Annapolis River - Fourteenth Colony
An extension of New England
When Great Britain took over Acadia in 1713, one of its first acts was to rename
the territory ‘Nova Scotia’, meaning New Scotland. This was a reflection of
a major British goal: to increase the British presence, and to decrease the
influence of the French. Port-Royal became Annapolis Royal. The British then
surveyed the land, reserving it for future British settlement.
As the conflict between the French and the British continued throughout the
century, the British put into effect their plans to anglicize or make culturally
English, Nova Scotia. In 1744, 2,000 colonists were settled at Halifax, which
became the capital of the colony. Another 1,500 'foreign Protestants,' mostly
Germans, were settled at Lunenburg.
After the Acadians were expelled, the British invited New Englanders to take
over these prosperous farms in the Annapolis valley. In a proclamation issued
in 1758, settlers were invited to claim the farms. The government paid their
transportation costs, and granted 40 hectares of land to each family head, plus
an additional 20 hectares for each additional family member.
Many New Englanders were happy to accept the government's offer. It had great
appeal especially among the poorer farmers in heavily settled areas. Hundreds
of fishers who wanted to be closer to the Grand Banks also moved to Nova Scotia
at this time. By 1760, over half of Nova Scotia's population of 20,000 were
former New Englanders. Indeed, there were so many New Englanders in the region
of Nova Scotia at this time, that many people thought Nova Scotia would join
the Americans when they rebelled against the British in 1775.
The colony remained loyal to Britain, however, and became one of the major
destinations of the United Empire Loyalists fleeing from the newly created United
States after 1783. With the influx of the Loyalists into Nova Scotia, the British
character of the colony was assured.
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