Nova Scotia Cultural Groups

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Nova Scotia Wiki Topics
Nova Scotia Flag.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Nova Scotia Background
Nova Scotia Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources

Nova Scotia Archives[edit | edit source]

Acadians[edit | edit source]

See the Wiki article Nova Scotia Acadians.

Black Canadians[edit | edit source]

British[edit | edit source]


  • Beginning with King William's War in 1688, Nova Scotia was a consistent theatre of conflict between the France and England.
  • During the French and Indian War of 1754–63, the British deported the Acadians and recruited New England Planters to resettle the colony.
  • The New England Planters were settlers from the New England colonies who responded to invitations by the lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia, Charles Lawrence, to settle lands left vacant by the Bay of Fundy Campaign (1755) of the Acadian Expulsion.
  • Eight thousand Planters (roughly 2000 families), largely farmers and fishermen, arrived from 1759 to 1768 to take up the offer. The farmers settled mainly on the rich farmland of the Annapolis Valley and in the southern counties of what is now New Brunswick but was then part of Nova Scotia. Most of the fishermen went to the South Shore of Nova Scotia, where they got the same amount of land as the farmers. Many fishermen wanted to move there, especially since they were already fishing off the Nova Scotia coast.
  • After the American Revolution (1775–1783), approximately 33,000 Loyalists settled in Nova Scotia (14,000 of them in what became New Brunswick) on lands granted by the Crown as some compensation for their losses.
  • The Loyalist exodus created new communities across Nova Scotia and infused Nova Scotia with additional capital and skills. However the migration also caused political tensions between Loyalist leaders and the leaders of the existing New England Planters settlement. [1]

First Nations[edit | edit source]


  • The province includes regions of the Mi'kmaq nation of Mi'kma'ki (mi'gama'gi). (The territory of the Nation of Mi'kma'ki also includes the Maritimes, parts of Maine, Newfoundland and the Gaspé Peninsula.) The Mi'kmaq people are among the large Algonquian-language family and inhabited Nova Scotia at the time the first European colonists arrived.
  • The French arrived in 1604, and Catholic Mi'kmaq and Acadians formed the majority of the population of the colony for the next 150 years.
  • As a result of Father Rale's War (1722–1725), the Mi'kmaq signed a series of treaties with Great Britain in 1725. The British signed a treaty (or "agreement") with the Mi'kmaq, but the authorities have often disputed its definition of the rights of the Mi'kmaq to hunt and fish on their lands. However, conflict between the Acadians, Mi'kmaq, French, and the British persisted in the following decades with King George's War (1744–1748).
  • The Loyalist influx pushed Nova Scotia's 2000 Mi'kmaq People to the margins as Loyalist land grants encroached on ill-defined native lands. [2]

Germans[edit | edit source]

Over 2000 Germans arrived in Nova Scotia between 1750 and 1752 when they were recruited for settlement of British holdings. In 1753 some of these settlers established the town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. The next large migration of Germans to Canada occurred during the period after the American Revolution. A total of 30,000 Germans fought in North America between 1776 and 1783; among them, 10,000 men served in Canada and almost 2,400 settled there after the war, mainly in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The settlement along the Grand River became the hub of the German district of Waterloo. Germans settled in many other areas of Ontario, including the Upper Ottawa Valley.[3]

Irish[edit | edit source]

About one Nova Scotian in four is of Irish descent, and there are good tracing facilities for genealogists and family historians. Many Nova Scotians who claim Irish ancestry are of Presbyterian Ulster-Scottish descent. Presbyterian centres included Colchester County, Nova Scotia. Catholic Irish settlement in Nova Scotia was traditionally restricted to the urban Halifax area. Halifax, founded in 1749, was estimated to be about 16% Irish Catholic in 1767 and about 9% by the end of the 18th century.

There were also rural Irish village settlements throughout most of Guysborough County, such as the Erinville (meaning Irishville) /Salmon River Lake/Ogden/Bantry district (Bantry being named after Bantry Bay, County Cork, Ireland but abandoned since the 19th century for better farmland in places like Erinville/Salmon River Lake). In this area Irish last names are prevalent and an Irish influence is apparent in the accent, the traditional music of the area, food, religion (Roman Catholic) and lingering traces of the Irish language. In Antigonish County there are other villages of Irish provenance, and still others can be found on Cape Breton Island, in places such as New Waterford, Rocky Bay and Glace Bay.[4]

Scottish[edit | edit source]

Scots began arriving to Canada as early as the early seventeenth century. Sir William Alexander obtained permission from King James I to establish a Scottish settlement in 1622 named New Scotland or Nova Scotia. The colony failed to flourish, however, and few families settled in Canada before the British conquest in 1759. The majority of these early Scottish settlers were Roman Catholics seeking political and religious refuge, fur traders with the Hudson's Bay Company, merchants and disbanded soldiers.

After this early period there were also a number of Highland farmers who emigrated from Scotland after being ejected from their land to make way for sheep grazing. The primary destinations for these early settlers were agricultural communities in Upper Canada, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. Cape Breton Island had a significant Scottish population, Gaelic being the only language spoken there. Scottish Loyalists arrived in Canada from the United States in 1783 and settled mainly in Glengarry, Upper Canada, and Nova Scotia. Lord Selkirk also settled over 800 Scottish migrants in Prince Edward Island in 1803 and placed many others in his Red River settlement in Manitoba in 1812. By 1815, there were already more than 15,000 Scots living in Canada.[5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Nova Scotia", at Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nova_Scotia, and "New England Planters", at Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_England_Planters, accessed 25 November 2020.
  2. "Nova Scotia", at Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nova_Scotia#History, accessed 22 November 2020.
  3. "German", Library and Archives Canada, https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/history-ethnic-cultural/Pages/german.aspx, accessed 25 November 2020.
  4. "Irish Canadians", at Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Canadians#Irish_in_Nova_Scotia, accessed 25 November 2020.
  5. Scottish Immigrants at Library and Archives Canada,https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/history-ethnic-cultural/Pages/scottish.aspx, accessed 25 November 2020.