Nova Scotia

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 1812.
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