Nova Scotia, or "New Scotland," is a province in Canada. It's one of 3 Maritime provinces and one of 4 Atlantic Canada provinces located nearly halfway between the North Pole and the Equator. Nova Scotia is the second-smallest province in the country with a total area of 21,300 square miles (55,284 square kilometers), which includes Cape Breton Island and almost 3,800 small coastal islands.
Nova Scotia has an estimated population of 940,600, up from 921,700 in 2011. This makes Nova Scotia the 2nd most densely populated province in the country with a population density of 45 people per square mile, or 17 per square kilometer. Nova Scotia is the second-smallest province in Canada in terms of area behind Prince Edward Island.
The mainland of the province is the Nova Scotia peninsula, which is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean with many bays. Cape Breton Island to the northeast is also part of Nova Scotia, as well as Sable Island.
Cities in Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia does not actually have any cities but rather regional incorporated municipalities. There are three former cities in Nova Scotia: Halifax, Dartmouth and Sydney. The capital of Nova Scotia is now the Halifax Regional Municipality since the 1990s.
The capital city of Nova Scotia is Halifax, which has a metropolitan population estimated at 415,000 in 2014. This makes Halifax the largest population center in Atlantic Canada and the largest city in Canada east of Quebec City. Halifax is the 14th largest city in Canada.
Dartmouth was the second-largest city in the province prior to becoming part of the Halifax Regional Municipality, followed by Sydney, which was the smallest city in the province and the largest settlement on Cape Breton Island.
Sable Island, 109 miles from mainland Nova Scotia, has 5 year-round residents, although its population swells in the summer. Cape Breton Island has a population of around 137,000 with five main groups: Scottish, Irish, English, Acadian and Mi'kmaq. The island's population has been declining for two decades.
Nova Scotia Demographics
The largest ethnic group in Nova Scotia is Scottish at 28.3%, followed by English (28.1%), Irish (19.9%), French (17.7%), Aboriginal (10.2%), German (10%), Dutch (3.9%), Black (2.3%), Italian (1.3%) and Acadian (1.2%). Just over 47% of the population identifies their ethnicity has Canadian.
Nova Scotia History
Nova Scotia includes areas of the Mi'kmaq nation and it was home to the Mi'kmaq when European colonists arrived in the early 17th century. The first permanent European settlement in Canada was established by the French in 1605, which is now known as Acadia.
After the French arrived in Nova Scotia, the Catholic Mi'kmaq and Acadians remained the predominant groups for the next 150 years. During the first half of this time, there were 9 large battles as the English and Scottish and Dutch and French fought for control of the colony. There were six wars before the French were defeated.
The British Conquest of Acadia occurred in 1710, which was officially recognized three years later. In the Treaty of Utrecht, Cape Breton Island was returned to the French while present-day New Brunswick remained part of the French colony Acadia. In 1755, most of the French population, or the Acadians, were expelled, being replaced by New England Planters. Seventy-five years of war ended with the Burial of the Hatchet Ceremony between the Mi'kmaq and British in 1761 and some Acadians were allowed to return. The British also made treaties with the Mi'kmaq. Most of Acadia, including Cape Breton Island, New Brunswick and St. John's Island (now Prince Edward Island) became part of Nova Scotia in 1763. New Brunswick was established as its own province in 1784.
During the 19th century, Nova Scotia was the first colony in British North America and in the entire British Empire to achieve responsible government and become self-governing. During the American Civil War, thousands of Nova Scotians fought, mostly for the North, while the British Empire (including Nova Scotia) was declared neutral in the struggle, allowing them to continue trading with the North and South.
Nova Scotia Facts
- There is no location in Nova Scotia more than 42 miles from the ocean.
- Nova Scotia's Sable Island is notorious for shipwrecks, with over 350 recorded. In the 19th century, it was home to many lighthouse keepers, life-saving crews and their families for generations until a decline in shipwrecks reduced the size of the community. Since 1920, only 2 people have been born on the island.
- Nova Scotia is the site of the first permanent European settlement in Canada and the first north of Florida.
- Nova Scotia means "New Scotland" in Latin.
- Nova Scotia has the oldest African-Canadian community in Canada.
- The Vikings first visited Nova Scotia around 990.
- Nova Scotia is almost completely surrounded by water and known as Canada's Ocean Playground.
- Nova Scotians have been referred to as Bluenosers since the 18th century, a reference to dye on their noses. In the past, many people in Nova Scotia planted and exported Irish Bluenose Potatoes. Blue marks on the noses of fisherman from blue mitts gave rise to the nickname.