New Brunswick is one of Canada’s three Maritime provinces, sharing its border with Quebec to the north, Nova Scotia to the southeast, the United States to the west, and Prince Edward Island, which lies off its east coast. First Nations in New Brunswick (the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy) are the descendants of First Peoples that inhabited the area around 9,000 years ago. When the French arrived in the region in 1604, the Mi’kmaq welcomed them and taught them how to survive off the land. However, the French eventually claimed the Maritimes as a colony, naming it Acadia.
Over the course of the 18th century, the French gradually lost the territory to the British. The Acadians, descendants of French settlers, refused to pledge allegiance to the British, preferring to remain neutral. As a result, thousands were subjected to deportation in 1755 and 1758. Throughout the 19th century, New Brunswick would experience a significant population growth as a result of migration from the British Isles, Loyalists from the United States, and the return of some Acadians. New Brunswick would eventually become one of the four original provinces of Canadian Confederation in 1867, with Fredericton as its capital.
Did you know?
- New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province in Canada. The majority of the population is English-speaking, but there is a large Francophone community (33%).
- Forestry traditionally dominated the New Brunswick economy as forests cover about 83% of the province. This industry was connected to shipbuilding and to the pulp and paper industry.