kids encyclopedia robot

Black Loyalist facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Black Loyalist
Ethiopian Regiment Liberty To Slaves Smock.jpg
Smock similar to those worn by Black Loyalist soldiers in Lord Dunmore's Ethiopian Regiment
Active 1775–1784
Country  Great Britain
Allegiance  Great Britain
Branch British provincial units, Loyalist militias, associators
Type infantry, dragoons (mounted infantry), irregular, labor duty
Size companies-regiments
Engagements American Revolutionary War
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Both white British military officers and Black Loyalist officers

African American Loyalists or Black Loyalists is the name given to formerly enslaved African Americans or to free people of colour of the North American continent who remained loyal to Britain during the American Revolutionary War. It should be noted that some of the Black Loyalists remained loyal to the British in return for freedom from enslavement, other Black Loyalists who were enslaved to White Loyalists were forced to be loyal to the British during the Revolutionary War.

In November 1775, Virginia's royal governor Lord Dunmore issued a controversial proclamation, to be known later as Lord Dunmore's Proclamation. Faced with rebellion and very short of troops, Dunmore called on all able bodied men to assist him in the defense of the colony, including the enslaved Africans belonging to rebels. Slave recruits were promised their freedom in exchange for service in the British Army. Some Loyalist slave owners feared a mass slave rebellion; others thought Dunmore had gone too far. Nevertheless, within a month about 800 African Americans had run away to Norfolk, Virginia to enlist. Dunmore organised them into the Ethiopian Regiment. The unit would see little action and was later disbanded, but other Black Loyalist units would follow in its footsteps.

Dunmore's Proclamation was the first mass emancipation of enslaved people in American history.

Other British commanders, including Guy Carleton and Lord Cornwallis, issued similar proclamations.

After the war ended with American independence, the British relocated many of the Black Loyalists to Nova Scotia. They also constituted a significant element within the Black population of London, and sympathy for former African soldiers who had fought for the British stimulated support for the Committee for the Relief of the Black Poor. This organisation backed the settlement of the Black Poor from London to Sierra Leone in West Africa. Some of the Black Loyalists from Nova Scotia would later make their way there themselves. Their descendants are today known as the Sierra Leone Creole people.

kids search engine
Black Loyalist Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.