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Loyalists in Canada

Loyalists were American colonists, of different ethnic backgrounds, who supported the British cause during the American Revolutionary War (1775–83). Tens of thousands of Loyalists migrated to British North America during and after the war. This boosted the population, led to the creation of Upper Canada and New Brunswick, and heavily influenced the politics and culture of what would become Canada.

(This is the full-length entry about Loyalists in Canada. For a plain-language summary, please see Loyalists in Canada (Plain-Language Summary).)

Editorial

Editorial: The Arrival of Black Loyalists in Nova Scotia

“Freedom and a Farm.” The promise was exciting to the thousands of African Americans, most seeking to escape enslavement, who fought in British regiments during the American Revolutionary War (1775–83). Following the war, they joined tens of thousands of Loyalists — American refugees who had sided with the British. Between 80,000 and 100,000 Loyalists eventually fled the United States. About half came to British North America. The main waves arrived in 1783 and 1784. The territory that now includes the Maritime provinces became home to more than 30,000 Loyalists. Most of coastal Nova Scotia received Loyalist settlers, as did Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island (then called St. John’s Island).

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Archibald McNab

Archibald McNab, 17th chief of Clan Macnab (b in Perthshire, Scot c 1781; d at Lannion, France 12 Aug 1860). McNab came to Upper Canada in 1822 to flee his creditors in Scotland. His settlement scheme was approved Nov 1823 and he was given land on the Madawaska River.

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Robert Fleming Gourlay

Robert Fleming Gourlay, polemicist, reformer (b at Craigrothie, Scot 24 Mar 1778; d at Edinburgh, Scot 1 Aug 1863). A successful farmer and writer who fell into financial difficulties, he came to UPPER CANADA in 1817 to take up land he owned in Dereham Township and to write an immigrant's guide.

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Sir William Johnson

Sir William Johnson, merchant, fur trader, colonial official (born ca. 1715 in Smithtown, County Meath, Ireland; died 11 July 1774 in Johnson Hall, near Johnstown, NY).

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Baron Sydenham

Charles Edward Poulett Thomson Sydenham, 1st Baron, politician, colonial administrator (b at Wimbledon, London, Eng 13 Sept 1799; d at Kingston, Canada W 19 Sept 1841).

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Canada Company

Canada Company, brainchild of John GALT, established in late 1824 and chartered in 1825 as a land and COLONIZATION COMPANY in Upper Canada. In 1826 the company purchased from the government about 2.5 million acres (1 million ha) of land for $295 000.

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George Hamilton

George Hamilton, lumberman and merchant (b at Hamwood, Co Meath, Ire 13 Apr 1781; d at Hawkesbury, UC 7 Jan 1839). He was one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the early timber trade in the Ottawa Valley.

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Robert Baldwin

Robert Baldwin, lawyer, politician, office holder (born 12 May 1804 in York [Toronto], Upper Canada; died 9 December 1858 in Yorkville [Toronto], Canada West).

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William Lyon Mackenzie

William Lyon Mackenzie, journalist, politician (born 12 March 1795 in Dundee, Scotland; died 28 August 1861 in Toronto, ON). A journalist, Member of the Legislative Assembly, first mayor of Toronto and a leader of the Rebellions of 1837, Mackenzie was a central figure in pre-Confederation political life.