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When the Black Loyalists first arrived in Nova Scotia, they saw a new world filled with hope and fear. Possessing only their own freedom, they must have known that they faced tremendous hardship and uncertainty. Though they had risked everything for their freedom, they could only trust in the good will of those who had protected it. Only fate could tell if the promises of equal treatment, land, and an opportunity for a better future would be fulfilled.


When settlers first landed on the shores of Nova Scotia, they were dismayed to discover an untamed wilderness covered with rocks and boulders. Fighting over land quickly followed. In a situation where most of the early settlers were merchants and tradesmen who were unfamiliar with hard, physical labour, the blacks bore the brunt of that labour.

Huts and Trenches

To prepare for the winter, many of the Loyalists made rough sheds and huts to protect themselves from the weather. Sadly, for many poor blacks these temporary structures became permanent homes.


Almost half the Black Loyalists in Nova Scotia were settled in a black community near Shelburne; named Birchtown. At it's peak it was the largest community of free blacks outside Africa in the world.

Other Communities

Other black communities sprang up as well, attached to almost every Loyalist settlement. Notable black towns include Preston, Brindley Town, and the isolated black community of Little Tracadie.

King's Bounty

At first every Loyalist was dependent on the food and supplies provided by the British, but for some people the dependence on the charity of others was unending.

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Image of Loyalist Refugees
Loyalist refugees were brought to many different places in Atlantic Canada.

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