Nova Scotia (1713 – 1867)

ALBUM – view my Nova Scotia album

Fast Facts

Region: North America / Hawaii
Group: Canadian States
Classification: Colony (UK)
Prior Regime: French Colony
Key Dates:
  1713 – Nova Scotia became British colony, treaty of Utrecht gave Nova Scotia to British
  1763 – Cape Breton Island, New Brunswick, St. John’s Island (now Prince Edward Island) becomes a part of Nova Scotia from the French
  1769 – Prince Edward Island established as independent colony
  1784 – Cape Breton Island, New Brunswick became independent colonies
  1820 – Cape Breton Island rejoined Nova Scotia
  1849 – Nova Scotia becomes the first colony in British North America to become self-governing within the British Empire
  1867 – Nova Scotia joins New Brunswick and Canada Province to form the Dominion of Canada
Following Regime: Dominion of Canada (British Colony)
Scott Catalogue: (Nova Scotia) #1-28
Pick Catalogue: none


Group on front of HMS Nile, Nimble and Desperate, Halafax NS, 1860
When the first Europeans arrived, Nova Scotia was generally populated by two major tribes of indigenous peoples, the Abenaki and the Mi’kmaq. Scandinavian Vikings may have been the first Europeans to explore Nova Scotia, but the first recorded exploration was made in 1497 by English explorer John Cabot. After a short lived settlement in 1604, the French established the first permanent colony in 1610, the first successful settlement of Europeans in what is now Canada. In 1621 King James I of England changed the area’s name from Acadia to Nova Scotia. Eight years later groups of Scots settled at Charlesfort, near Port Royal, and on Cape Breton Island. Throughout the 17th century the English and French battled over control of Nova Scotia. Ultimately, the French gave control of Nova Scotia to the British in the treaty of Utrecht in 1713, although the French retained Cape Breton Island and Prince Edward Island.

Over the next 50 years, the French and British continued to battle over the region in the King George’s War in 1744 and the French and Indian War (1754-1763). In 1784, New Brunswick (due to intense lobbying from the Loyalists) and Cape Breton Island became independent colonies of the British Empire. Cape Breton Island rejoined Nova Scotia in 1820.

As a result of the American Revolution (1775-1783), about 30,000 British Loyalists migrated to southwestern Nova Scotia (New Brunswick). In 1784, New Brunswick, along with Cape Breton Island became independent colonies of the British Empire. Cape Breton Island rejoined Nova Scotia in 1820.
The movement to unify Canada begn taking shape in the early 1860s, and on July 1st, 1867, Nova Scotia joined New Brunswick and Canada Province to form the Dominion of Canada


The first adhesive postage stamps of Nova Scotia were issued on Sept 1st, 1851. The stamps were diamond shaped and depicted the Crown of Great Britain, surrounded by Heraldic Flowers of the Empire. The design was very similar to the stamps issued by the neighboring colony, New Brunswick. The issues consisted of three denominations: 3p blue, 6p yellow green and 1sh dull violet. In 1853, a 1p stamp was issued featuring the portrait of Queen Victoria, on a similar design, but square. In 1857, the three diamond stamps were reissued, but in distinctly different shades of the same color. Beginning in 1854, bisecting Nova Scotia stamps were allowed, especially to accommodate a new 7-1/2 pence rate to England.

On Jan 1st, 1860 Nova Scotia switched to a decimal currency, using dollars and cents and in Oct, 1860, stamps were issued in Nova Scotia to accommodate the new currency. Five different denominations, 1c, 5c, 8-1/2c, 10c and 12-1/2c were printed on two different portrait designs of Queen Victoria, one profile and one full face. In May, 1863, an additional 2c value was printed to accommodate a new local postal rate. Minor varieties exist, and the most common to collect are stamps on white paper, and toned paper. Horizontal pairs, not perforated between are also known.
The stampf of Nova Scotia were gradually replaced by the stamps of Canada after Nova Scotia became part of the Confederation on July 1, 1867. With the exception of the 5c denomination, remainders of unused Nova Scotia stamps were sold by the government to collectors, in February of 1895. One fun fact: the 1863 Kingdom of Hawaii 2c stamp featuring King Kamehameha IV, was designed after the 10c, 1860 Nova Scotia stamp.


In 1812, the Provincial Government introduced Treasury notes in denominations of 1, 2½, 5 and 50 pounds. Between 1813 and 1830, notes for 1, 2 and 5 pounds were issued. 5 and 10 shilling notes were added in 1830. Along with the Treasury notes, two chartered banks issued paper money in Nova Scotia, the Bank of Nova Scotia, and the Halifax Banking Company. The Halifax Banking Company issued notes from 1825, in denominations of 1½, 5, 6, 6½ and 7 pounds, whilst the Bank of Nova Scotia began issuing notes in 1834, with denominations of 1½, 2, 2½, 5, ¼, 6, 7, 7½ and 10 pounds.

Between 1861 and 1866, the Provincial Government introduced Treasury notes for 5 dollars. In addition, three chartered banks issued paper money in Nova Scotia, the Bank of Nova Scotia, the Halifax Banking Company and the Merchants Bank of Halifax. The private banks all issued notes in a single denomination, 20 dollars. They later issued notes in Canadian dollars. The Province of Canada issued notes dated 1866 overprinted with “Payable in Halifax / only”. These were for circulation in Nova Scotia as local currency.


History of Nova Scotia from Wikipedia
Nova Scotia from Stamp Collecting World
History of the Atlantic Colonies
Nova Scotia Stamp Club
Canadian Chartered Banks at Wikipedia

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2 Responses to Nova Scotia (1713 – 1867)

  1. Jim Jackson says:


    Great write-up on Nova Scotia.

    And your virtual albums are a real treat. I must say, the album looks real to me. 😉

    I might cover more countries; but for the Dead Ones, you are the Gold standard!


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