The Past

When it comes to land rights in Nova Scotia, inequality was embedded from the beginning. The Crown promised freedom and land to Blacks in the United States for their support during the American Revolutionary War.

These settlers became known as the Black Loyalists and about 3000 of them were sent to Nova Scotia. They were given small plots, typically only 10 acres of rocky and barren land. Crucially, and unlike White Loyalists, Black Loyalists were not given legal title to the land.

Instead, they were given tickets of location and licenses of occupation which meant they had access to the land but not ownership of it. It could be taken away at any time.


This, combined with ongoing discrimination and harsh winters led more than a thousand Black Loyalists to leave Nova Scotia for Sierra Leone in 1792.

Twenty years later, the Crown once again promised land in Nova Scotia to Blacks in the United States who were fleeing slavery during the War of 1812.

This group of immigrants became known as the Black Refugees. They numbered approximately 2000.

Some of the Black settlements in Nova Scotia included: Africville, Lincolnville, Hammonds Plains, Beechville, Birchtown,Whitney Pier, Cherry Brook and North and East Preston.