History of the Scots

in New Scotland (Nova Scotia)

[Provincial Tartan of New Scotland (Nova Scotia)] Tartan of New Scotland (Nova Scotia); Click to enlarge [jpeg:10K]

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New England, New France and New Spain were already established on this side of the Great Atlantic Roar" when New Scotland was founded by Sir William Alexander, and King James of Scotland in the early 1600s. At that time, New Scotland consisted approximately of the Atlantic Provinces as we know them today, and the Gaspe Peninsula.

Sir William Alexander with King James devised a settlement scheme of granting the title "Baronet of Nova Scotia" to any who would purchase large grants of land in New Scotland (Nova Scotia), secure and settle those lands. These Baronets of Nova Scotia received their lands in New Scotland (Nova Scotia) during the ancient ceremony of "Earth and Stone" while standing on a plot of land deemed by imaginative legalese to be part of New Scotland (Nova Scotia).

William Alexander, son of Sir William Alexander, brought out settlers to Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, in the late 1620s and established Charles Fort there. When the colony again went back to the French, about three years after their arrival, these Scottish emigrants were required to return to Scotland.

See Founding of New Scotland (Nova Scotia)

More than a century later, when the French and the English had finished their "tug of war" in claiming Nova Scotia from each other, and the English finally kept it, Scottish emigrants again began to come here. They settled in all parts of Nova Scotia. When the 1871 census was taken, the Scots made up the greater percentage of the population in Colchester, Inverness, Pictou and Victoria Counties. They also settled in large numbers in each of the other counties and became one of the leading groups in developing New Scotland (Nova Scotia).

These Scots came from all regions of Scotland, and for many reasons. Those emigrating from the Lowlands of Scotland, such as Dumfries and the border areas, were seeking adventure and a better opportunities in the new colony. They settled in many areas of mainland Nova Scotia.

In the mid 1700s, Governor Lawrence invited people in New England to come to Nova Scotia and settle the lands vacated after the expulsion of the Acadiens. Those who came, and now known as the Planters. They had been settled in New England for about a century. Among them were many Scottish people who had fled from Scotland to Ireland to gain freedom to pursue their religious persuasions. They settled mainly in the Truro and Londonderry areas, and are known in New Scotland (Nova Scotia) as the Ulster Scots.

Following defeat at the Battle of Culloden, life and times became very difficult in the Highlands. The people were forbidden to speak their language (Gaelic), play the Bagpipes (considered instruments of war) or to wear their Highland dress. The economy went from bad to worse, and the atrocities committed on the Highlanders by Butcher Cumberland and his followers left tales almost too horrible to tell. The Highlanders, if they could, left.

The first Highlanders to come to Nova Scotia arrived on the Ship Hector at Pictou in 1773. Through the years, up to and especially during the Highland Clearances, shipload after shipload of Highland emigrants crossed the difficult seas to Nova Scotia. The main ports of entry was Pictou, followed by Sydney, Halifax and others. Pictou became rightly known as the Birthplace of New Scotland

Other Highlanders went to the Carolinas in the USA as we know it today. They were required to take an Oath not to fight against the British. When the American Revolution broke out, they found themselves fighting with the British. Many Regiments, such as the 82nd and 84th Regiments, came to Windsor, Nova Scotia to train. The 82nd and 84th Regiments were disbanded in Nova Scotia, and the soldiers given land grants in Hants, Halifax, Cumberland and Pictou Counties.

Following the war, many came with other Loyalists to Nova Scotia to begin their lives yet again. They settled mainly in the western regions of Nova Scotia. It is interesting that in Digby area, there is a small coastal community by the name of Culloden.

Today, the descendants of these Scots and others who came after them -=- many arriving even in our time -=- form a major part in the life and development of Nova Scotia. We look back in time to remember the original inhabitants of Nova Scotia, the Micmac people, and honour them with much gratitude for their kindness and help to the first Highland settlers. We look forward in time to a more Multicultural community in Nova Scotia, and participate in the Multicultural Associations and Councils throughout New Scotland (Nova Scotia).

"The only difference between our ancestors and the Boat People (Vietnam emigrants, in their struggles for freedom)," said Rev. Robert McClure in addressing the North British Society in January 1985, "is 200 years."

History of the Scots in Scotland

[New Scotland (Nova Scotia) -=- Where the Heart is Still Highland!]
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