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The American Revolution divided the US. Those faithful to Britain went to Canada - soldiers, freed slaves, indentured servants and families- as United Empire Loyalists

There was no happy medium to be reached. Divided by loyalty to the United States or standing strong with the British, the American Revolution for independence in 1776 tore families apart. Those faithful to the British had to go, white and black. The emigrants included the Black Pioneers Regiment, slaves who were freed on condition of service to the British cause, and indentured slaves still under service to their masters.

And go they did. By the thousands, United Empire Loyalists spread across the world, many coming north to Canada. It was not a haphazard exodus for the Black people. Those leaving, whether free or still slave, were required to have Certificates of Freedom and their names were recorded a log entitled the Book of Negroes, said the Nova Scotia Museum, as our specialists write in Thewritemyessay.


Destination: Shelburne County

Of the 30,000 or so people who arrived in Canada, approximately 3,500 were Black Loyalists who made their home in the British colony of Nova Scotia. Halifax, Birchtown, the Annapolis and Digby areas filled with new residents, with Shelburne County taking on nearly 1,500 black settlers between 1783 and 1785. The town of Birchtown became, noted the Museum, the “largest Black township of the time in North America” with 1,200 freed Blacks. Colonel Stephen Blucke, commander of the Black Pioneers Regiment (the only official regiment of black soldiers on the British side) set his militia men to work building the towns of Shelburne and Birchtown.

The new Black settlers were not a rag-tag group. Both men and women, and their families, they were educated, professional people. Teachers, ministers and skilled craftsmen and labourers came north as citizens loyal to Britain. Unfortunately, a better life was not to be for a large portion of these early Black colonists.

Black Loyalists Disillusioned

Promised improved conditions in Canada, all did not go as planned for the Black Loyalists. All Loyalists were assured “three years’ worth of provisions to sustain themselves while establishing homes and farms,” stated Biographi of Library and Archives Canada. But, the Blacks of Annapolis County were given only 80 days’ worth of supplies. They were also required to put in road work labour, while white Loyalists were not, and were paid less for any other work they did. Grants of acreage were promised to Loyalist immigrants, and again, the Blacks did not receive their proper share. Waiting years for small plots unsuitable for farming or for no land at all, the settlers were disillusioned.

Thomas Peters, a Black military man and leader of the Annapolis group, petitioned first the Governor of the colony in 1784, and then directly to the British government in 1790, for fair and equal treatment. His missions were failures. Instead, the group took up the offer of the Sierra Leone Company in Africa to populate a new British Colony. On January 15, 1792, “a fleet of 15 ships left Halifax for West Africa” with 1,200 people aboard, according to Biographi, and included community leaders, farmers, soldiers and tradespeople.

For the indentured Black slaves who chose to remain in Canada, life eventually took a positive turn. The unsavory practice of slavery was not condoned in Canada. It was abolished in 1834.


Author bio:

Necole Hardison, writer and editor


Necole graduated Harvard Business School and studied many executive education programs. She is a business strategic expert by day and essay writing fanatic by night, writing all sorts of great content. Necole already helped a lot of people with an essay writing and does not plan to dwell on it.