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Essay/Term paper: Nova scotia

Essay, term paper, research paper:  World History

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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.

History

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 or immigrated to the United States. The Maritime Rights movement
of the 1920s, protesting Nova Scotia's unfavorable economic position in relation
to the rest of Canada, accomplished little.
After a revival of shipbuilding in World War II, Nova Scotian industry
faced problems of obsolete equipment, heavy freight costs, and dwindling
resources. Local government attempts to reverse the trend through investment and
diversification were disappointing. In 1956 the electorate ended 26 years of
Liberal rule by returning the Conservatives to power. Although the government
subsidized industrial development to rejuvenate the local economy, the
initiatives were unsuccessful, and failures in the electronics and nuclear
energy industries proved to be very expensive. In 1967 the government took over
a failing steel plant in Sydney, which added steadily to the provincial debt.
Later governments-first Liberal (from 1970-1978) and then Conservative (since
1978)-have been unable to bring the local economy up to parity with the rest of
Canada. Despite a rate of economic growth that exceeded the national average
from the mid-1980s through the early 1990s, Nova Scotia, like other Maritime
provinces, remains one of the less advantaged areas in the Canadian union.

Historical Sites

Nova Scotia has preserved or reconstructed a number of historical sites.
These include Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Park, in Baddeck, with
exhibits relating to Bell's inventions while he lived here; Fort Anne National
Historic Site, in Annapolis Royal, including the remains of a French fort built
from 1695 to 1708; Fort Edward National Historic Site, in Windsor, containing
the remains of a mid-18th-century earthen fortification; and Fortress of
Louisbourg National Historic Site, near Louisbourg, including a partial
reconstruction of a large French fort (built 1720-45; destroyed by the English,
1760). Grand Pré National Historic Site, near Grand Pré, encompasses the site of
a former Acadian village; York Redoubt National Historic Site includes a defense
battery (begun 1790s) guarding Halifax Harbour; and Halifax Citadel National
Historic Site, in Halifax, contains a massive 19th-century stone fortress. Also
of interest is Sherbrooke Village Restoration, in the Sherbrooke area, a
restoration of a lumbering and mining community of the 1860s.


Provincial Government Government and Politics

Nova Scotia has a parliamentary form of government.

Executive

The nominal chief executive of Nova Scotia is a lieutenant governor
appointed by the Canadian governor-general in council to a term of five years.
The lieutenant governor, representing the British sovereign, holds a position
that is largely honorary. The premier, who is responsible to the provincial
legislature, is the actual head of government and presides over the executive
council, or cabinet, which also includes the attorney general, minister of
finance, minister of education, and about 15 other officials.

Legislature

The unicameral Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly is made up of 52 members,
each popularly elected to a term of up to five years. The lieutenant governor,
on the advice of the premier, may call for an election before the 5-year term
has been completed.

Judiciary

Nova Scotia's highest tribunal, the supreme court, is composed of an
appeal division with eight justices (including the chief justice) and a trial
division with 15 justices. Supreme court justices are appointed by the Canadian
governor-general in council and serve until the age of 75.

Local Government

Nova Scotia is divided into 18 counties. Other units of local government
include 3 incorporated cities and 39 incorporated towns, most of which are
governed by a mayor and council.

National Representation

Nova Scotia is represented in the Canadian Parliament by 10 senators
appointed by the Canadian governor-general in council and by 11 members of the
House of Commons popularly elected to terms of up to five years.

Politics

Since Nova Scotia became a province in 1867, the Liberal party has been
most successful in obtaining control of the provincial government. From 1956 to
1970, however, the Progressive Conservative party held a majority in the
Legislative Assembly, and it regained this position in 1978.

Industries Economy

In the 19th century Nova Scotia was known for trading, shipbuilding, and
fishing. During the 20th century the province's economy was expanded and
diversified, in part through the establishment of war-related industries in the
two world wars. In the early 1990s services constituted the leading economic
activity; manufacturing, fishing, mining, and farming were also important.

