The Planters(Colonists)


Planters is an Elizabethan term meaning "colonists." After the expulsion of the Acadians from Nova Scotia, Governor Charles Lawrence issued a proclamation on October 12, 1758 to the people of New England inviting them to settle the fertile Nova Scotian farmland. Between 1760 and 1774, approximately 8000 Planters from the colonies of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire came to Nova Scotia.



Wikipedia - The New England Planters were settlers from the New England colonies who responded to invitations by the lieutenant governor and subsequently governor of Nova Scotia, Charles Lawrence, to settle lands left vacant by the Acadian Expulsion of 1755. Eight thousand Planters, largely farmers and fishermen, arrived from 1759 to 1768 to take up the offer. The farmers settled mainly on the rich farmland of the Annapolis Valley and in the southern counties of what is now New Brunswick but was then part of Nova Scotia. Most of the fishermen went to the South Shore of Nova Scotia, where they got the same amount of land as the farmers did. Many fishermen especially wanted to move there because they were already fishing off the Nova Scotia coast.

The Planters were the first major group of English-speaking immigrants in Canada who did not come directly from Great Britain. Most of the Planters were Protestant Congregationalists, in contrast to the largely Roman Catholic Acadians. They were soon joined by Ulster and Yorkshire emigrants from Britain and United Empire Loyalists who left the New England colonies after the American War of Independence in 1783. The latter influxes greatly diminished the Planter political influence in Nova Scotia. However the Planters laid the foundations of a large number of the present day communities of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and their political and religious traditions had important influences on the culture of the region.

As an inducement to settle in the province, the New England Planters had been promised the same religious and civic freedoms that they had enjoyed in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The most fundamental of civic freedoms, and the one from which all others flowed, was the power to allocate land. Government in eighteenth-century New England meant local government and…it scarcely mattered if the central government was in Boston or London. Power was the power of neighbours agreeing or disagreeing at the village hall or tavern, not something that descended mysteriously from above. But with local power came local responsibility: for the care of the poor, the maintenance of the roads, peacekeeping, and the support of schools the township had to fend for itself. 

The Planters have been the subject of considerable scholarly research in recent years, led by a series of Planters Studies conferences at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. They are also commemorated by an Parks Canada exhibit at the Kings County Museum in Kentville, Nova Scotia.