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The Foreign Protestants to Nova Scotia

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The Foreign Protestants

The Foreign Protestants were a group of French Lutheran and German Protestant immigrants to Nova Scotia that largely settled in Halifax at Gottingen Street (named after the German town Göttingen) and Dutch Village Road, as well as Lunenburg.

In 1749, the British colony of Nova Scotia was almost completely populated by native Mi'kmaq and 10,000 French-speaking and Roman Catholic Acadians. The British, specifically the Board of Trade, wanted to settle Protestants in the region. 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. These came mostly from German duchies and principalities on the Upper Rhine in the present-day Rhineland-Palatinate bundesländer. The Duchy of Württemberg was the major source, which included the Francophone region of Montbeliard (Principauté de Montbéliard), and there were also "Foreign Protestants" from the present day Tripoint of France, Germany and Switzerland.

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. Although some migrants were required to work on fortifications in Halifax and other areas of Nova Scotia in exchange for their passage.

Over 2,000 of the "Foreign Protestants" arrived between 1750 and 1752, in 12 ships:

  • Aldernay (1750)
  • Nancy (1750)
  • Ann (1750)
  • Gale (1751)
  • Speedwell (1751)
  • Pearl (1751)
  • Murdoch (1751)
  • Speedwell (1752)
  • Betty (1752)
  • Sally (1752)
  • Pearl (1752)
  • Gale (1752)

The immigrants disembarked at Halifax, where they were put in temporary quarters. The Foreign Protestants stayed at Halifax to assist the British in building this new outpost. They built their own chapel in Halifax, Little Dutch (Deutsch) Church. They had to wait for their promised lands. Many of the Foreign Protestants settled Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. In the early years, their living conditions resulted in Lunenburg Rebellion. The Foreign Protestants also faced numerous Mi'kmaw attacks, such as the Raid on Lunenburg (1756).

Seven hundred "Founding Families" to settle Lunenburg, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia in 1753. There were only about 200 remaining 17 short years later.

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, Berghaus (anglicized to Barkhouse), Corkum, Creaser, Crouse, Ernst, Himmelman, Hebb, Hirtle, Lohnes, Joudrey, Knickle, Morash, Naas, Rehfus (anglicized to Rafuse), Reichert (anglicised to Richards), Schmidt (anglicised to Smith), Vogler, Wile, Zinck, Zwicker, or the various ways to spell Rhodeniser are common.

Many towns such as Lunenburg, bear distinctly German names. While places adapted to the cultural and business requirements including Bridgewater and Riverport. Many of the names of islands, beaches, and points like Kingsburg are also German.

On July 10, 1988, Pierre Jodry of Audincourt, France (near the city of Montbeliard) unveiled a memorial dedicated to the 431 foreign protestants from the Principality of Montbeliard who landed in Nova Scotia between 1749 and 1752. Many of these Montbeliardians were among the founding settlers of Lunenburg on June 8, 1753. Jean George and his family are considered founders of Lunenburg and the family name appears on the monument.[1]


  1. http://ns1763.ca/lunenco/montbeliard.html

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