Sierra Leone Creole People - History - The Nova Scotians and The Freetown Colony 1792-1799

The Nova Scotians and The Freetown Colony 1792-1799

The proponents and directors of the Sierra Leone colony believed that a new colony did not need black settlers from London. Instead, the directors decided to bring African Americans from Nova Scotia, despite the failure of the last colony. These settlers were Black Loyalists, American slaves who had escaped to British lines and fought with them during the American Revolution, to earn freedom. The British transported more than 3,000 freedmen to Nova Scotia for resettlement, together with white Loyalists. Some of the former African Americans were from South Carolina and the Sea Islands, of the Gullah culture; others were from states along the eastern seaboard up to New England. These blacks immigrated to Sierra Leone from Halifax Harbour on January 15, 1792 and arrived in Sierra Leone between February 28 and March 9, 1792. The Settler men cleared the forest and shrub and built a new settlement on the overgrown site that had formerly contained the Granville Town settlement. On March 11, 1792, the Nova Scotian Settlers disembarked from the 14 passenger ships that had carried them from Nova Scotia to Sierra Leone and marched toward a large cotton near George Street. As the Settlers gathered under the cotton tree, the Settler preachers held a thanksgiving service and the white minister, Rev. Patrick Gilbert preached a sermon. After the religious services, the settlement was officially established and was designated Freetown. They had a profound influence on Creole culture; much of the Western attributes of Creole society came from the "Settlers" In Sierra Leone they were called the Nova Scotians or "Settlers" (the 1787 Settlers were called the Old Settlers). They founded the capital of Sierra Leone in 1792. The descendants of African Americans remained an identifiable ethnic group until the 1870s, when the Creole identity was beginning to form.

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