OTD: British Crown grants land to Loyalists

On today’s date in 1783, the British Crown issued instructions for granting lands to U.S. Loyalists.

The Loyalists, who were supportive of Britain during the American Revolution, immigrated to British North America.

As per the July 16, 1783 announcement, all heads of families would receive 100 acres of land; members of families would receive 50 acres each; single men would receive 50 acres each; and non-commissioned officers would receive 200 acres.

Five years later, in November 1789, Governor Guy Carleton passed an Order-in-Council expanding the land grant, which gave every Loyalist’s son 200 acres while every daughter received 200 acres when married.

50,000 SETTLERS

Following a bloody battle between the Loyalists and U.S. patriots, the 1783 Treaty of Paris ended the war. About 100,000 Loyalists fled, and 50,000 of them chose to settle in what’s now Canada. About 35,000 people arrived in the Maritimes, and the remainder settled in the Eastern Townships of Québec and the Niagara peninsula.

Former U.S. president John Adams estimated about one-third of the population of the Thirteen Colonies were Loyalists, and at least 20,000 of them joined the army to defend Great Britain.

1984 LOYALIST STAMP

In 1984, to mark the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists to Canada, a 32-cent postage stamp (Scott #1028) was issued by Canada Post. Designed by Toronto-based illustrator Will Davies and produced in five-colour photolithography by the British American Bank Note Company in Ottawa, the stamps—30 million of which were printed of Clark paper with general tagging along opposite sides—were issued in panes of 50. Each stamp is comb perforated 13.1 horizontally by 13.3 vertically and has an overall size of 40 mm by 24 mm. The design features a group of Loyalists in 18th-century attire and represents a cross-section of Loyalist society. In the background is the Grand Union flag, which was the British flag used from 1606-1801.

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