Scots in Nova Scotia

September 2, 2009

Pictou, Nova Scotia was the site where the first Scottish settlers arrived in the new world.

A replica of the ship Hector was built in Pictou.

In 1773, 189 Gaels left from Loch Broom, Scotland. They crossed the Atlantic Ocean in the ship Hector and arrived at Pictou, Nova Scotia. These brave adventurers formed the first Highland settlement in Nova Scotia.

Between 1773 and 1803 it is believed that at least 10 vessels bearing Scottish emigrants landed in Nova Scotia.

By the end of the 18th century, Scots had settled in Pictou, Antigonish, and parts of Cape Breton Island.

In 1775, Michael Mór MacDonald visiting from PEI spent a winter in Judique. He was the first Gaelic-speaking pioneer in Cape Breton.

In 1783 Gales from the West Highlands founded Arisaig, the first settlement in Antigonish County.

In 1785 there was a strong Highland population on Prince Edward Island and the west coast of Cape Breton.

Cape Breton Island was the last substantial area on the Atlantic Coast of North America to be opened up by Scottish emigration. The first ship to sail directly to Cape Breton landed in Sydney in 1802 with 299 emigrants.

From 1815 to 1838 Nova Scotia received approximately 22,000 Scottish immigrants, most of them were from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

Between 1826-1827, approximately 2,000 Scots left from Tobermory and Stornaway, Scotland for Cape Breton Island.

1835 saw approximately 3,500 departed from Stornaway, Oban and Campbelton. Others came from places in the Highlands and Islands such as Strath Glas, Moidart, Knoydart, Lochaber, the Inner Hebrides, Lewis and Harris, Barra, the Uists, Sutherlandshire and Wester Ross.

Immigration to Cape Breton slowed down in the 1830’s.

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