Agriculture

About 8 percent of Nova Scotia's land area is devoted to crops and
pasture, with some of the best farmland located on the Isthmus of Chignecto
(connecting the province with New Brunswick) and the Annapolis Lowland. The
province has about 4000 farms, which have an average size of some 100 hectares
(247 acres). Annual cash receipts from sale of crops and of livestock and
livestock products totaled nearly Can.$300 million in the early 1990s, with
livestock and livestock products accounting for about three-fourths of the
income. The leading farm commodities are dairy products, poultry, hogs, beef
cattle, eggs, fruit (especially apples grown in the Annapolis Lowland),
greenhouse products, potatoes and other vegetables, and wheat.

Forestry

Nova Scotia has a substantial forestry industry, with about 4.2 million
cu m (about 148 million cu ft) of wood harvested per year. Most of the wood is
used for making paper, and the rest is chiefly sawed into lumber. In addition,
many trees are cut for use as Christmas trees.

Fishing

Nova Scotia and British Columbia have the largest fishing industries in
Canada. In Nova Scotia the yearly fish catch in the early 1990s exceeded
Can.$500 million, with most of the income derived from sales of shellfish,
especially scallop and lobster. Next in value was cod; herring, shrimp, haddock,
pollock, hake, flounder, crab, and redfish also were important. Leading fishing
ports include Digby, Liverpool, Lunenburg, Shelburne, and Yarmouth.

Mining

Coal, the most important material mined in Nova Scotia, had a total
yearly value in the early 1990s of Can.$238 million, some 12 percent of the
Canadian total. The main coal mines are on Cape Breton Island. Approximately
three-fourths of the gypsum mined annually in Canada is produced in the province.
Other important mineral products of Nova Scotia include tin, stone, salt, sand
and gravel, clay, peat, lead, zinc, and barite.

Manufacturing

A leading sector of Nova Scotia's economy, manufacturing employs about
49,000 persons. The annual value of shipments by manufacturing establishments in
the province is some Can.$5.3 billion. Principal manufactures include processed
food (notably fish products), paper and paper items, transportation equipment
(especially ships, aerospace supplies, and motor vehicles), printed materials,
wood products, iron and steel, nonmetallic minerals, and chemical products.
Halifax and the Sydney area are important manufacturing centers.

Climate

The sea moderates the climate of Nova Scotia, which has mild winters
compared to the interior of Canada and slightly cooler summers than many other
areas in the southern part of the nation. Halifax, which is fairly typical of
the province, has a mean January temperature of -3.2° C (26.2° F) and a mean
July temperature of 18.3° C (65° F) and annually receives some 1320 mm (some 52
in) of precipitation, including about 210 mm (about 8.3 in) of snow. The
recorded temperature of Nova Scotia has ranged from - 41.1° C (-42° F), in 1920
at Upper Stewiacke, to 38.3° C (100.9° F), in 1935 at Collegeville, near
Sherbrooke. Fog is common along the southern coast of the province in spring and
early summer.

Population

According to the 1991 census, Nova Scotia had 899,942 inhabitants, an
increase of 3.1% over 1986. In 1991 the overall population density was about 16
persons per sq km (42 per sq mi). English was the lone mother tongue of some 93%
of the people; about 4 percent had French as their sole first language. More
than 13,000 Native Americans lived in Nova Scotia. The churches with the largest
membership in the province were the Roman Catholic church, the United Church of
Canada, and the Anglican Church of Canada. About 54 percent of all Nova Scotians
lived in areas defined as urban, and the rest lived in rural areas. Halifax was
the biggest city and capital of the province; other major communities were
Dartmouth, Sydney, Glace Bay, and Truro.





Land and Resources

Nova Scotia, with an area of 55,490 sq km (21,425 sq mi), is the
smallest Canadian province except for Prince Edward Island; about 3% of its land
area is owned by the federal government. The province has an extreme length of
about 600 km (about 375 mi) and an extreme breadth of about 160 km (about 100
mi); almost 5% of its area consists of inland water surface. Elevations range
from sea level, along the coast, to 532 m (1745 ft), in Cape Breton Highlands
National Park. The coastline of Nova Scotia is 7578 km (4709 mi) long. Sable
Island is situated about 160 km (about 100 mi) offshore in the Atlantic.

