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Making the Loyalists

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Looking at the Making of the Loyalists

The UE Loyalists, or in a broader context the Loyalists of the American Revolution, were those who were Loyal to the King, those who fought against the rebels who sought to break away. This section looks at who the loyalists were, and how events during the war would mould the way people acted and the decisions they made. In the to and fro of a war, especially a nasty civil war, the major battles often shaped the events which followed.


Articles and Publications

Ann Mackenzie M.A. has written A Short History of the United Empire Loyalists in five pages. (French translation here).

In 2011, Todd Braisted, HVP UELAC, presented a paper looking at new information which suggests that people's loyalties (pardon the pun) changed more frequently than previously thought: The American Vicars of Bray: Exploring New Areas of Research for Loyalist Studies is available as an 8-page PDF.

Following a 2010 lecture given before the Wintonbury Historical Society in Bloomfield, Connecticut, Nova Scotia lawyer Lorne E. Rozovsky, QC presented an expanded version in 2011 before the Adult Learning Program of the University of Connecticut. Tories in the Revolution describes what had happened to the Loyalists in the United States during and after the Revolution, their reception in Canada, and the effect that the Loyalists had on the political development of the Canadian colonies and how it differed from that of the United States. While the Loyalist period has long since gone, and their descendants make up a very small proportion of the Canadian public, their thinking and their approach to political change continues to affect the thinking and political life of all Canadians.


On November 10, 1983, CBC Radio aired the first of two programmes in the “Ideas” series to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the landing of the Loyalists. Ideas on the Loyalists was a look at our history with dramatizations and viewpoints of contemporary authors and historians.

Important Dates In Loyalist History

  • December 31, 1775: Defeat of the Americans and death of General Montgomery at the walls of Quebec.
  • May 19, 1776: Nineteen day flight of Sir John Johnson and tenants through the Adirondacks to Montreal.
  • June 19, 1776: Formation of Sir John Johnson's 1st Kings Royal Regiment of New York.
  • November 4, 1776: Loyalist groups join the British fleet at Crown Point.
  • August 6, 1777: Battle of Oriskany on the Mohawk River.
  • August 16, 1777: Battle of Bennington.
  • September 15, 1777: Formation of Butler's Rangers.
  • September 19, 1777: First Battle of Freeman's Farm near Saratoga
  • October 16, 1777: Capitulation of General Burgoyne at Saratoga.
  • July 19, 1780: Defence of the Blockhouse in Bergen Wood, New Jersey.
  • May 4, 1783 :First Loyalist Landing at Port Roseway (Shelburne), Nova Scotia
  • May 18, 1783: Landing of the Loyalists with the Spring Fleet in St. John, New Brunswick.
  • July 30, 1783: Landing of the 2nd Battalion, Kings Royal Regiment of New York at Cataraqui to rebuild Fort Frontenac and prepare for the arrival of Loyalists.
  • September 20, 1783: Cessation of hostilities in the American Revolution.
  • December 24, 1783: Disbandment of Loyalist troops stationed in Lower Canada.
  • May 22, 1784: Landing of Mohawks at Tyendinaga, the First Loyalists on the Bay of Quinte. Commemmorated annually on the Sunday nearest May 22 with a church service at the altar of the up-turned canoe.
  • June 16, 1784: Landing of the Peter VanAlstine's band of Loyalists in Adolphustown.
  • June 24, 1784: Disbandment of Loyalist Troops stationed at the Upper Posts.