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Foreign Protestants
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Foreign Protestants

The foreign Protestants were a group of immigrants to Nova Scotia in the mid-18th century.

In 1749 the British colony of Nova Scotia was almost completely populated by ten thousand French-speaking and Catholic Acadians. This was felt to be a great problem by the British administrators of the area, especially Lord Cornwallis. Attracting British immigrants was difficult as most preferred to go to the warmer southern colonies. Thus, a plan was developed to aggressively recruit "foreign" Protestants, mostly in Germany but also in Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

This recruiting drive was led by John Dick who was quite successful. The British government agreed to provide free passage to the colony, as well as free land and one year's rations upon arrival. The immigrants almost all disembarked at Halifax where they were put in temporary quarters before being shipped to other areas of the colony.

Most of the foreign Protestants settled along the South Shore between Liverpool and Halifax. The area is still inhabited by their descendants, and last names like Hirtle and Ernst are common. Many towns such as Lunenburg and Kingsburg bear distinctly German names. Many of the names of islands, beaches, and points are also German.