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The conclusion of the War of 1812 between Britain and its former colonies, now the United States of America, left unresolved the fate of the Africans who were pawns in what was essentially a European family dispute. As historian Ellen Gibson Wilson noted, no one had foreseen that the war would generate so many refugees. British, Hessian, American, and French soldiers were claiming enslaved Africans as “booty.” For many years following the war, disputes over compensation for “lost property” were a source of friction in British and American relations.

The focus of this entry is on African descendants who sided as “loyalists” with the British to win their “freedom.” Some of those formerly enslaved Africans settled in the area near Halifax, Nova Scotia, which ...

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