The Black Loyalists

The United States War of Independence would lead to an increase in the black population of Canada. More than 3000 Blacks fleeing the American Revolution arrived in Nova Scotia from 1783 to 1785. Escaping both slavery and war, they were searching for someplace where they would be masters of their own destiny. The British Crown, who had sought their support during the American War of Independence, had promised them land, provisions, and most of all freedom.

Many black soldiers fought for England, encouraged by the promise of freedom and land as a reward for their service. Other free blacks, who had not joined the British Army, also chose to immigrate to Canada to escape from discrimination and the risk of slavery.

After the American Revolution, a number of white Americans wishing to remain British subjects also moved to Nova Scotia and the territory now known as Ontario. They were called “United Empire Loyalists” and brought about 2,000 slaves along with them.