HALIFAX – The Black Loyalists who landed in Nova Scotia as a result of the American Revolution are being commemorated by a new $20 silver coin unveiled Monday by the Royal Canadian Mint.
The Black Loyalists arrived between 1783 and 1785 and were the largest group of people of African birth and descent to immigrate to Nova Scotia at any one time. More than 3,000 Black Loyalists settled in Nova Scotia, although about 1,200 eventually left and were instrumental in establishing the colony of Freetown in Sierra Leone in 1792.
Premier Stephen McNeil said in a virtual event on the first day of Black History Month that the coin is an important reminder of the “deep-rooted” legacy of Black Loyalists in the province.
“Black Loyalists who came to Nova Scotia in the 1780s to seek a better life were pioneers in setting up grassroots movements, and liberations, and inspirations – not only to people of African descent but others living in Nova Scotia and other parts of Canada and Sierre Leone,” he said.
A tribute to the freedom seekers.
We are proud to unveil this piece in honour of the proud legacy of Black Loyalists, who voyaged to British North America as early settlers and became an integral part of Canadian history.
— Royal Canadian Mint (@CanadianMint) February 1, 2021
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted the loyalists fought alongside the British in the hope of gaining their freedom from enslavement and the promise of land.
“We have a collective duty to commemorate the Black Loyalists, their sacrifices, and their accomplishments. Today is a step in that direction as we unveil this coin. Today is also an opportunity to affirm our commitment to continue to fight anti-Black racism and systemic discrimination,” he said.
The coin features the armorial bearing of the Black Loyalist Heritage Society, with the Queen’s image on the other side.