Nova Scotia contains large deposits of coal, gypsum, and salt. Other
mineral deposits include barite, clay, copper, peat, sand and gravel, stone, and
zinc. Some petroleum and natural gas have been found under the Atlantic near
Nova Scotia.

Education and Cultural Heritage

Nova Scotia has a number of notable educational and cultural
institutions. Its scenic landscape offers a wide variety of opportunities for
outdoor sports and recreation.

Education

Nova Scotia's first education act, in 1766, provided for public schools,
but not until 1811 did nondenominational, free public education begin here. In
the early 1990s there were 527 elementary and secondary schools with a combined
annual enrollment of approximately 168,800 students. In the same period the
province's 22 institutions of higher education enrolled about 32,750 students.
The institutions included Dalhousie University (1818), Mount Saint Vincent
University (1925), Saint Mary's University (1802), the Technical University of
Nova Scotia (1907), and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (1887), all in
Halifax; Acadia University (1838), in Wolfville; Saint Francis Xavier University
(1853), in Antigonish; Université Sainte-Anne (1890), in Church Point; the
University College of Cape Breton (1951), in Sydney; and Nova Scotia
Agricultural College (1905), in Truro.

Cultural Institutions

Many of Nova Scotia's foremost museums and other cultural facilities are
located in Halifax. Among them are the Nova Scotia Museum, with exhibits
covering historical themes; the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, displaying
memorabilia from the Titanic and other marine artifacts; the Public Archives of
Nova Scotia, featuring displays of documents, paintings, and artifacts of
regional historical significance; and the Dalhousie Arts Centre, which includes
an auditorium and the Dalhousie Art Gallery. Also of note are the Fisheries
Museum of the Atlantic, in Lunenburg; and the DesBrisay Museum, in Bridgewater,
with historical collections. Halifax is the home of Symphony Nova Scotia.

Other Information

Sports and Recreation

Nova Scotia's national and provincial parks, its lengthy shoreline, and
its rivers and lakes offer ideal conditions for boating, swimming, fishing,
hiking, camping, and hunting. Golf, tennis, skiing, and ice hockey are also
popular sports in the province.


Communications

In the late 1980s Nova Scotia had 16 commercial AM radio stations, 8
commercial FM stations, and 5 commercial television stations. The first radio
station in the province, CHNS in Halifax, began operation in 1922. CJCB-TV in
Sydney, Nova Scotia's first commercial television station, went on the air in
1954. The Halifax Gazette, the first newspaper published in Canada, was
initially printed in Halifax in 1752. In the early 1990s Nova Scotia had seven
daily newspapers with a total daily circulation of about 218,700. Influential
newspapers included the Mail-Star of Halifax and the Cape Breton Post of Sydney.

Tourism

Each year Nova Scotia attracts more than one million travelers; receipts
from tourism totaled almost Can.$800 million annually in the early 1990s.
Tourists are lured by the province's lovely scenery (especially on Cape Breton
Island) and its many opportunities for outdoor-recreation activities. Popular
tourist areas include Cape Breton Highlands and Kejimkujik national parks, 14
national historic sites, and 122 provincial parks, recreation areas, and
wildlife preserves. Many people also visit Halifax.

Transportation

Most coastal areas of Nova Scotia are well served by transportation
facilities, but many places in the interior have poor transport connections.
There are 25,740 km (15,994 mi) of roads and highways. The Trans-Canada Highway
extends from the New Brunswick border, near Amherst, to Sydney Mines, on Cape
Breton Island, by way of the Canso Causeway (completed 1955) between the island
and the mainland. Nova Scotia is also served by 705 km (438 mi) of mainline
railroad track. Halifax is a major seaport with modern facilities for handling
containerized shipping. Ferries link the province with New Brunswick,
Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and Maine. Nova Scotia's busiest air
terminal is Halifax International Airport.

Energy

Nova Scotia's electricity generating capacity is about 2.2 million kw
(about 2.1 percent of total Canadian capacity). The province annually produces
about 9.4 billion kwh, or some 1.9 percent of the country's total electricity.
Hydroelectric facilities represent about one-sixth of the capacity, with the
rest largely accounted for by thermal installations burning refined petroleum or
coal.


 

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