Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia, one of the three Maritime and one of the four Atlantic
provinces of Canada, bordered on the north by the Bay of Fundy, the province of
New Brunswick, Northumberland Strait, and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and on the
east, south, and west by the Atlantic Ocean. Nova Scotia consists primarily of a
mainland section, linked to New Brunswick by the Isthmus of Chignecto, and Cape
Breton Island, separated from the mainland by the Strait of Canso. On July 1,
1867, Nova Scotia became one of the founding members of the Canadian
Confederation. The province\'s name, which is Latin for New Scotland, was first
applied to the region in the 1620s by settlers from Scotland.

Physical Geography

Nova Scotia can be divided into four major geographical regions-the
Atlantic Uplands, the Nova Scotia Highlands, the Annapolis Lowland, and the
Maritime Plain. The Atlantic Uplands, which occupy most of the southern part of
the province, are made up of ancient resistant rocks largely overlain by rocky
glacial deposits. The Nova Scotia Highlands are composed of three separate areas
of uplands. The western section includes North Mountain, a long ridge of
traprock along the Bay of Fundy; the central section takes in the Cobequid
Mountains, which rise to 367 m (1204 ft) atop Nuttby Mountain; and the eastern
section contains the Cape Breton Highlands, with the province\'s highest point.
The Annapolis Lowland, in the west, is a small area with considerable fertile
soil. Nova Scotia\'s fourth region, the Maritime Plain, occupies a small region
fronting on Northumberland Strait. The plain is characterized by a low,
undulating landscape and substantial areas of fertile soil.


The area now known as Nova Scotia was originally inhabited by tribes of
Abenaki and Micmac peoples. The Venetian explorer John Cabot, sailing under the
English flag, may have reached Cape Breton Island in 1497.

Colonial Period

The first settlers of the area were the French, who called it Acadia and
founded Port Royal in 1605. Acadia included present-day New Brunswick, Nova
Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. The English, rivals of the French in Europe
and the New World, refused to recognize French claims to Acadia, which they
called Nova Scotia (New Scotland) and granted to the Scottish poet and courtier
Sir William Alexander in 1621. This act initiated nearly a century of Anglo-
French conflict, resolved by the British capture of Port Royal (now Annapolis
Royal) in 1710 and the French cession of mainland Acadia to the British by the
Peace of Utrecht in 1713. Thus, the bulk of the Roman Catholic French-Acadians
came under Protestant British rule. In order to awe their new subjects, the
British founded the town of Halifax as naval base and capital in 1749.
Distrusting the Acadians\' loyalty in the French and Indian War, however, in 1755
the British deported them. This ruthless action was described by the American
poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in Evangeline (1847). The British replaced the
Acadians with settlers from New England and, later, from Scotland and northern
England. In 1758 the British conquered the French fortress of Louisbourg on Cape
Breton, which was joined to Nova Scotia and ceded to them in 1763.
During the American Revolution, the British colony of Nova Scotia was a
refuge for thousands of Americans loyal to Britain, including many blacks. In
1784 the colony of New Brunswick was carved out of mainland Nova Scotia to
accommodate these United Empire Loyalists. Cape Breton also became separate. The
remaining Nova Scotians, augmented by some returned Acadians and many Scots and
Irish immigrants, lived by fishing, lumbering, shipbuilding, and trade. Some
attained great wealth as privateers during the Napoleonic Wars and the War of
After prolonged political struggle, Britain granted Nova Scotia (which
included Cape Breton after 1820) local autonomy, or responsible government, in
1848. Economic uncertainty and political unease at the time of the American
Civil War stimulated some interest in associating with the other British North
American provinces, but many tradition-minded Nova Scotians distrusted the
Canadians of Ontario and Qúebec. In 1867, without consulting the electorate, the
Nova Scotia government took its reluctant people into the Canadian Confederation.

Post-Confederation Period

Although joining the union failed to arrest Nova Scotia\'s economic
decline, it resulted in rail connections to the west and a federal tariff that
encouraged local manufacturing. An iron and steel industry developed in Pictou
County and on Cape Breton, near extensive coal mines. Agricultural areas found
export markets, especially for apples. From the end of World War I through the
depression of the 1930s, Nova Scotia suffered industrial decline and
accompanying unemployment and labor unrest. Thousands migrated to central and
western Canada or immigrated to the United States. The