Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Old Town Lunenburg

Lunenburg, established in 1753, was a planned British colonial settlement which has retained much of its original appearance.  The town, situated on the south shore of Nova Scotia, was settled by Protestants in an attempt to offset the large number of Acadian Catholics and Mikmaqs in the area.  The town has a seemingly German name as it was named after Britain's King, George August of Hanover, also the Duke of Braunschweig-Luneberg.

It is surprising that the town, filled with a mix of multi-coloured buildings, remains as beautiful as it does for Lunenburg has endured many attacks.  In the 1750's, the Acadian and Mikmaq militias attacked the town in a series of raids.  British officer John Knox wrote:  "In the year 1757, we were said to be masters of the province of Nova Scotia or Acadia, which, however, was only an imaginary possession..."

In 1775, during the American Revolution, the Yankees raided Lunenberg.  Again, in 1782, they attacked the town.  On both occasions, the town was devastated.

During the War of 1812, private citizens of Lunenburg were called on to build or purchase privateer ships to attack American vessels.  "After a long battle in Mahone Bay, the Lunenberg militia was sent to take prisoners from the American privateer, Young Teazer."

A relative peace came to the area by the early to mid-1800's and its residents could focus on making a living. Lunenburg became known for its agricultural industry as farmers took advantage of the fertile soil on the rolling drumlins of Nova Scotia.  In the 19th Century Lunenburg became a major fishing centre, drawing on the schools of fish on the offshore banks.  Lunenburg shipping yards specialized in building wooden fishing schooners which remained competitive until the 1920's.  The most famous of these, the Bluenose, which won the International Fisherman's Trophy, is immortalized on our Canadian dime.

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995, the town was also featured on a Canadian stamp in 2014.

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