Many of the early Scottish settlers who came to the New World were from the Western Highlands and Islands of Scotland. They began coming as early as the 1620s. The earliest Scottish settlers came to the New World after conflicts with England made it difficult to practice their religion, wear their traditional clothing or speak their language. Later settlers were mostly farmers who were being pushed off their lands by landowners who wanted to use the land for raising sheep. Land prices in Scotland increased during the early 1800s and some families could no longer afford land to farm. Scottish immigrants came to the "new" continent in order to improve their lives and be free to practise their language, culture and traditions.
The early Scots settled in what would become Pictou, Nova Scotia, as well as in what is now eastern Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, parts of New Brunswick, and Ontario. As news travelled back to Scotland to friends and relatives, more and more Scots came to seek a better life. Today, people of Scottish descent live in every province in Canada.