Canadian Privateer Ship List

This list presents the names and dates of most known privateer vessels based in what is now Canada. Profiles are presented for many selected privateer vessels giving an outline of their career. Most are illustrated by a drawing or silhouette illustrating the type of rig that they most resembled. Please note that unless indicated otherwise, the home port of Liverpool refers to Liverpool, Nova Scotia (Lat. 44 2 N, Long 64 42 W) a hotspot for Canadian privateering and not Liverpool, England.
You can also use this Guide to Rigs to get a sense of the types of rigs used by privateers.

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In the various wars inflicted upon the colonies that later became Canada, coastal communities sought to sustain and defend themselves with privateer vessels. Quebec and Ontario were too far inland to engage in much privateering so it was an activity carried out mainly by English and French settlers in Atlantic Canada.

This list of privateer vessels is under construction; not all wars are listed, but more are coming down the ways.

Acadian Privateers

Privateers based at Port Royal proved a thorn in the side of New England colonies and helped the beleaguered Acadian settlements offer some resistance in frontier wars with the English. Litle has been published in English on this subject although active scholarship is underway.
See the
Acadian Privateering Links section for more information.

French Privateers from Quebec

Although Quebec is not an ideal privateering base as it is far inland, the large colony of New France fielded privateers in several campaigns, especially those against Newfoundland. Research has only recently been publsihed on these privateers. See the reference to James Pritchard's work on this subject in my privateering bibliography.

French Privateers from Louisbourg

Privateers were an important part of the offensive side to the great French fortress of Louisbourg in Cape Breton. They enjoyed considerable assistance and even direct investment from the military and civil authorities. This list is only a selection, showing the privateer vessels who mounted a successful campaign against New England shipping in the spring of 1744.

Source: The Summer of 1744: A Portrait of Life in 18th Century Louisbourg by A.J.B. Johnston

Louisbourg also outfitted privateers in the next conflict, the Seven Years War

Kindly provided by Sandy Balcolm at Parks Canada, Fortress Louisbourg; Archival Source: France, Archives Nationales, Section Ancienne, Sirie G5, Carton 260, Amirauti. Conseil des Prises, Minutes de Jugements 1756-57

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English Privateers from Halifax During the Seven Years War

Halifax had just been settled when the war broke out and was little more of big army and navy camp. Still the fledgling city fielded a number of privateers, although several were owned in England.
Source: "Notes of Nova Scotian Privateers" by George Nichols in Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society Vol. 8, 1908.

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The American Revolution - 1775 to 1783

At first sympathetic to the American rebels and reluctant to take up privateering, Nova Scotians turned to privateering with vigour in repsonse to aggressive American privateer attacks. Halifax led the privateering fleet, with Liverpool N.S. entering the field along with some small communities such as Chester. Many merchants, including a few in Quebec, also outfitted armed merchant ships.
Source: Ross, James Henry. "Privateering in Nova Scotia During the American Revolutionary War 1775-1783". BA Honours thesis Mount Allision University, 1957.

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Canadian Privateer Vessels in the Napoleonic Wars

Wars with the new revolutionary France wrecked Nova Scotia's prosperous West Indies trade, leading merchants and mariners to switch their efforts to raiding French and Spanish commerce in the West Indies.

Source:"A Private War in the Caribbean: Nova Scotia Privateering 1793-1805" by Dan Conlin

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Canadian Privateer Vessels in the War of 1812

Sources: "The Fortunes of War" by Faye Kert, MA Thesis Carleton University (1986) and Under the Red Jack by C.H.J. Snider (1928).