shelburne County, Nova Scotia. Most indentured servants and slaves settled in the town of Shelburne. Free Blacks settled nearby on the northwest harbour in an area named Birchtown, after the man who signed the certificates of freedom. Here, under the leadership of Colonel Stephen Blucke, 1,200 Black Loyalists formed the largest Black township of the time in British North America. Blucke was leader of a militia group, the Black Pioneers, organized to clear and construct the town of Shelburne and to settle the Black Loyalists in Birchtown.

Port Mouton, renamed Guysborough in honour of Sir Guy Carleton, was home to 558 Black Loyalists settlers until a fire ripped through the town and destroyed everything. The people were removed by the government in June of 1784 to Chedabucto Bay, in north-eastern Nova Scotia where they created the township of Guysborough, named after their original settlement.

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