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Pioneers of Canada - Nova Scotia


Settlement and Immigration

The French who established the first successful settlement of Europeans in the province at Port-Royal in 1605 named it Acadia, from the name assigned to the coast by Giovanni da Verrazzano. Lasting British settlement did not occur until the founding of Halifax in 1749 by Governor Edward Cornwallis who brought with him some 2500 settlers. Over the next 3 years about 2500 foreign Protestants, mostly German, arrived and were largely settled at Lunenburg.
Between 1760 and 1768 up to 8000 New Englanders, the pre-Loyalists, came as settlers, together with several hundred emigrants from northern Ireland. About 1000 Yorkshiremen who arrived between 1772 and 1774 settled at the Isthmus of Chignecto and the first Scots reached Pictou in 1773 aboard the Hector. The American Revolution brought about 20 000 Loyalists, disbanded soldiers and refugees to Nova Scotia as permanent settlers.
Some blacks came with the pre-Loyalists and Loyalists, some from Jamaica in 1796, and although many did not stay, a few hundred were left to be joined by the 2000 who arrived following the War of 1812. Between 1815 and 1851 about 55 000 Scots, Irish, English and Welsh established themselves in the province, and after the expansion of the coal and steel industries - beginning in the 1890s - newcomers arrived from the British Isles and continental Europe to settle mostly in Cape Breton.