What is now the District of Guysborough has a long, proud history.
Since before the first Europeans arrived on its shores, the people of the area recognized it was something special. The First Nations – the Mi’kmaw - people called the region Chedabouctou, the name that lives on in the beautiful bay that borders much of the eastern side of the District. Many of the place names in Guysborough County are original Mi’kmaw while others originated with the early French, English and Black Loyalist settlers.
Like much of eastern Canada, the District passed through French and English hands until English dominance was established in the 18th Century. The District is fortunate to have retained a significant Acadian population and the rich heritage that comes along with that.
The largest single group of settlers came as Loyalists at the end of the American Revolution. That’s when Guysborough got its name, in honour of Sir Guy Carleton, commander-in-chief of the British forces in America and the governor general of Canada during the 1780's.
Black Loyalists arrived at this time, but promises of prime and seaside land were not kept. Yet, the people persevered, and the first North American settlements by Free Blacks were established. Despite the unfair distribution of land, tools, and other supplies, the Black communities grew from around 200 people in 1786 to over 900 in 1872. The ancestors of these courageous and resilient people are still courageous and resilient, and still here.
The District grew and thrived as a shipping, shipbuilding and mercantile centre, a source of magnificent lumber and a seemingly endless supply of fish. Gold was discovered in the rocky hills and streams, and commercial mining was carried out throughout the late nineteenth and into the 20th centuries.
Through the years, the District grew, modernized, thrived in the good time and survived the bad.