NEW BRUNSWICK, the Loyalist Province

Overview and history

New Brunswick : points of interest
other provinces

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NEW BRUNSWICK is also called the Loyalist Province, because many supporters of the British Empire settled there during and after the American Revolution. It is the largest of the three maritime Canadian provinces, next to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The French called this region Acadia. The capital is Fredericton, and the largest city is Saint John.

In 1867, New Brunswick joined the Dominion of Canada, along with Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec. The surface is approximately 73,000 km2. With its rolling forested hills and many rivers, New Brunswick has all the rugged charm of New England. The surface is forested for 83 percent, and it teems with wildlife, such as moose, black bears and deer.

New Brunswick leads Canada in the mining of lead and zinc, and it also has valuable antimony, silver and iron ore mines. Tourism develops slowly, because of a less than perfect road infrastructure. The population counts some 730,000 inhabitants, with a density of 10 per km2, half of which live in the cities.

The 257-kilometer-long Bay of Fundyis rather narrow against the ocean, which creates extraordinary tidal effects. On the St. John River you'll find the famous Reversing Falls, where the incoming seawater simply reverses some small waterfalls, and continues to flow upstream. Near Moncton, the high tides create a Tidal Bore. The sea water runs upstream with such speed and strength, that actually a wall of water walks on the river !

map of New Brunswick

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*** Read more about Prehistoric American-Indian cultures ***

The first residents of New Brunswick were the Mi'kmaq and the Maliseet of the Algonquin, who developed good trade relations with the French. Probably, the explorers John Cabot in 1497, and Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524, already sailed along the coasts of New Brunswick.

In 1534, the French explorer Jacques Cartier explored the Chaleur Bay. And in 1604, Pierre du Gua, Sieur de Monts, and Samuel de Champlain explored the Saint John River, before they sailed to Dochet Island (now St Croix Island, Maine).

However, the French Charles de La Tour only established the first settlement in 1631. In 1654 it was conquered by Massachusetts. Over the next fifty years, control over the Bay of Fundy constantly switched between France and Great Britain. In 1710, almost all of Nova Scotia went to the British, but New Brunswick remained undecided.

In 1750, the French built two forts, Beausejour and Gaspereau, that were conquered by the British in 1755. Almost instantly, all French citizens were deported. In 1763, the French and Indian War ended with a Royal Proclamation, whereby New Brunswick was governed from Halifax in Nova Scotia. The main reasons for the colonization and the wars were the (very lucrative) fur trade, the vast forests, and the abundant fishing grounds. By 1760, the English controlled the whole of La Nouvelle France.

During the American Revolution (1775-1783), the inhabitants remained relatively neutral. Great Britain quickly saw the enormous strategic value of the almost unlimited supply of wood for its fleet, and St John became a center of shipbuilding. In 1783, after the revolution, an immense immigration of the loyalistscame about, who gradually asked for their own government. In 1784, the New Brunswick territory became independent. However, the British royal family had other fish to fry in Europe, and it completely stopped any help to its colony, which slowly languished.

In 1805, the British fleet created the basis for its mighty navy in the Battle of Trafalgar. As a result, the international trade started up again. During the European wars there was great demand for ships, timber, fish and agricultural products, and New Brunswick blossomed. This development was even more facilitated by the war of 1812, between Great Britain and the USA. The local economy continued to develop, until after the American Civil War (1861-1865), when iron ships replaced wooden ships.

In 1867, New Brunswick joined the Canadian Confederation, and it became one of the four original provinces of the Dominion of Canada, along with Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.

In 1876, a railroad connected New Brunswick with Quebec and Halifax, and in 1890 with Montreal and Boston, Massachusetts. However, the small local industries could not compete with the more efficient manufacturing in the other Canadian provinces, and they disappeared one by one. World War I caused a small recovery, but the depression of 1930 almost completely extinguished the candle.

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