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New Brunswick

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New Brunswick History

When Samuel de Champlain and other European explorers began to explore the area that became New Brunswick in the early 1600s, they were met by the Maliseet (Wolastoqiyik) and Mi'kmaq peoples. The Mi'kmaq territories were mostly in the east of the province. The Maliseets were situated along the Wolastoq (St.John River) and the Passamaquoddy nation in the southwest, around Passamaquoddy Bay. Over the next 150 years, other French settlements and  seigneuries were founded along the St. John River, the upper Bay of Fundy region and in the Tantramar Marshes at Beaubassin, and finally at St. Pierre (the site of present day Bathurst). The whole Maritime region (as well as parts of Maine) was at that time proclaimed to be part of the French colony Acadia.

The area was the subject of numerous conflicts between the French and British empires during the later 1600s and early 1700s. The region was ceded to Great Britain in 1710 when the Treaty of Utrecht was signed. Following the final defeat of the French in 1755, more than 5,000 Acadians were forced into exile from their lands by the British. Some of them escaped to what was then a remote and relatively uninhabited coastline along the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Baie des Chaleurs, where these Acadian settlements grew and thrived. Today, this region is known as the Acadian Peninsula.

In 1783, refugees loyal to the British Crown began to land at the mouth of the St. John River in what was then part of the Province of Nova Scotia. They were fleeing from persecution in the aftermath of the American Revolution and came from as far south as Georgia and as far north as Massachusetts. These refugees were not all of British origin, but included German, Dutch and Black Loyalists. The Black Loyalists included a number of freed slaves, but there were a small number of loyalists who brought their slaves with them to New Brunswick.

Discontentment with the government in Halifax led to the establishment of the areas north of the Bay of Fundy as the new Province of New Brunswick in 1784. By 1785, so many refugees had landed and settled at the mouth of the St. John River that the King granted a charter to the new City of Saint John, the first incorporated city in Canada. The capital was established at Fredericton, 114 km up the St. John River.

In the early 1800s Scottish, Irish, and settlers from the west country of England began to settle in New Brunswick. A large number of Irish settlers arrived in New Brunswick after 1845 from Ireland as a result of the Potato Famine. Many of these people settled in Saint John or Chatham. A significant number of Jewish immigrants came through the Port of Saint John from the 1890s to the beginning of the First World War. A number of these immigrants remained to form Jewish communities in Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton. There have also been other groups such as the Italian, Greek, Chinese, Indian, and African communities have been established over the past century in the major cities in the province and today boast a varied and increasingly multicultural population.

Throughout the 19th century, shipbuilding, both on the Bay of Fundy shore and also on the Miramichi, was the dominant industry in New Brunswick. The Marco Polo, the fastest clipper ship ever built, was launched from Saint John in 1851. Resource-based industries such as logging and farming were also important components of the New Brunswick economy.

New Brunswick
was one of the four original provinces of Canada that entered into the Canadian Confederation in 1867. The Charlottetown Conference of 1864 was originally intended only to discuss a Maritime Union, but concerns over the American Civil War as well as Fenian activity along the border led to an interest in expanding the scope of the union. Thus, New Brunswick became one of the first provinces, along with Nova Scotia, and the Province of Canada (formerly Upper and Lower Canada, later Ontario and Qu├ębec to join together to form the Dominion of Canada in 1867.

Since forming the Dominion of Canada, New Brunswick has had an up and down time. They had massive fire that destroyed most of the ship building industry, which made a lot of people move to other parts of Canada or the U.S. to look for work. Since then with the multicultural community they have it is one of the healthiest economies in Eastern Canada.



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