Scottish Colonization of The Americas - Nova Scotia (1621)

Nova Scotia (1621)

Although it is sometimes claimed that Henry Sinclair, 1st Earl of Orkney, a Scottish nobleman, explored North America in the 14th century, the first documented Scottish settlement in the Americas was of Nova Scotia in 1629. On 29 September 1621, the charter for the foundation of a colony was granted by James VI of Scotland to Sir William Alexander,. Between 1622 and 1628, Sir William launched four attempts to send colonists to Nova Scotia; all failed for various reasons. A successful occupation of Nova Scotia was finally achieved in 1629. The colony's charter, in law, made Nova Scotia (defined as all land between Newfoundland and New England) a part of mainland Scotland; this was later used to get around the English navigation acts.

Due to difficulties in obtaining a sufficient number of skilled emigrants, in 1624, James VI created a new order of Baronets; admission to this order was obtained by sending six labourers or artisans, sufficiently armed, dressed and supplied for two years, to Nova Scotia, or by paying 3,000 merks to William Alexander. For six months, no one took up this offer until James compelled one to make the first move. In 1627, there was a wider uptake of baronetcies, and thus more settlers available to go to Nova Scotia. However, in 1627, war broke out between England and France and the French re-established a settlement at Port Royal, Nova Scotia, which they had originally settled in 1604.

During the Anglo-French War (1627–1629), under Charles I, by 1629 the Kirkes took Quebec City, Sir James Stewart of Killeith, Lord Ochiltree planted a colony on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia at Baleine, and Alexander’s son, William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling established the first incarnation of “New Scotland” at Port Royal, Nova Scotia. This set of British triumphs which left Cape Sable as the only major French holding in North America was not destined to last. Charles I’s haste to make peace with France on the terms most beneficial to him meant that the new North American gains would be bargained away in the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1632). The Scots were forced to abandon their Nova Scotia colony in its infancy.

During this time when Nova Scotia briefly became a Scottish Colony, there were three battles between the Scots and the French: one at St. John; another at Cape Sable Island; and the other at Baleine, Nova Scotia.

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Scottish Colonization Of The Americas - Nova Scotia (1621) - Cape Breton (1625)
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