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  • History of How Blacks Came to Nova Scotia

    1605 - Mathieu Dacosta 
    (Dacosta is a Portuguese word meaning "man of the coast"). Mathieu Dacosta was 
    a Black seaman involved with French Expedition at Port Royal. As a freeman he 
    was recorded as an interpreter of the French and Micmac languages at a time 
    when the Acadians were developing a fur-trade industry along the Atlantic sea 
    coast. He was the first recorded black man to reach Canada.
    1749 - Halifax
    Some Black people also were enslaved in the province prior to and after the 
    founding of Halifax in 1749 by Lord Cornwallis, who had slaves of his own. 
    Documents indicate servants and runaways were in the area; "Slave Sale" 
    advertisements and "Wanted Slave" posters are evidence of this.
    1775-1782 Loyalists 
    The "American War of Independence" began and finished. Lord Dunbar made a 
    proclamation that every black slave to cross over to the British side of the 
    line would be declared free. The Black Loyalists were many of these, due to 
    their loyalty to Britain during the Revolutionary War. Some 3500 free men, 
    women and children arrived on Nova Scotia/New Brunswick shores. In a 1767 
    census, 104 people of African origin were listed out of a Nova Scotia
    population of 13,374. In contrast, the Scots numbered only 52!
    1783-1792 - Freetown
    Stopping points of the Black Loyalists were Shelburne, Annapolis, Halifax and 
    Saint John, N.B. These people encountered tremendous difficulties and beat 
    formidable odds. However, poor treatment and unjust land distribution did 
    prompt some 1196 individuals, including influential leaders, to relocate on 
    January 15, 1792 to Sierra Leone, West Africa. There they established the 
    settlement of Freetown. This was a British controlled solution to a desperate 
    situation that eased the tension on the crown.
    1796 - Maroons 
    Approximately 550 exiled Jamaican Maroons arrived (militant leaders) aboard 
    three small ships: "The Dover", "The Mary", and "The Ann", and settled in 
    HalifaxCounty. They would come to provide labor as well as military 
    reinforcements. Some were put to work on Citadel Hill reconstructing Fort 
    George, while others served on Governor Wentworth Farm. Just four years later 
    after experiencing extreme hardship and intolerance, they asked for and 
    received permission to relocate. The majority of the Maroons left and sailed 
    to Freetown, Sierra Leone. However, a few did stay in Nova Scotia and 
    descendants exist in the Halifax area today. 
    1812-1816 - Black refugees 
    In 1812, the war between Britain and the United States of America began. After 
    the war ended in 1814, approximately 2,000 Black refugees, loyal to Britain, 
    were evacuated via Washington (Chesapeake Bay), to Nova Scotia and New 
    Brunswick. This arrival had a number of complications and eventually they were 
    left to provide for their own existence after much of the land distribution 
    was unfairly divided. However, through it all they survived and prospered. The 
    largest settlements were established in Preston, Hammonds Plains, Beechville, 
    Africville, Lucasville and Sackville areas. The majority of African-Nova 
    Scotians today are descendants from this group. Some popular Nova Scotian 
    family names include Carvery, Smith, Crawley, Diggs, Wyse, Grant, Cromwell, 
    Bundy, Johnston, Johnson, Saunders, Sparks, Boyds, Beals and Downey.
    The final wave of immigrants to arrive came from the Caribbean lands during 
    this time. Most originated from Barbados and were employed as migrant laborers 
    in the steel making industry of Sydney, Cape Breton, N.S. The number of people 
    vary, however approximately 300 resettled during this period. Descendants 
    today still keep the cultural connections alive. 
    In conclusion African-Canadians have a rich and diverse history and heritage 
    which has been long standing in this province. Our strong faith in God and 
    hard work have been beneficial for Nova Scotia's development. 
    Afro-Nova Scotian Communities
    Community List
    1. Shelburne
    2. Birchtown
    3. Yarmouth
    4. Greenville
    5. Southville
    6. Danvers
    7. Hassett
    8. WeymouthFalls
    9. Jordantown
    10. Conway
    11. Acaciaville
    12. Digby
    13. LeQuille
    14. Granville Ferry
    15. Inglewood(Bridgetown)
    16. Middleton
    17. Cambridge
    18. Gibson Woods
    19. Aldershot
    20. Kentville
    21. Three Mile Plains
    22. Beechville
    23. Hammonds Plains
    24. Africville
    25. Lucasville
    26. Cobequid Road
    26B. Maroon Hill
    27. Halifax
    28. Dartmouth
    29/30. LakeLoon & Cherry Brook
    31. North Preston
    32. East Preston
    33. Truro
    34. Springhill
    35. Amherst
    36. Trenton
    37. New Glasgow
    38. Antigonish
    39. Monastery
    40. Mulgrave
    41. Upper Big Tracadie
    42. Lincolnville
    43. Sunnyville
    44. North Sydney
    45. Sydney
    46. New Waterford
    47. Glace Bay
    48. Liverpool

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