Nova Scotia Black Canadians

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Online Records[edit | edit source]

Of the 10,000 French living on Ile Royale (1713–1760), 216 were African-descended slaves. Slaves worked as "servants, gardeners, bakers, tavern keepers, stone masons, musicians, laundry workers, soldiers, sailors, fishermen, hospital workers, ferry men, executioners and nursemaids." More than 90 per cent of the slaves were blacks from the French West Indies, which included Saint-Domingue, the chief sugar colony, and Guadeloupe.

At the end of the American War of Independence, the British evacuated thousands of Black Loyalists, settling many in the British colony of Nova Scotia. The British authorities in American colonies had promised freedom to those slaves of the rebelling Americans, who escaped and made their way into British lines. Large numbers of enslaved people took advantage of this opportunity and they made their way over to the British side, as did a much smaller number of free people of color. Approximately three thousand black Loyalists were evacuated by ship to Nova Scotia between April and November 1783. Many of these African-American settlers were recorded in the Book of Negroes.

Many of the black Loyalists performed military service in the British Army, particularly as part of the only black regiment of the war, the Black Pioneers, while others served non-military roles. The soldiers of the Black Pioneers settled in Digby and were given small compensation in comparison to the white Loyalist soldiers.

Many of the blacks settled under the leadership of Stephen Blucke, a prominent black leader of the Black Pioneers. Blucke led the founding of Birchtown, Nova Scotia in 1783. The community was the largest settlement of Black Loyalists and was the largest free settlement of Africans in North America in the 18th century. The two other significant Black Loyalist communities established in Nova Scotia were Brindley town (present-day Jordantown) and Tracadie. At least half of the families in Birchtown abandoned the settlement and emigrated to Sierra Leone in 1792. Black Nova Scotians who had settled at Chedabucto Bay behind the present-day village of Guysborough migrated to Tracadie (1787). None of the blacks in eastern Nova Scotia migrated to Sierra Leone.

The next major migration of blacks into Nova Scotia occurred between 1813 and 1815. Black Refugees from the United States settled in many parts of Nova Scotia including Hammonds Plains, Beechville, Lucasville and Africville.[1]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Black Nova Scotians", in Wikipedia,, accessed 24 November 2020.