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Our Story
Loyalists Now
Pioneers go backgo upgo to next Peace

As the war ended, Loyalists of all colours were forced to flee the United States. Some went to England, others to Florida and the West Indies, but most went to the North American Colonies to the north, in what is now Canada.

All the Loyalists had lost a great deal: their property, their careers, and often their families. But the Black Loyalists faced the most uncertain future of all, not knowing whether their very freedom might suddenly be taken away from them. Indeed, for many this is exactly what happened. Some were callously abandoned to the Patriots or even sold in the West Indies by the British, or traded for White Loyalist prisoners. Others were seized by their former masters as they waited for transport to Nova Scotia.

The Peace Treaty

As British and American officials in Paris worked out a peace agreement, the blacks feared that their freedom was being signed away by the British.

Chaos in New York

As word of the peace agreement spread, masters from all over the continent traveled and sent agents to New York to seize their slaves from the streets and drag them back to the fields. Others saw easy profit in the confusion and kidnapped likely blacks.

Certificates of Freedom

The British eventually decided to honor their pledge to protect the freedom of those blacks who sought their protection. Promises of compensation were made to the Americans, and formal arrangements were made to give Certificates of Freedom to those who fulfilled the conditions of the Proclamations.

Back to Slavery

Not every Black Loyalist was so lucky. In the South especially, many of the British thought nothing of the promises made to the blacks, and happily traded their freedom away for white loyalist prisoners and easy cash.

Pioneers go backgo upgo to next Peace
Image of a Certificate of Freedom
One of only two remaining Certificates of Freedom (PANS)

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