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  • Article

    William Neilson Hall

    William Neilson Hall, seaman (born 25 April 1829 in Horton Bluff [now Lockhartville], NS; died 25 August 1904 near Hantsport, NS). William Hall was the first Black person, the first Nova Scotian and the first Canadian naval recipient of the Victoria Cross. He was the son of parents who had been enslaved in the United States but fled to Halifax at the end of the War of 1812. Hall spent much of his life at sea, joining the merchant navy at the age of 16. As a member of the Royal Navy (1852–76), Hall served in the Crimean War and Indian Mutiny of 1857, among other engagements. One of the Canadian navy’s new Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships was named in his honour.

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  • Editorial

    William Neilson Hall: Victoria Cross Recipient

    The following article is an editorial written by The Canadian Encyclopedia staff. Editorials are not usually updated.

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  • Article

    William Pearly Oliver

    William Pearly Oliver, CM, minister, army chaplain and community organizer (born 11 February 1912 in Wolfville, Nova Scotia; died 26 May 1989 in Lucasville). Oliver was a social activist, educator and minister. He cofounded the Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NSAACP) and the Black United Front (BUF). He was also instrumental in the creation of the Black Cultural Society and the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia.

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  • Article

    William Wasborough Foster

    William Wasborough Foster, military officer, public servant, mountaineer (b at Bristol, Eng 1875; d at Vancouver 2 Dec 1954). Energetic, capable and good-humoured, Foster immigrated to Canada in 1894 to work for the CPR before becoming BC's deputy minister of public works in 1910.

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  • Article


    Between February 1868 and September 1870, 7 contingents totalling 507 Canadians enrolled in the papal army (whose soldiers were known as Papal Zouaves) to help defend Rome from the Italian troops who wanted to bring about Italian unification.

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