Early in 1748
The British Government having decided upon the necessity of a fortified and
permanent establishment on the Atlantic coast of Acadia determined on Chebucto
which was the name given to the site on which the City of Halifax now stands by
the Indians, one of the principal reasons of this decision being on account of the
magnificent harbour and contour of land giving splendid opportunity for fortifying
Early in 1749
Some 1200 men with families who had volunteered for settlement left England,
each supplied with a liberal grant from the British Treasury, and in May of that
year, a fleet of 13 transports and a sloop-of-war, "The Sphinx," set sail from
England under command of Colonel Honourable Edward Cornwallis, and on June
21st the fleet entered what was then known as Chebucto Bay, later changed to
Halifax Harbour in honour of Lord Halifax, President of the Board of Trade and
Plantations who had played a principal part in the establishment. Work was begun
immediately under the direction of the Military in laying out streets, erecting
dwellings and shops and constructing a strong palisade of pickets for the purpose
of combating the hostile Indians.
The first fire fighting organization was formed and known as the "Union Fire Club."
Following the outbreak of the "Seven Years War" Halifax soon became a
naval and military depot for the British in British North America. Fortifications
were built and large amounts of Imperial money spent on what was then
considered the most up-to-date means of defence, but to-day looked upon as
only history. Halifax also became the headquarters of the British Navy of the
The Dockyard was first established and is still a point of historic interest. One
of the great attractions of the City is a visit to the several forts wherein some
relics of former times may be examined - the view from the fort on Citadel Hill
is very fine and hundreds of visitors are shown through it each year.
The national war having been proclaimed in November of that year brought about
great activity in the City - new fortifications and batteries were erected and large
bodies of militia were ordered on garrison duty and for several years the City was
The first Grammar School was opened.
The Ordnance Wharf at the extreme north of Hollis Street is shown in a nautical
chart as having a 5 gun battery - there was also a battery of 6 guns at what was
then known as Commissioners Point, directly to the south of the Dockyard.
The first Roman Catholic Church was built.
When war with France was declared, Halifax was in a turmoil with ships of war,
troops and military activity, and an expedition from Halifax attacked the Island of
St. Pierre, a French settlement, and many prisoners were brought to this City.
Prince Edward, afterwards the Duke of Kent and father of Queen Victoria, arrived
at Halifax and took command of the Garrison.